UN World Report Violence and Child Abuse

UN Study on violence against children

On 12 February 2003, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed Paulo Sergio Pinheiro of Brazil as the independent expert to lead a global study on violence against children. The purpose of the study was to provide an in-depth picture of the prevalence, nature and causes of violence against children. It put forward recommendations for consideration by Member States, the UN system and civil society for appropriate action, including effective remedies and preventive and rehabilitative measures at the national and international levels.

The study was be guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child which emphasizes children's rights to physical and personal integrity, and outlines States parties obligations to protect them from "all forms of physical or mental violence", including sexual and other forms of exploitation, abduction, armed conflict, and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. It also obliges the State to enact preventive measures and ensure that all child victims of violence receive the support and assistance they require.

The UN General Assembly called for the study in 2001 acting on the recommendation of the Committee on the Rights of the Child. In overseeing the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Committee held two days of general discussion on the issue of violence against children within the family and in school (2001) and state violence against children (2000). The request for an international study on the question of violence against children was an outcome of these days of discussion.

The independent expert, Mr. Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, is a former Secretary of State for Human Rights of Brazil and has directed the country's Centre for the Study of Violence since 1990. He held the position for two years and carried out his mandate in close collaborations with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The United Nations World Report on Violence Against Children -  Authored by Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro

The United Nations Study on Violence against Children

United Nations Secretary-Generals Study on Violence against Children

Questionnaire to Governments

We have the entire questionnaire on this website.

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United Nations

Canadian appointed U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights

Louise Arbour

Louise Arbour took up her duties on July 1, 2004 as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Her term in office ended in June 2008.

Mrs. Arbour was a member of the Supreme Court of Canada immediately preceding her appointment to the UN as  Commissioner for Human Rights.

Law Times

Louise Arbour: a colleague we have failed

Law Times, Canada
22 September 2008

This profession - and all of us in it - have failed to protect, honour, and defend one of our most accomplished and distinguished members. We have let Louise Arbour down by our silence when she needed and deserved voices of support.

On July 1, Arbour stepped down as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, an enormously prestigious and important international position.

The gratitude and praise which greeted her at the end of her term was shamefully muted. Arbour was a courageous champion of human rights, and a bold critic of the erosion of those basic tenets in our world.

She was never timid. She was never chained to a desk, was involved, hands on, outspoken, and challenging. She breathed life into the enormous portfolio that she was asked to take on.