Guia Covid-19
Imprimir Republish

Interview

Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro: Violence without limits

A UN study coordinated by a Brazilian sociologist reveals that children are the victims of mistreatment and aggression throughout the world, at all classes and environments, whilst society accepts the phenomenon with complacency

MIGUEL BOYAYANOn the 20th of November last, the United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, launched in Geneva, Switzerland, a courageous volume of almost 400 pages – 384, let’s say in favor of precision – in which terrifying data about all types of violence against children, practiced throughout the world, found an articulation and methodologically consistent coverage,  up until now unprecedented. Its title is direct and simple: Study on Violence Against Children and is available on the internet (www.violencestudy.org). One can understand with crystal clarity, after having read the text and reflect, whether it be from the pictures and book tables, or through Annan in his preface, which says that violence against children, which does not respect geographical, race, class, religion or cultural barriers, and which occurs in the home, school, street, work and in correction institutions and prisons, could well have devastating consequences. “Above all it can result in precocious deaths”, he observed.

In fact, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 53,000 children were killed during 2003 throughout the world. And this is only one of the infinite squashing statistics that emerge on page after page of this courageous work, which, nevertheless, does not just want to show, but to insistently demonstrate that “no violence against a child is justifiable, and none is inevitable”. Some more of these shocking numbers, highlighted on pages 11 and 12: during the same year, around 150 million girls and 73 million boys were forced to maintain sexual relations or were submitted to other forms of sexual violence involving physical contact, also in accordance with the WHO. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates that in sub-Sahara Africa, Egypt and the Sudan, 3 million girls and young women are each year submitted to genital mutilation. The International Labour Organization (ILO), for its part, informed that during 2004, 218 million children were  involved in child labor, of whom 126 million were linked to dangerous work. Previous estimates, from 2000, had shown 5.7 million of these children in forced labor, 1.8 million in prostitution and pornography and finally 1.2 million children being victims of drug trafficking work.

At the same time, in a ranking of the developing countries, the percentage of children of school age who said that they had been molested, verbally or physically, in school during their first month of lesson, varied from 20% to 65% – similar levels have been found in the developed countries according to data from the Global School-Based Student Health Survey. And, to finalize, for now, only 2.4% of the world’s children – this indeed, less than 3% – are legally protected from corporal punishment in all of the places through which they pass during their lives. The levels for each environment vary considerably: inside the school legal protection against this type of punishment reaches to 42% of them, at home  only 2% of all the children on the planet are legally protected against ill treatment by their parents and other family members, which certainly indicates that society in general still needs to discover that this is a real and extremely painful form of violence.

The book, which should become a cornerstone in the immense effort to be developed over the next few years against a generalized practice of violence against children, and is ten times greater than the standard reports by the UN, has the signature of a Brazilian: the sociologist Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro. Since February of 2003, when he was nominated as an independent expert to the United Nations by Kofi Annan, to prepare this in-depth study about the theme, Pinheiro has hardly had time for anything else, an involvement that took him on journeys all over the world in order to shed light on a raw picture, even if a long way from hopelessness, this up until now veiled reality of violence against children.

Violence, in truth, although not specifically against children, has been for more than two decades the theme of reflections, of academic research and of the practical policy of Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, a Rio de Janeiro native, born in January of 1944 who little by little became a citizen of the city of São Paulo. An ex-professor at the State University of Campinas (Unicamp) a retired full professor of political science at the University of São Paulo (USP), a visiting professor of international relations at the International Studies Institute of Brown University, in Providence, Rhode Island (USA) – at this moment on leave of absence from that post because of the work with the UN -, in 1987 he established, together with Sérgio Adorno,  the Center for Studies of Violence (USP). It was simultaneously a new scientific enterprise and the natural unfolding of his work on the Teotônio Vilela Human Rights Commission, of which he was one of the founders in 1983, when the country’s military dictatorship ended, and on the Justice and Peace Commission of São Paulo, created under the auspices of the Archbishop of São Paulo, Don Paulo Evaristo Arns, in 1984.

