Officials and experts urged the international community to give priority to children in their development plans over the next decades.
“Violence against children does more than harm individual children, it undermines the fabric of society, affecting productivity, well-being, and prosperity,” said Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director. “No society can afford to ignore violence against children.”
“Violence against children takes many forms, including domestic violence, sexual assault, and harsh disciplinary practices, and often occurs in situations of war and conflict. It can inflict both physical harm and psychological damage on children”, Lake added.
UNICEF’s Director warned that ‘too often, abuse occurs in the shadows: undetected, unreported, and, even worse, too often accepted’.
He said everybody should be responsible for the protection of children, and governments should enact and enforce laws to prohibit these abuses.
Independent experts cited by the UN agreed on the fact that it is time to stop preventable and avoidable situations affecting millions of children, like conflicts, domestic abuse, bullying and exploitation.
The United Nations chose November 20th to celebrate Universal Children’s Day to mark the anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child approved in 1989.