KAMPALA– 30 years since the Convention on the Rights of the Child became the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history, over half of the world’s children – 1.7 billion – are still experiencing some form of violence every year.
Although there have been great improvements in many areas such as education, access to healthcare and clean water, children are still suffering on a daily basis. Children are being forced to become child soldiers; married rather than educated; and are being sexually and physically abused. 650 million girls and women alive today were married before they turned 18 and over 120 million girls – more than 1 in 10 worldwide – will experience rape or sexual abuse before the age of 20.
“This is happening every day. We can no longer show complacency. We have a responsibility to end violence against all children, everywhere. At World Vision we believe children are part of the solution and this is why we invited Maria, 14, from Uganda to speak to EU decision-makers directly”, said Jonathan Beger, EU Advocacy Director of World Vision.
“First of all, children are tomorrow’s generation and if their rights are violated, there will be no proper tomorrow” says Maria, 14, young leader from Uganda. “For example, if a child is denied a right to education, s/he won’t be able to be somebody in the future because you cannot be somebody unless you study. If I don’t fight acts like sexual violence and child sacrifice, there will come a day when it either happens to me or to any of my sisters or brothers.”
Maria calls upon all stakeholders “like children, parents, political leaders, teachers, no matter your religion, nation or race to join hands to end violence against children, because it takes a world to end violence against children and the fight begins with me and you.”