Girls and boys have their say at key South Asia summit on violence against children
7 June 2012: “Everyone has a role to play to end violence against children” was the key message to come out of a children-led regional consultation Plan facilitated in Colombo, the Sri Lankan capital, recently.
Children from around the region took part in the 2-day consultation, which opened a summit held 26-30 May to look at how far South Asia has come since the United Nations Study on Violence Against Children (UNVAC) was published in 2006.
The 25 girls and boys picked apart how their respective countries have taken into consideration and implemented the 12 recommendations given in the UNVAC and came up with their own suggestions. These were then taken to the Governing Board meeting later that week when government officials gathered to flesh out a plan of action.
The summit was organized by the South Asia Initiative to End Violence against Children (SAIEVAC), a collaborative body that focuses on children’s protection to support girls and boys throughout South Asia from all forms of violence as they are growing up in.
Plan was involved in the UNVAC from the beginning and has been part of following up on the study’s recommendations.
Around the world, Plan supports investments in sustainable and effective child protection systems, paying special attention to making children part of the solution by involving them in awareness-raising and child-led initiatives to ensure their voices are heard.
Chasing violence away
Rasa Sekulovic, Plan Asia’s adviser on child rights and protection, gave the opening speech at the children’s consultation.
"When we speak about violence against children, that brings us together,” he said.
“We always speak about the many children whose lives and whose childhoods are affected by different forms of violence. However, more and more, we speak about the role children and young people have to play in addressing violence against children. We speak about a movement through which we want to learn more about violence against children because we want to chase violence away.”