Regional Consultation for the UN Study on Violence Against Children
. 5 - 7 July 2005 Ljubljana, Slovenia  
Europe and Central Asia






More information


by setting:

by organization:





Copy Rights

Press release

Countering Violence against Children: “Children Are Not Mini- Human Beings with Mini- Human Rights” - OHCHR

Work on a global study aimed at countering violence against children is gathering momentum, with three UN institutions and a number of international partners pooling their efforts to deliver a set of recommendations to the General Assembly next year.

The study, requested by the General Assembly in 2001, is intended to provide an in-depth global picture of violence against children and propose clear recommendations for the improvement of legislation, policy and programmes relating to the prevention of and responses to violence against children. The study will document the magnitude, incidence and consequences of various types of violence against children. For each type of violence against children addressed, the study will also review what is known about the causes and associated risk and protective factors.

Speaking in Geneva earlier this month, the expert leading the project said the situation warranted international attention because “children are not mini-human beings with mini-human rights”. The study would not be a “catalogue of horrors”, said Prof. Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, adding that the aim was to be constructive. In his work, he said, he had been seeking information on strategies for preventing violence against children and the responses to it, including those considered to be best practices and in particular those that had been developed by children.

Indeed, the participation of children themselves in the study is considered essential. UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Rima Salah told a Caribbean preparatory meeting for the study in March that the presence and participation of young people was the most important element in the collective voice on this issue. Thirty-five young people drawn from across the Caribbean were among the 150 participants at the conference in Port-of-Spain, the first of the nine regional consultations to be held worldwide to gather information for the study.

Gopalan Balagopal, Senior Child Protection Officer of UNICEF, said the participation of children in the Trinidad meeting had a visible effect on how the conference progressed. But he added that ensuring that children’s voices are heard is not always easy. “To let children express themselves in this context is in many countries against culture and tradition”, he said.

Jane Connors, of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, notes that it is sometimes difficult to consider children as actors because some parents still view their children as their own property. She said she hoped that participation of children in the consultation process would increase, although she cautioned against exploiting them or forcing them to cooperate.

Violence against children is a reality of children’s lives around the world. According to the World Health Organization an estimated 57,000 children under 15 were victims of homicide in 2000, and global estimates of child homicide rates suggest that infants and very young children are at the greatest risk. In its League Table of Child Maltreatment Deaths in Rich Nations, UNICEF estimates that in the industrialized world, almost 3,500 children under the age of 15 die from maltreatment, in other words from physical abuse and neglect, every year. These estimates almost certainly underestimate the incidence of homicidal violence against children. Meanwhile, non-fatal violence permeates the lives of many children.

The Study, rooted in children's human rights to protection from all forms of violence, is a UN-led collaboration, mandated by the General Assembly, to draw together existing research and relevant information about the forms, causes and impact of violence which affects children and young people (up to the age of 18 years). The Secretary-General appointed Prof. Pinheiro as Independent Expert to lead the study. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, UNICEF and the World Health Organization are supporting the Independent Expert. A major report will be published in 2006 and recommendations presented to the UN General Assembly.

The regional consultations will pull together regional information on violence against children in four settings: the home; the community; schools; and state institutions. These will articulate the agenda for action and contribute recommendations to the study.

Information on the study can be found at the following address: