Fighting impunity and providing reparations must be at the heart of the international response to suffering and harm inflicted on child victims and survivors of sale and sexual exploitation, a UN expert said Wednesday.
In a report to the 52nd Session of the Human Rights Council, the UN Special Rapporteur on the sale and exploitation of children Mama Fatima Singhateh said despite progress in providing reparations to child victims and survivors in a handful of states, these efforts need to be universal and strengthened following international legal standards.
“My report is not just a reflection on existing systems of reparations for children around the world,” Singhateh said. “It is intended to signal to the international community, in large areas where current provisions in national, regional, and international frameworks can better respond to the needs of child victims and survivors.”
The expert lamented major challenges in effectively combating these abhorrent crimes – all of which urgently need to be addressed through accountability, she said.
To date, no reparations scheme has provided a complete and comprehensive programme that addresses all categories of child exploitation, violence, and abuse, exposing children to the risk of secondary victimisation.
“Where reparations are attempted, they are rarely effective in reaching the most marginalised groups of children. These children are most often outside or on the margins of the formal state machinery in terms of recognition of their identity and are therefore at risk of being excluded from legal protection,” Singhateh said.
A crucial first step, the UN expert said, would be for states to introduce and strengthen specific legislation on reparations for child victims and survivors in the national context.
Singhateh’s report analysed the role of non-state actors, including non-state armed groups, corporations, the World Bank-funded development projects and multilateral development banks, and found that they have historically fallen short of their responsibilities in addressing and facilitating redress for child victims and survivors of sale and sexual exploitation.
“The reparations process should be empowering, transformative, sustainable, victim-centred and survivor-centred,” she said.
“Reparations for child victims and survivors of sale and sexual exploitation require a strong and sustained national, regional and international commitment,” Singhateh added.
The special rapporteur said it should include survivor-centred reparations; a co-design model with meaningful participation of children; development and implementation of transitional measures; strengthening inter-agency cooperation; a child-friendly, multidisciplinary and inter-agency model; age-, gender- and local context-sensitive reparations; immediate delivery of reparations; mobile courts and child-focused mechanisms in vulnerable areas; and the use of information and communication technology to support reparations through targeted detection and mandatory reporting.
Source: United News of Bangladesh