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).