Violence against children [Archives:2007/1069/Local News]

July 19 2007

SANA'A, July 18 – Shawthab Foundation for Childhood Development inaugurated a workshop to follow the global study on violence against children.

Ameer Al-Dean, a12-year-old member of the Shawthab Foundation, presented a study about protecting children's rights as well as presenting problems faced by children. Children, according to his study, are subjected to numerous types of violence such as sexual abuse, physical abuse, and psychological and emotional exploitation. The consequences of such treatment affect the personality of the abused child as well as the society as a whole.

Mariam al-Shawafi, general trustee of the Shawthab Foundation, said the foundation has held numerous programs and activities for 120 children from different schools. These activities aimed to inform children of the danger of child smuggling. Previous activities included the creation of large posters stating “No to Child Smuggling.” Additionally, in 2006 Shawthab drafted a plan, which is still in need of financial support, in order to publish children's stories. She stated, “These stories are going to narrate the children's suffering and pain, and the book will be called Our Children.”

Samya Muhammad Abdu, a 12-year-old disabled girl, narrated her story in the hopes of finding more realistic solutions for disabled children. “We, as disabled, our rights are neglected,” Abdu explained. The solution Abdu presented is to get the disabled children more involved in public schools. “People still fell uneasy when we study with them,” Abdu stated, adding that isolating disabled children from the rest of the students only perpetuates intolerance and inferior treatment. “Disabled children want to be equal to the other children,” she concluded.

Ahlam, another child in the sixth grade, said that children wandering the streets have no food, and no one cares about their health. Though Ahlam is a child studying in one of the private schools and lives safely with her parents, she feels the pain of her less-fortunate peers.

The recommendations of the study are that the government should take proactive steps in eliminating violence against children. Also, it should encourage children to express their opinions. Additionally, penalties must be enforced against those who subject children to violence.

The purpose of the global study is to provide an in-depth picture of the prevalence, nature, and causes of violence against children. Recommendations will be put up for consideration by the governments of study participants, the United Nations, and the Civil Society for Appropriate Action.