During 2002 the center transformed itself into the Center for Studies of Violence (NEV/USP/Cepid, at the address: www. nevusp.org), one of the ten Research, Innovation and Diffusion Centers (CEPIDs) supported in a special manner in a FAPESP program for a time period of up to 11 years. During this time, Paulo Sérgio, alongside his intense academic production, which includes 25 research books, the continuity of his work as a visiting professor (at the universities of Columbia, Notre Dame, Oxford and École des Hautes Études in Social Sciences) and his participation as a board member at dozens of institutions, was a special advisor to the São Paulo State government during the term of office of governor Franco Montoro and Human Rights secretary to the federal government of president Fernando Henrique Cardoso between 2001 and 2002 (with the status of a minister). All of this without stopping to get involved with dozens of civil society institutions concerned with the theme of human rights throughout the world.

In this interview for Pesquisa FAPESP, Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, who as well as his office at NEV has another in Geneva, thus living between the two cities with his wife Ana Luiza and children Daniela, André and Marina, made a series of considerations concerning his fine work of coordinating research into social sciences that, “as is necessary”, intends to be the instrument of change in the intolerable picture of worldwide violence against children.

Let’s begin with the following: this book is the result of an almost oceanic work, let’s say, with respect to violence against children. How is it rooted in the research that for almost two decades you’ve been developing about violence in a more general form?
Indeed… The other day there was a comment in The Guardian, which I found to be very funny, in which it said “in one of these notable magisterial exercises that only the UN manages to carry out”, and then the person spoke of the report… In short, they are two different watersheds… One, the Center for Studies of Violence (USP), is already celebrating  20 years, since Sérgio Adorno and I founded it at USP in 1987, to which, three years later, Nancy Cardia added her efforts. And here a question always present was the murders of children and adolescents. Perhaps this was one of our first themes. I believe we were the first to call attention to the summary execution of teenagers in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, this at the end of the Maluf government [Paulo Maluf, governor of Sao Paulo, 1978-1982], before governor Franco Montoro. During all of this time we dealt with this and with some other themes that are concerns of the study, such as the question of physical violence. What I mean to say is, although we dedicated ourselves to all of the contexts, the question of correctional institutions was one with which we had always dealt. And this as well on the Teotônio Vilela Commission. Perhaps I was chosen for the study because of this experience at the Center. Anyhow, the study itself was proposed by the committee for Children’s Rights, which is the organ of the convention that follows the Convention of Children’s Rights.

Right at the start of the book you explain this task…
That committee proposed that the General Assembly make a resolution from the member states in which it asks the Secretary General to make the study and to nominate an expert. I was nominated by the General Secretary in February of 2003. It was then that I began the preparation… in truth I began to do the work only in March of 2004, indeed this was a study of more towards two years than three.

It was then that you effectively began to bring together all of the data sources, all of the data…
In fact, this book was not included in the UN Resolution. Only a 35 page report, the standard UN size, which I presented to the General Assembly on the 10th of October last. But, since beforehand I had been involved in the World Report about violence and health, which the World Health Organization prepared under the direction of Etienne Krug – and that when I was in the government we translated and published -, I felt that after a major work of this size it would be a waste of resources not to make it into a book. So… Looking back now, I can say that it was a super complex assemblage. Firstly, we were able to count upon an advisory committee from various NGOs.

