Human Rights Council
22 February–19 March 2021
Agenda item 3
Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil,
political, economic, social and cultural rights,
including the right to development
In the present report, submitted pursuant to General Assembly resolution 74/133, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children, Najat Maalla M’jid, provides an overview of major initiatives and developments that sustain and scale up efforts to safeguard children’s freedom from violence and advance implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. She also outlines the immediate and longer-term impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on children’s protection and wellbeing, as well as the role of children as agents of change in building a world free from violence. The report contains key recommendations for accelerating action for implementation of the 2030 Agenda while building back better after the pandemic.
In the present report, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children reviews the action she has taken at the global, regional and national levels to fulfil her mandate, and provides an overview of the results achieved. She also provides an overview of the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on children’s protection and well-being. The report also includes a thematic section focused on children acting as agents of change and as part of the solution towards building back better after the pandemic and creating a world free from violence.
Guided by General Assembly resolution 62/141, by which the Assembly established the mandate, the Special Representative is an independent global advocate who acts to promote the prevention and elimination of all forms of violence against children.
The year covered in the present report was marked by the COVID-19 pandemic and its unprecedented global impact, which necessitated swift adaptation of the mandate holder’s planned activities. The Special Representative made full use of her mandate as a convener and bridge-builder to engage with a wide range of actors in response to the challenges created by the pandemic.
The pandemic and the mitigation measures taken have increased the risk of children to violence, especially those who were already vulnerable before the pandemic. They have also reduced the capacity of essential services to effectively prevent and respond to violence, and threaten to undermine the progress for children promised in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The opportunity presented by building back better after the pandemic must be seized to reassess priorities to advance human development and reduce inequalities, especially for children and their communities. Children urgently need access to sustainably financed social protection systems linked to properly resourced child-protection services. The allocation of adequate budgets and the strengthening of services for the well-being of children and their protection from all forms of violence must be recognized as an investment that will be key to the success of the pandemic recovery.