Global child welfare conference to begin in Oman
September 14, 2019 | 11:23 PM
by Times News Service

Muscat: Oman is hosting — for the first time — a global conference on child abuse and neglect this week which will be spearheaded by the Ministry of Social Development in collaboration with UNICEF Oman.

The 2019 International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect Conference (ICSPAN International), will see the participation of some 400 experts, professionals, and high level officials from over 35 different countries around the world who will be attending from 15 – 17 September.

The conference will be held in the presence of Her Highness Dr Sayyida Muna bint Fahd Al Said, founder and chair of Children First Oman, high level officials, and D. Najat Maalla M’jid, special representative of the UN Secretary-General on Violence against Children.

Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, Ms Najat M'jid Maala adrresses during the Human Rights Council at the ninth session.

Sultan Qaboos University and the Children First Association will serve as partners in the conference.

The international platform will allow the attending eminent experts, policy makers, researchers, and practitioners from over 35 countries to share their wealth of knowledge and experiences at the national, regional and international levels in the field of child rights and child protection, promoting evidence-based practices in preventing and responding to child mistreatment.

Dr M’jid, UN secretary-general’s special representative on Violence against Children, highlighted that 2019 is a milestone year in moving towards the realisation of the ambitious vision of the Convention of the Rights of Child (CRC) and accelerating action for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

She said: “There is a change in attitudes at every level, there is now broad agreement that violence against children is never acceptable and can be brought to an end, but we also see increasing trends of children on the move due to conflict, natural disasters and climate change increase the risks they face. More needs to be done, better and faster, to protect children worldwide from all forms of violence and to ensure that no child is left behind.”

Lana Al Wreikat, UNICEF representative to the Sultanate of Oman, added: “While the world commemorates the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in November, a generation of children is being shaped by violence, displacement, and a persistent lack of opportunities-for reasons of geography or gender or ethnicity. We hope that this unique stage will allow us reflect and learn from each other and take stock of progress made in improving the lives of children and adolescents.”

Several themes will be addressed during the conference ranging from violence against children, child abuse, cyberbullying, domestic violence and its impact on the well-being of the child, legislation, successful initiatives addressing child violence.

In a world dominated by conflict and violence, UNICEF will also introduce a new dimension to child protection during the closing ceremony by showcasing the power of music as a healing agent. Famous composer and musician Jad Rahbani will present with Omani children. On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the CRC, the Sultanate will also launch the Child Protection Ambassadors programme.

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