Isn’t it always complicated to work with the different languages of different NGOs?
It is, but not only the NGOs. We sent out a questionnaire to the various States and had a record number of replies. This is a scientific research questionnaire, it’s on the site, you can check it out… Many people believe that the human sciences don’t carry out research… This is a methodologically controlled report. Then, we sent it out to the UN member States and had 139 replies, a record, because in the UN the governments can no longer stand questionnaires, so on average 30 countries reply. This was a good signal. And the replies were very good. That of the USA has 400 pages, the Brazilian has 200, various countries presented very transparent reports and people had thought, “Ah, in the government nobody’s going to say anything”. No, many reports were very transparent. As well as this, there was an editorial committee made up of 30 people, specialists, experts, scientists…

A committee that had people from all parts of the world?
It had, including a Brazilian, professor Nancy Cardia, who is the research coordinator at the NEV/USP/Cepid. She was one of the leaders of the chapter about community violence. We had to, as always at the UN, make a balance of disciplines and geography. There were representatives from all of the regional groups: Asia, Africa, Central Europe, Latin America and countries from the Western hemisphere. As well as this, the main strategic decision, to my way of thinking, was to carry out nine regional consultations in the world. And what were these consultations?

MARIELLA FURRER / UNICEFChildren out with schooling in the city of Rumbek, in southern SudanMARIELLA FURRER / UNICEF

Yes what were they? And why do you think that they constitute the principal strategic decision?
Ah, because they were a gold mine. Firstly, a preparation process for the work with the various regions into which UNICEF divides the world was needed. UNICEF has 140 offices, they are all over the world, and it has a support structure for these efforts. Thus, firstly we had a desk-review, which is to say, a survey of the existing data, by a local committee that had coordinated each consultation. To give you an idea, the regional consultations were in Buenos Aires, Toronto, Trinidad and Tobago, Islamabad, Bamako (in Mali), Bangkok, Liubliana (in Slovakia) and Cairo. Each one of these involved, on average, 600 people. Who were these people? Representatives of governments, NGOs, specialists, and more importantly, children and adolescents. At all of the meetings there were dozens of children and adolescents. All of my chat with the children, the informal conversations with them, is recorded on the site of Child Rights Information Network, CRIN (www.crin.org/), a center of information about children’s rights.

This was very interesting within the research, was it not?
This was basic, because one of the problems of public policies in relation to children and adolescents is that they aren’t heard. They are treated as mini-citizens, mini-human beings, who don’t have to be consulted. And this is one of the failures that we pointed out. Not demagogically, but you have to consult them. I remember that during the consultation in Islamabad, in a group of workers, the report writer was a child who must have been no older than 14 years. And she did her job magnificently. And they had the right to intervene in the discussions the same as adults, this was fantastic.

How many people, in truth, participated in the elaboration of this research?
In the more restricted group some 150 people, among the committees, the secretariat, and the NGOs, as well as a further 30 people on the editorial committee and the support of three agencies… This was also a new idea, the combination of three agencies and three perspectives. The HRHC: Human Rights High Commission, gave the perspective of human rights; the World Health Organization looked at violence as a public health problem; and the UNICEF perspective dealt with the situation from the point of view of child protection, in the sense of the child’s health and existence. This was also an interesting and innovate mix. I can tell you it wasn’t easy.

But if you can count everybody being involved…
Ah, then we arrive at 1,500 people who participated in all of the continents, who had some responsibility. The acknowledgements occupy four pages, which more or less gives the dimensions of the situation. Why this? Because what the Secretary General requested was an in-depth global report. And if you have a look at it you’ll see that it’s not a report by country. Nor has it any classification or ranking. The journalists like to ask: “What’s the most violent country in the world?” I don’t know.

And the book points directly to this, violence against children as a generalized practice, independent of the social, economic and cultural situation of the countries?
And, North and South. Culture, economic level… The modalities differ. For example, the female genital mutilation isn’t practiced in Latin America, but is something present in Africa and Asia. The homicide level of the young in Latin America isn’t comparable to other places, in Asia you’ll not find similar numbers. So each region has specific problems, but today you have present in the North the problems of the South. And, in spite of 14 countries having prohibited corporal punishment of all types, this doesn’t mean to say that it has disappeared.

