THE United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has called for concerted efforts in protecting children throughout the world who are victims of violence and abuse that either go unnoticed and or are under-reported.
In a statement to mark the Universal Children’s Day, which fell yesterday, UNICEF executive director Anthony Lake said most abuse of children went unreported, hence the need for countries to work together to fight such vices.
The Universal Children’s Day was commemorated under the theme ‘Stop Violence against Children’.
“Too often, abuse occurs in the shadows, undetected, unreported and even worse, too often accepted.
“We all have a responsibility to make the invisible, visible, from governments enacting and enforcing laws to prohibit violence against children, to private citizens refusing to be silent when they witness or suspect abuse,” Mr Lake said.
He said violence against children took many forms, including domestic violence, sexual assault, and harsh disciplinary practices, and often occurs in situations of war and conflict. The violence could inflict both physical harm and psychological damage on children.
Mr Lake said violence against children did more than harm the individual children as it undermined the fabric of society, affecting productivity, well-being, and prosperity.
He urged parents to support and care for children, and strengthen children’s skills to help protect themselves from violence.
UNICEF launched the ‘End Violence Against Children’ campaign early this year.
The campaign urges public acknowledgement of the problem of violence against children and encourages support and engagement with local movements to address the compelling global issue.
The Universal Children’s Day also marks the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which this year celebrates its 24th anniversary.
The Convention, adopted in 1989, specifies that every child, everywhere, has the right to survive, grow and be protected from all forms of violence.
The Human Rights Commission (HRC) also called for concerted efforts in addressing problems facing children.
HRC commissioner Isabel Simukonda said violence against children was not usually reported, adding that official statistics hardly captured its magnitude and incidences.