Maldives launches first-ever national Child Abuse Prevention Campaign, “AHAN ….. LISTEN TO US”
MALE’, Maldives, 10 May 2015 – Today on the national Children’s Day, a nationwide campaign on child abuse prevention invites every Maldivian to be part of the solution to stop violence against children and protect their innocence.
“AHAN….. LISTEN TO US” campaign launched by the Ministry of Law and Gender and UNICEF aims to prevent child abuse and raise awareness on violence against children across the communities of the country. “The well-being of children can only be assured when we enable them to grow in a caring and protective environment, that is free from all forms of violence,” said Attorney General of the Maldives, Hon. Mohamed Anil, at the launch. “We cannot afford to be silent. Neither we can just simply look at the litany of hurdles and injustices unleashed upon children, and not do anything. We have to be a community that addresses the different forms of child abuse, exploitation, exclusion and other violations of children’s rights” he further added.
A commitment to child rights
UNICEF Maldives Representative, Alice Akunga, noted that we cannot lose sight of the fact that many children still suffer neglect and other forms of abuse, which affects their entire life. It is for this children that the campaign is launched to “say no to child abuse”. This launch must continue and reach all at the national, atoll and island levels, with doubled efforts addressing practices harmful to children, while alleviating those barriers hindering timely response to child abuse. Together, we are all accountable and should join hands, and say “no to child abuse”.
“UNICEF will continue supporting efforts of government through a systems building approach, including legislative reform, strengthening institutional capacity for responding to VAC by building partnerships with NGOs and other civil society groups, development and strengthening evidence generation and case management and empowering parents and children” said Ms. Akunga.
The event was honoured by the President of the Maldives, His Excellency Abdullah Yameen Abdul Qayoom and First Lady Madam Fathmath Ibrahim who was also the Chief Guest at the event. The First Lady in addition, has accepted to be the honorary advocate for child rights in the country. The child abuse prevention campaign will run for a year and the First Lady will take the campaign’s activities further to the South Central Region – a region identified with high incidences of child abuse in the country. She will also meet with relevant stakeholders at national and sub-national levels, as an “Advocate for prevention of child abuse”.
With the support of private and media partners, “AHAN…… LISTEN TO US” campaign messages will be distributed through, posters, brochures, social media, TV and radio spots and public service announcements across the nation. The campaign emphasizes the importance of listening to children as they look to up to their parents to “Walk the Talk” and demonstrate that the community will do anything to keep them from harm. The public – particularly parents and teachers – are encouraged to speak openly about child abuse and the consequences and detrimental effects it has on children.
In addition, a special campaign website, http://ahan-mlg.gov.mv, has been created to help children, parents and communities learn more about preventing child abuse and violence against children.