Are these countries more concentrated in Europe?
More or less, they are the developed countries of the North. The Scandinavian countries and Germany, Sweden… And what is interesting is that there has already been research in Sweden showing, a decade after its implementation, that the number of parents who use corporal punishment has really diminished. There is a greater number of countries that have prohibited corporal punishment in schools. Now this is not the only problem.

Before returning to the question of methodology, I would really like to know what forms of violence against the child you personally highlight as the most pernicious and frequent.
The champions of having their rights violated are the girls. In terms of sexual violence, in terms of trafficking, exploration, domestic work. But the boys, who at times are not so visible in the public debate, are also explored.

Including sexually?
Yes, and they are trafficked in some regions. Domestic work is a scourge in various regions, such as Latin America, Asia and Africa. Do you know of the old Brazilian practice in which traditional families take black children to bring them up? In truth it was for them to be slaves… They hardly slept, had to attend to the family all the time, and this continues to happen in various parts of the world, the report pays lots of attention to this. Another aspect is dangerous child work, present in many regions.

Do you call dangerous child work those practices of the type such as unraveling sisal, in Brazil we have cutting out cassava…
Yes, cutting wood, carrying stones, textiles etc. The children are devoid of access to schooling and work 12 hours per day.

Is it possible to say that the percentage of children in the world, until let’s say 15, 16 years of age, are hit by diverse forms of violence?
They are impressive numbers. [professor Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro was here referring to the numbers that are at the start of the interview] And there are other incredible numbers of children who saw scenes… violent conflicts. These are domestic conflicts, domestic violence and all of that… But dreadful as well are the consequences of domestic violence. An example of the numbers: the WHO calculations indicate that during 2002 the level of homicides of boys was double in the poor countries in relation to higher income (2.58 as against 1.21 per 100,000 inhabitants). The highest levels of infantile homicides occur among adolescents, especially with boys between 15 and 17 years of age (3.28 in the case of girls and 9.06 among the boys) and among children of 0 to 4 years (1.99 in the case of the girls and 2.09 for the boys).

In the book, at the end of the first chapter, you’re already speaking about the consequences of violence.
Yes, there are consequences for the mental physical health, which are a total disaster. And this is important for the State, because the State is going to spend money with this, with the treatment of totally injured citizens. In the report’s summary it states that violence can bring about greater susceptibility to social, emotional and cognitive  problems during all of the victim’s life. As to the cost of this to the State, although there is not good data in the underdeveloped countries, in the United States it is calculated that in 1996 the financial costs linked to the maltreatment and abandonment of children were some US$ 12.4 billion.

Violence against children as was made very clear in the book, is practices by various social agencies. It begins in the family, moves to the school, passes through institutions of the Febem ( The institution that takes cares of abandoned children also those who have committed crimes) type, in such a manner that it becomes a practice that is generalized by various instances of society?
Yes. We decided to capture this context of violence. And it must be said that every statement is based on some research. Look at the number of footnotes, and all of the in-depth research, and it is important to highlight this because of the doubt that sometimes exists about the character of research in human sciences. Everything is based on surveys, questionnaires, indeed, in everything that can be used in terms of medical science, sampling, medical exams… So, the good thing about this book is that it is a concentration of happenings of both medical and human sciences.

But you pointed out five contexts in which violence is practiced against the child. It would be good to remember them. We have…
… the family, the school, the institutions of asylum genre, orphanages or even prisons, the work place and the community. Now, if there is a list of the major disasters in the world, the big disaster, the largest of them all, is that of children and adolescents in conflict with the law. There lies the tragedy, really a tragedy. The States don’t know how many adolescents are being detained, there are countries in which the children are practically imprisoned – I don’t want to say the names of the countries, but the children live in cages, believe me. In relation to the community, and the street, and the city, they are the common spaces, the square, transport, indeed all the places in which children are exposed.

