July 2005

Regional meeting of the UN Study on Violence to Children, Bangkok, June 2005

In February 2002 the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to conduct an in-depth global study on violence against children.  As part of consultations on the study UNICEF, working with other NGOs, has organised nine regional meetings around the world to collect information on the extent of violence to children and identify solutions to reducing violence. The meeting in Bangkok was the South East Asia and Pacific regional consultation.  New Zealand had a delegation of nine at this meeting comprising two Government representatives, four NGO representatives, two young people and their chaperone.  Twenty-four countries were represented at the meeting - with over 220 representatives attending including 26 children.

The plenary and working-group sessions were characterised by enthusiasm and the commitment of participants to reducing violence to children.

The working-group topics were:

  • violence against children in the home and family
  • violence against children in schools and other educational settings
  • violence against children in institutions
  • violence against children in work situations
  • violence against children in the community and on the streets
  • violence against children in the cyberspace environment
  • violence against children in conflict with the law.

Prohibiting corporal punishment was a strong theme, with only a limited number of participants voicing ambivalence about giving up this adult form of power and control.  In many countries corporal punishment is legal across all settings although in some it is only legal in home and family and sometimes in schools.

A UNICEF summary report issued after the meeting said: "Anecdotal evidence suggests that violence against children in the home and family is a severe problem in the East Asia and the Pacific and corporal punishment in the home is practised in all countries, delegates urged a ban on corporal punishment".