23 May 2016

World Humanitarian Summit: SOS Children's Villages Speaks Out to End Violence Against Children

The Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action, ChildFund Alliance, Global March Against Child Labour, Global Partnership to End Violence against Children, Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation, Plan International, Save the Children, SOS Children’s Villages International, Terre des Hommes, UNICEF, War Child UK and World Vision International.

ISTANBUL, Turkey, May 23, 2016 - Governments, donors, humanitarian and development practitioners met today to agree on a multi-stakeholder approach to ending violence against children.
The side event, “Leaving No Child Unprotected: Child Protection across the Humanitarian and Development Divide”, brought together influential speakers from diverse areas of child protection and child rights work.
“No country or community is immune to the violence that is committed against children daily” said speaker Susan Bissell, Director of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children. “We all know that feeling of outrage, of sorrow, or regret each time we hear news of another child murdered, abused, raped, trafficked, bullied online or in school. It's the feeling that is almost overwhelming as we see children die attempting to flee war in Syria, hear yet another story of mass kidnapping or another school shooting. Overcoming the sadness and outrage, the international community has rallied around a new set of goals that call for the safety and security of children, Agenda 2030. To make this agenda real in the lives of children every day and everywhere we are creating a Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children. Let us turn commitments into action.” 
Child protection workers, governments, NGOs and UN agencies showcased practical solutions, grounded in evidence and research. The event mapped a compelling agenda to meet Core Responsibilities 3 and 4, as outlined in the Secretary-General’s report, An Agenda for Humanity, by reinforcing national/local systems and transcending the humanitarian/development divide.
“Violence against children is universal and has enormous consequences for children”, said Barbara Ammirati, Senior Advocacy Advisor at SOS Children’s Villages International and Global Partnership to End Violence against Children. “Violence, abuse and neglect are significant causes of separation of children from family – and that very separation often exacerbates children’s vulnerability to repeated violence.”
“We see on a daily basis how children’s lives are torn apart by war – separated from their families, injured or killed through indiscriminate attacks, robbed of schools and hospitals,” said Rob Williams OBE, WarChild CEO. “And currently the humanitarian system is failing them – child protection systems and education in emergencies are chronically underfunded, and States break international humanitarian law with impunity.”
Save the Children International CEO, Ms. Helle Thorning-Schmidt said “I am pleased to participate in this important discussion and bring attention to child protection as a critical but neglected component of humanitarian response. In times of crisis, children are particularly vulnerable to being separated from their families, denied access to education, physically or sexually abused, trafficked, and sent into hazardous labor. We’re also seeing a disturbing trend in which children are the targets of violence and killing. We know that the right interventions, at the right time can prevent these situations and save lives. That’s why we are calling on all stakeholders to step up their funding and add their voice in support of this urgent agenda.”
“Violence against children is unjustifiable and preventable,” said Solène Edouard, Global Child Protection Advisor at ChildFund Alliance. “Opinion leaders understand that child protection needs are urgent. Children themselves repeatedly prioritize child protection. Strengthening child protection systems is one of the most cost-effective ways to build resilience and promote sustainable development. And experience shows that when children are protected in an effective and holistic manner, other humanitarian efforts are more successful.
Yet child protection remains misunderstood, underfunded and consistently deprioritized. This side event aims to set the record straight. Together, we must raise awareness of the importance, relevance and urgency of child protection in emergencies as a life-saving intervention.”
The side event forged new partnerships across the humanitarian and development divide to ensure adequate funding and galvanize support for lifesaving child protection interventions, including those addressing the worst forms of child labour in humanitarian response mechanisms.