So, within these five contexts, which represents the most ominous type of violence in the long term, and which must be dealt with first, in a prevention effort against generalized violence?
When we speak of human rights today, we’re always invoking the State, which is the responsible entity. It’s responsible for securing the child’s rights, but then I believe the most basic thing is that it acts where it can. And when talking about the State, we don’t just speak about the Executive, but of parliament, which has to make the laws. The laws aren’t magic wands, but without the law one can?t change reality. Without laws one can’t mobilize, civil society can’t organize itself, one can’t defend rights without laws. It’s impossible to defend rights without laws, there’s no point in having international conventions. Therefore, this doesn’t cost money. The parliamentarians are paid for this, to make laws. And in some Latin American countries we need “to domesticate”, whoever wants, to transfer to the national environment the international conventions. The children’s rights convention is 15 years old, and there is an enormous gap for its application in Brazil. We have a marvelous statute in the country, but between the statute and its application there is an abysm. So the State needs to do its duty in this case. It’s not on to have to continue tolerating children and adolescents in conflict with the law, living in cages, living in sub-human conditions, being worse treated that cats and dogs in the Animal Protection Society. And this is the direct responsibility of the State. This is the responsibility of the Executive, of Parliament, of the Judiciary of the Public Ministry. These are the main actors. As to the family… every cultural revolution is complicated, but the State has a pedagogical role, one of demonstrating to families that violence doesn’t compensate.

GIACOMO PRIOZZI / UNICEFChildren in the middle of a rubbish heap in Quetta, Pakistan. Street dwellers, sell objects found in the city’s rubbishGIACOMO PRIOZZI / UNICEF

Now that you’re speaking of a cultural revolution, from where did this world culture of violence against the child come? What are the bases for this?
Without appearing to be pedantic, it’s not I who is saying this, but a thinker called Hannah Arendt: the 19th century saw the pathway of emancipation of the rights of workers. The unions, the socialist parties, the international organization of workers, which in reality is from the start of the 20th century, 1919, but, in short, the process of the fight for workers’ rights is from the 19th century. Afterwards, in the 20th century, it’s the conquest of women’s rights. Today no longer can the husband beat his wife. But the child he can beat in the street in front of everybody. There are some cities in the world, which I will not name, in which if you kick a dog or a cat you can get picked up by the police, taken into custody for disturbing the peace. Now the mothers can twist their child’s ear, slap their behind, give them a pinch, in public, in the subway, on the bus, on the train or tramcar… Nobody does anything. Why? Firstly, I believe that children are not considered to have subject rights, to be citizens, they’re considered the property of their parents – they must not be heard, they believe that they don’t think, as it was previously with women, who it was though didn’t have enough rationality to vote, for example. This is the same reasoning. When in Brazil it was proposed to give voting rights to 16 year olds the call was “God protect us”. Afterwards it worked out well. This is an example that Brazil has given to the rest of the world. So, the origin is that the emancipation of children is still to come – in spite of the convention, in spite of some types of violence being on the international agenda, for example, trafficking, sexual violence, the involvement of children in armed conflicts… There is a special representative of the UN’s Secretary General for this theme who reports to the Security Council. So these themes are public. Now what is in English called bullying, that is to say, provocation among school students, terrible, the stigmatization, the ostracizing, the discrimination, this is not on the debate’s agenda. Very often the teachers don’t want to get themselves involved in this. These are things similar to the fooling around with first year university students, which happens in school, after all, and nobody protects the children from this.

The unusual thing is that we don’t have historic reports of this type of violence as a continual practice, with deep roots… It’s as if one didn’t pay much attention to this historically, is that not so?
I believe that’s true. The UN Human Rights Commission was founded in 1948 and we’re making this report in 2006. The only previous report was in 1996, that of Senora Graça Machel about boy soldiers. Indeed, at the UN there never was a previous report about violence against children, even though agencies such as UNICEF and OIT had been working with the notion of child labor and forced labor for some time.

Do you believe that society only began to discover that this violence is not something natural in…
Ah, during the last decade. Over the last twenty years..

