The First Commemoration of the World Day for the Prevention of and Healing from Child Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Violence: A Global Response for a Global Emergency
International Justice and Human Rights Researcher
Global Human Rights Defence
November 18, 2022, marked the first commemoration of the World Day for the Prevention of and Healing from Child Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Violence, as a tool to fight and eradicate what UN experts warned to be “... a global emergency, which requires a concerted global response. Millions of children worldwide continue to be the victims of such crimes.” (OHCHR 2022) Conflicts, political instability, and climate change impacts are among the global challenges exacerbating the situation of thousands of children worldwide. Indeed, as emergency settings directly deal with food and water scarcity, economic insecurity and scarce resources, the risk for women and children to be exposed to sexual exploitation, abuse and violence increases. Sometimes the perpetrators of violations hide among the humanitarian personnel and institutions in charge of providing assistance and relief. (UNICEF, n.d.)
In the attempt to address the long-lasting negative impact of child survivors, the UN experts urge governments to develop and implement effective and suitable measures “to promote physical, psychological recovery and social reintegration of child victims and survivors, in an environment which fosters the health, self-respect and dignity of the child, while addressing weaknesses in protection systems”. In placing the best interest of the child at the center of the discourse, a “child-centred, trauma-informed and gender-sensitive lens while delivering reparation for child victims and survivors” must be integrated to give voice to child survivors’ needs and avoid “secondary victimization”. (UN News, 2022; OHCHR, 2022)
As November 20, 2022 marks the 33rd anniversary since the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), all member states are called upon to ratify and implement the Convention and its three optional protocols, as well as harmonize their domestic legislation with the existing instruments aiming at protecting children worldwide. (OHCHR, 2022)
Sources and Further Readings:
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (November 18, 2022), Global emergency of child exploitation and abuse needs global action: UN experts, OHCHR, retrieved on November 21, 2022, from https://www.ohchr.org/en/statements/2022/11/global-emergency-child-exploitation-and-abuse-needs-global-action-un-experts.
UNICEF (n.d.), Protecting children from sexual exploitation and abuse, UNICEF, retrieved on November 21, 2022, from https://www.unicef.org/protection/protecting-children-from-sexual-exploitation-and-abuse.
United Nations (November 18, 2022), Rights experts call for greater global action to end child sexual exploitation and abuse, UN News, retrieved on November 21, 2022, from https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/11/1130817.