The United Nations System in Costa Rica last week expressed concern about recent cases of sexual violence against the children and adolescents and increasing rates of reported violence in this population.
Alice Shackelford, U.N. Resident Coordinator; Gordon Jonathan Lewis, Representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF); and Paula Antezana, Assistant Representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said all forms of violence against children and adolescents, whether physical, sexual, psychological or of any kind must be reported and stopped.
“We call on society, state institutions and families to carry out their obligations within the legal and regulatory framework of the country to prevent and punish any manifestation of violence against children and adolescents. It is imperative that Costa Rica ensure the fulfillment of the right of every child and adolescent to live in a healthy environment without violence of any kind, especially within their family and community, which should be spaces for growth, trust, respect and protection from the different forms of violence towards this population. In addition, we appeal to the relevant authorities to redouble their efforts to educate and give children and adolescents confidence to talk about these issues and not be afraid to report violence, regardless of who commits it,” said the three agencies.
Data from different institutions in the country show a worrying upward trend in violence against minors, said the UN agencies. For example, the Costa Rican National Children’s Hospital revealed that between 2006 and 2013, daily cases of child abuse victims and physical abuse entering their facility increased from 9 to 26. While the National Child Welfare Service (PANI) indicated that almost 35 percent of all complaints received are related to family conflicts, 20 percent involve negligence, and 15 percent, physical aggression.
The UN also called on the relevant state authorities and institutions to reduce existing levels of impunity.
Data from the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INEC) indicate that between 2014 and 2015 almost 1,000 births occurred in girls under 14 years of age. And according to data from the judiciary, in 2014 fewer than 500 people were convicted of sexual violence against minors.
Child Sexual Abuse, Impunity in Costa Rica Troubling Wendy Anders February 28, 2017Tweet
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