But still within the notion that children are not subjects with rights, and are indeed the property of their parents, why this shortage of studies?
What one knows about, which there has been lots of study, is domination, for example, of parents over their children. The intervention in the marriage, the choice of a husband, the preconceived marriage… This, historically, has been widely studied. But not looked upon as violence, but as a traditional practice, the non-exercising of the rights of the woman. But I want to highlight, in this question of when society began to discover that this is not natural, that it’s intolerable, violence against the child, that I haven’t found one president, not a prime minister or minister, not a single State – and I’ve traveled considerably throughout the world – that would deny support for this work. And this is fine, modestly, because the work is not only mine, in the debate of the 3rd Committee of the General Assembly one could see an extremely wide arc of support. That is to say, we had support interventions from Senegal, Egypt, Thailand, Sudan, Saudi Arabia., from the Latin American countries, from the European countries, evidently, and from the United States, by way of the Assistant Secretary of State for the Family. Even a State that defends corporal punishment supported all of the study’s recommendations. There were 45 speeches in total, all of them supportive, and with  many concrete questions. This as well was very emotional.

When was this?
On the 11th of October. This, for us, was fundamental, because the General Assembly is generally very cold. And this was a very vibrant session. I think that this as well was the product of a lot of dialogue, incessant conversation, with major help from Marcelo Daher, also a previous research at the NEV/USP, my main assistant, during these two years in which I went about the world, meeting, speaking, in dialogue with specialists, but at the same time with governments.

Would you say then that we could be on the threshold of a new perception about this absurdity, which is the practice of violence against children?
On the threshold, yes. We’re still not on the path to emancipation, but I’m convinced that the States are prepared. For example, when we see China carrying out research – there in an inset about this in the book -, in six Provinces, about sexual abuse in the memory of adolescents; when in India they carry out a survey of 16,000 interviews also about sexual abuse; and the governments present this with major transparency, something is being prepared. I went to Indonesia and the country has an action plan based on the Report’s recommendations. Syria has an action plan… The regime doesn’t matter, the country doesn’t matter, this is occurring. We had a partial meeting in Cairo, and the complete support of the Arab League… That is to say, for us this was something highly compensating, because it’s not just the support of the developed countries of the North, but the South has assumed the theme. The Buenos Aires Consultation was marvelous, there was a declaration by the ministers of a commitment to introduce legislation in order to end violence, against corporal punishment, which was magnificent … So, I believe that we’ll have good surprises. And the book is not a catalogue of horrors, you’ll see. In truth it’s a portrait, I believe that it’s reasonable and gives hope. And there are many good practices. From North to South.

When you dived into the work of clearly writing the book, had your perception changed, in some manner, about violence against children? What was your principal perception about this theme when you sat down and said, “now I can write”?
Firstly I had to write because I had to finish the job, is that not so? And well the eye of the journalist, has to be delivered, there’s no conversation, the deadline is tomorrow. The closure of the report was in August. I had already put off delivery, it was to have been presented in 2005, I gained an extra year of time. But then there was the big surprise of which I spoke: the States are preparing to take a leap forward. Secondly, the children and the adolescents, considering that I didn’t have a lot of experience in the participation of children and adolescents, are the best experts. If we don’t listen to them, if governments don’t listen to them, it will not be possible to take the road towards emancipating them. We have to listen to them, integrate them into the process. But in third place, the picture was and is a lot worse that I had imagined.

And when you say exactly this last phrase, what hits hardest on your head? Forced labor? The punishments?
What had shocked me most and continues to shock is the situation of children in conflict with the law. Children who are behind bars throughout the world. Children doing jail time, at times mixed in with adults. And young girls mixed in with young boys and adults.

Did you get to see this at first hand?
Ah, clearly, I visited everywhere, all places. This is what I’ve mainly done over the last 30 years. For me it’s distressing, but I have to go. If you don’t go, you don’t see, isn’t that so?

