The ChildFund Alliance has today launched its Free from Violence and Exploitation campaign. This initiative seeks to raise awareness of child protection issues with the United Nations and national governments as deliberations begin on the post-2015 Millennium agenda.
In the World Report on Violence against Children, UN child protection expert Paulo Pinheiro writes: “It is hard to understand why and how adults can continue to argue that children should have less protection from violence than adults do: in law, in policy and in practice.”
While child violence is often hidden or unreported, it has been estimated that as many as 150 million girls are subject to sexual violence each year. The International Labor Organisation says 215 million children are involved in child labour, with over half of this group working in extremely hazardous environments, including forced labour and illicit activities.
ChildFund Australia CEO Nigel Spence says: “The current Millennium Development goals have resulted in huge improvements in child mortality, education, health and access to clean water. However, child protection measures are essential if further gains are to be made.
“The impact of violence or abuse on a young child can be devastating, and affects their physical, emotional and cognitive development. As these children grow older, other risk factors emerge such as poor education, early marriage, homelessness, a lack of life skills (such as parenting ability) and HIV infection.”
ChildFund believes the new global development goals must reduce:
- the number of children subject to severe violence at home or in the community;
- the number of children involved in the worst forms of child labour;
- the number of children subject to sexual violence at school;
- the number of children without appropriate care; and
- the number of children involved in armed conflict.
To add your voice to this campaign, sign ChildFund’s Free from Violence and Exploitation petition. The ChildFund Alliance will present this list of signatories to the United Nations headquarters in New York prior to the General Assembly in September. In addition, you can add your voice to the post-2015 Millennium discussions by taking part in the UN My World poll