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Civil Society Organizations and Permanent Missions in Geneva Join Forces for a Childhood Free from Violence

As a lead up to the 2018 Malta High-Level Global Conference that took place in June, Arigatou International Geneva co-sponsored an event on 24 May 2018 together with the Working Group on Children and Violence. The Working Group gathers a number of NGOs in Geneva under the umbrella of Child Rights Connect, to promote actions that prompt violence prevention strategies and protect children who are vulnerable.

The event Towards Childhood Free from Physical and Humiliating Punishment: Challenges and Opportunities in Ending Punitive Violence Against Children was a call from civil society, and was attended by Geneva-based NGOs and permanent missions to the United Nations in Geneva. The event aimed to promote a ban on all types of corporal punishment.

Negative effects such as brain development, socio-emotional, and behavioral problems that a child encounters as a result of corporal punishment were addressed. It was highlighted that besides law reforms it is also essential to challenge socio-cultural norms that encourage violence in forms of discipline.

“Laws need to be made on the basis of encouraging positive parenting where a child can be nurtured rather than punished, on guidance rather than imposition and on recognition of a child as a person with dignity,” said Mr. Olaph Terribile, Ambassador Extraordinary, and Plenipotentiary of the Permanent Mission of Malta.

Besides being one of the co-sponsors, the Arigatou Geneva office contributed to the event with a video prepared by the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC), Tanzania. The video highlighted the work on ending corporal punishment done with the Peace Clubs, an initiative that brings together children and youth from different cultural and religious backgrounds to enable mutual understanding and build a culture of peace in Tanzania. The video showcased children’s views on corporal punishment and their request to the government of Tanzania to reinforce laws for schools and as well as for parents.

 “I advise the government to enforce the existing rules and laws, these have been put in place for both teachers and students, but I request that they be applied to parents as well to strengthen the relationship among parents, children, and teachers,” says 14-year-old Stephano from Tanzania (Peace Club/ Keko secondary school)

The event ended with a calling on all governments to participate in the Malta High-Level Global Conference. A joint statement on ending all corporal punishment in all settings was shared by the Working Group.

The video from the Peace Clubs' children can be seen HERE.