Since 2003, how many trips did you make traveling around the world?
Ah, I don’t know, perhaps 50, about there. Through Europe, Asia, Africa, America… It’s not that I like to travel. I hate traveling, currently the place where I feel worse is the airport. But if you don’t travel you don’t make the contacts, and it’s necessary to have contact with concrete realities. There’s no point in exchanging e-mails with a colleague, you need to participate in the debates, meetings… People need to feel like participants. I believe we managed to carry out a highly participative process. And I thank the support I received from FAPESP, because if the Foundation had not maintained the Center for Studies of Violence (USP), afterwards the Center, this book would not exist, because I would not have been associated to this project. So this is what is worth while…

The UN General Assembly report could well exist, but not the book. Is that so?
Perhaps I could say the book would not exist, in the manner in which it was done. Because in truth, our experience in Brazil and Latin America helped considerably in its configuration. I’m not saying, clearly, that this was the only thing that determined it. But it’s important to point out our experience in order to reaffirm that if the country doesn’t invest in university research, we’ll not manage to have relevance in the international debate. The thing that one must understand is that the social sciences are directly linked to public policies. And because of globalization, because of interdependence, if we don’t interfere today in public policies, in the international public debate, we’ll remain on the margin. To a certain extent, this report is the insertion of Brazilian, Latin American research, of all of the world, in a major and fundamental debate. But, in the context of FAPESP, I would say that it’s the insertion of a 20 year investment by the Foundation in an intervention with international repercussion. Global.

A fundamental debate that you propose also covers ways of performing?
Yes, it’s not just, as one says, to make things look nice, but to contribute to modifying this situation, by way of this enormous dialogue, this permanent conversation with States. The situation will continue, will make progress. In the final chapter, The way forward, this is what we’re proposing.

CLAUDIO VERSIANI / UNICEFBrazilian children, victims of violence at the Recovery Center of Sao PauloCLAUDIO VERSIANI / UNICEF

The book came out in English. But will it be published in other languages?
Yes, it will be translated into French, Spanish, Arabic and Portuguese. The Special Secretariat of Human Rights, of minister Paulo Vannuchi, is going to publish it in Portuguese, in Brazil. As to the General Assembly report, it is in the six official UN languages, as well as German and Portuguese. It has already been translated into Portuguese by UNICEF. As well as this there is a version for children. Germany, for example, is going to translate and distribute a version of the report for children, to 10,000 schools throughout the country. France as well.

The book in Portuguese should be ready at the beginning of next year. And the idea is that it will go into the bookshops?
In truth, UN articles cannot be sold, so we have to be able to count upon a distribution to libraries and agencies. For now we’re not thinking about a commercial edition. Further on we might make a book that tells a little of the story of the process and perhaps have a synthesis of the material obtained.

The study done, the State made the agent that first has to mobilize, is there some environment of violence that you have the expectation that will be extinguished first?
No. I think we have a basic kit that we hope can be brought into play next year. Firstly, the translation of international legislation to the internal environment. And adequate legislation in each country, inspired by UN recommendations. Afterwards, an improvement in data, because there are many countries, for example, that don’t have the faintest idea about how many adolescents are incarcerated. And it’s not possible to have a change in policy of this situation without clear numbers. There’s also the possibility of improving the services of attending to rights, for receiving complaints via, for example, the Child Help Line, the SOS Child in São Paulo, which today exists in one hundred countries. Also we’re suggesting the creation of Ombudsmen, the Ombudsperson, to concentrate the defense of children’s rights and to function as an access channel for the treatment of these themes. France, for example, has a Defender, in Norway the position also exists, and in other countries. Another proposal of the basic kit is to move forward in the sense of the governments assuming the pedagogical role of practice transformation, in all spaces. Beginning with support to parents so that they learn how to educate and discipline their children, without the use of violence. And the final thing, much along the line of what the WHO is already doing, that is it just finished publishing a guide: prevention of violence. It’s better to prevent that to attempt to bandage up the wounds afterwards.

Republish