South Asia: Rights of The Child: SAARC countries reaffirm commitment to end violence against children
New Delhi, June 4, IRNA — The SAARC countries reaffirmed their determination and renewed their commitment to end violence against children in all forms and all settings at the meet of the member countries in Colombo.
The countries unanimously adopted the South Asia Call for Action on Ending Violence against Children. Representatives from SAARC countries were meeting as follow up on regional consultation on the UN study on violence against children, which was held at Colombo between 26-31 May, 2012, said an official release issued here on Monday.
The Colombo declaration, signed by the member countries, takes stock of progress made since the Regional Consultation on Violence Against Children in South Asia, Islamabad, Pakistan, 19-21 May 2005 and the endorsement of the UN Study on Violence against Children by the General Assembly in 2006, in order to strengthen measures and processes aimed at ending violence against all children in all settings.
Held under the aegis of SAIEVAC, the South Asian Initiative to End Violence Against Children, an apex body of SAARC, the regional follow up reaffirmed their commitment made by Governments to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the SAARC Social Charter, the SAARC Convention on Regional Arrangements for the Promotion of Child Welfare, the SAARC Convention on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Women and Children for Prostitution, the SAARC Framework for the Protection, Care and Support of Children Affected by HIV/AIDS, the SAARC Development Goals (SDGs) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
They also renewed the commitment made by the Ministers in the Rawalpindi Resolution on Children of South Asia (1996) and the Colombo Statement on Children of South Asia (2009), and the recommendations endorsed at the Ministerial Meeting of SAIEVAC in June 2010 in Kathmandu.
The countries also recalled recommendations from the Regional Consultation on Violence Against Children in South Asia (2005) and the subsequent Recommendations from the UN Study on Violence against Children; the South Asia Forum (SAF) Regional Preparatory Consultation for the World Congress III against Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents (2008), the Kathmandu Commitment to Action for Ending Violence against Children (2010); the Technical Consultations on Legal Reform and Corporal Punishment (2010) and Child-friendly Services and Care Standards (2011) including those made by children; the Beijing Declaration on South-South Cooperation for Child Rights in the Asia Pacific Region (2010) and the Assessment of Progress in the SAARC Decade of the Rights of the Child (2001-2010) presented at the 17th SAARC Summit in Addu City (2011).
There was unanimous recognition of the fact that despite the progress made across South Asia to address violence against children, children continue to experience serious forms of violence and child protection challenges, including child labour, corporal punishment, sexual abuse and exploitation, child trafficking, migration and displacement, imprisonment, discrimination related to HIV/AIDS, disability, minorities, orphans, street children and children in need of care and protection, as well as various forms of harmful practices such as child marriage.
Working towards a vision of a region free from all violence against children in all forms, the representatives from SAARC countries therefore collectively deliberated, along with civil society organizations, experts on child rights and violence against children, professionals, and academicians, and called for the actions such as develop and strengthen equitable national and local child protection systems including laws, policies and standards; that prevent, mitigate and respond timely and appropriately to all forms of violence and to ensure that mechanisms and services are accessible to all children; develop and implement laws and policies that focus on safeguarding children from potential harm and that ban all forms of violence against children in all settings, including home and family, schools and educational settings, care and justice systems, work settings and the community, beside other actions adopted in the twelve points resolution.
Vivek Joshi, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Development, head of the delegation made presentation on the legislative steps taken by the Government of India to eliminate violence against children, the programs and schemes of the Ministry of Women and Child Development towards this aim.
He also made a special presentation on the Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences Bill, 2012.