Violence against childrenBreaking the silence strengthening responses [Archives:2004/750/Community]

June 28 2004

By Fahmia Al-Fotih
For the Yemen Times

Violence against children is a social pattern found in every country in the world. It occurs in varied situations, in innumerable forms and in many different degrees of severity. This violence may range from killing, torture, and exploitation to a deliberate act of punishment or just the impulsive reaction of an irritated parent or teacher. In every case, it is a breach of fundamental human rights principles.
Respect for human dignity and the right to physical integrity are principles of universal application. Yet the social and legal acceptance of different forms of violence against children, including the hitting and other humiliating forms of treatment of children by adults persists in most countries of the world.
Mr. Abdualkareem Al-Arahbi, the Minister of Social Affairs and Labor, delivered speech in which he said “Violence against children is a widespread phenomenon and we have started to accept it as a harmful social problem that should be dealt with. Everybody knows that the government has exerted many efforts in issuing the necessary regulations and laws to protect children's rights. Al-Arahbi further explained “There are a number of programs designed and now being implemented in different dimensions. Childhood has become an essential issue for the government and the community. Fighting the violence against children is a great challenge. So we cannot depend completely on the state to solve such problems, but also must involve civil society organizations.”
Ms. Nafisa Al-Jaefi, Secretary-General of the Higher Council for Motherhood and Childhood presented a speech in which she welcomed the governmental and non-governmental bodies. Al-Jaefi said “Today we conduct a workshop to raise awareness about violence against children through which we shed light on the various forms of violence practiced against children as social problem.”
She further said “The Results of a study in the field of violence against children that was conducted with collaboration of the Higher Council for Motherhood and Childhood, UNICEF, WHO and Save the Children Sweden will be introduced and displayed. There are also local studies related to violence against children conducted in Lahj, Al-Mukla and Aden governorates, which will be displayed as well. That vividly reveals the rising awareness of children rights.”
Elisabet Sundstrom, Advisor on Violence and Abuse at Save the Children Sweden, “I think it is a very positive step for the Deputy Minister of Education to acknowledge that there is violence in schools. I think there is very good work being done by the Higher Council for Motherhood and Childhood. I am very happy that they are very open here in Yemen to cooperate with NGOs.”
She concluded “I hope this workshop will end with some kind of committee recording everything that happens and which will work together with the Ministry and Higher Council, NGOs and agencies. It is not only to address this issue but also hopefully to build overall coordination.”
Mr. Abdualkareem Al-Arahbi, Minister of Social Affairs and Labor, Mr. Abdualaziz bin Habtor, Deputy at the Ministry of Education, along with representatives of UNICEF, the World Health Organization (Who) and Save the Children Sweden attended the workshop.