5 April 2005

Experts Meet in Geneva on 5 April to Explore Action to Counter Violence against Children

(Reissued as received.)

GENEVA, 4 April (UN Information Service) -- The Independent Expert leading a global study on violence against children will meet in Geneva with other international specialists on 5 April to explore possible action against the problem.

Paulo Sergio Pinheiro will be joined by Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, Deputy Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, and Shahnaz Kianian-Firouzgar, Deputy Regional Director of United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Geneva, to discuss evidence that physical, sexual and psychological violence against children is routine in every country of the world.  Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Mehr Khan Williams will chair the discussion.

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 industrialised 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 right 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 affect children and young people (up to the age of 18 years).  Mr. Pinheiro was appointed by the Secretary-General 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 will be presented to the UN General Assembly. 

Nine 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.  The first of these consultations -- for Europe and central Asia -- will take place in Ljubljana, Slovenia, from 5 to 7 July 2005.

The panel discussion will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. in room XXIII of the Palais des Nations.

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