The children of the world should be protected by the new Millennium Development Goals

During the current ministerial meeting in New York, Sweden should demand that children's protection against violence and abuse be included in the new goals that will replace the millennium goals after 2015, write representatives of five Swedish children's rights organizations.

Sweden has throughout history been at the forefront of protecting children from violence and Sweden's voice weighs heavily internationally. At the UN ministerial meeting in New York that is currently taking place, a decision will be made on the framework for the new millennium goals that will apply from 2016. We children's rights organizations want Sweden to once again take the side of children and demand that children be protected from violence and abuse. adopted as one of the new Millennium Development Goals.

Several of the 15-year goals adopted at the UN at the turn of the millennium have been successful. Directing the world's efforts and resources towards eight goals to improve the living situation of poor people has had a very big impact. Unfortunately, the goals did not include the protection of children from violence and abuse and even today there is a lack of the common will and resources to give children a safe upbringing. In low- and middle-income countries, three out of four children worldwide are still exposed to domestic violence and an estimated 115 million children are forced to work in directly dangerous or hazardous conditions.

Sweden has extensive experience of, and solid methods for, working for children's rights. In 1979, we were the first in the world to ban all forms of child abuse, both at home and at school. Since then, 33 countries have followed suit. Sweden is also a role model in international co-operation by working for a total ban on child abuse within the EU and with its large financial contribution to the important work of child rights organizations in the world.

Sweden gives high priority to the protection of children. Unfortunately, the issue has a significantly lower status in many other parts of the world, including in several neighboring countries in Europe. Part of the problem is that there is no global commitment to prevent violence and abuse against children. This is despite the fact that violence is a crucial obstacle to sustainable development.

Research shows that there are clear links between children's lack of security and protection and countries' gender equality and economic growth. The negative effects of abuse and the costs that arise in the work of stopping abuse and neglect result in a slowdown in economic growth. Insecure upbringing conditions create insecure individuals, and it is these individuals who must carry the development forward.

Violence and abuse are also closely linked to how well children can concentrate in school. A quarter of all children in sub-Saharan Africa work while trying to catch up. It is also common for children to be beaten by teachers and school staff, which results in poorer performance, or that they choose to drop out of school.

Every day, 39 girls under the age of 000 enter into child marriage. For most people, this means dropping out of school and giving birth early. Early pregnancies are still one of the main reasons why girls between the ages of 18-15 in developing countries die. These and other abuses continue because violence is still accepted and because protecting children is not an international priority.

In our work with children, it often emerges that the children themselves primarily prioritize living with their family in a society free from violence, abuse and exploitation. We need to listen to the children and raise their voices. Sweden has the opportunity to continue to set a good example in the work of protecting children from violence by raising the issue of children's rights on the international agenda. We children's rights organizations want all children to live a life free from all forms of violence, be protected in conflicts and develop in a safe and caring family environment. We want Sweden to once again take the side of children and the UN demands that the protection of children be covered by its own goal within the framework of the new millennium goals.

Anna Hägg-Sjöquist
Secretary General, Plan Sweden

Carolina Ehrnrooth
Secretary General, Barnfonden

Elizabeth Stahlenius
Tf. Secretary General, SOS Children's Villages

Véronique Lönnerblad
Secretary General, Unicef ​​Sweden

Roland Håkansson
Chairman, MyRight

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