Zoleka Mandela makes joint call to action on adolescents and violence
As part of her advocacy to accelerate action for adolescents, Global Ambassador for the Child Health Initiative, Zoleka Mandela has joined heads of UN agencies in launching a new report on ending violence against children.
The granddaughter of Nelson Mandela joined WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore, the First Lady of Colombia María Juliana Ruiz Sandoval, Ministers from France and Uganda and young advocates in launching the Global Status Report on preventing violence against children on 18 June.
The Child Health Initiative has been collaborating with partners including UNICEF, WHO and the Global Partnership to End Violence in developing the Call to Action for Adolescent Well-being. This Call to Action pulls together all the major and interrelated issues that adolescents face globally. Included alongside violence are issues such as mental health, sexual reproductive health and education. The need for safe environments, and action on road traffic injury are central to the agenda.
Zoleka Mandela gave powerful testimony as a victim of violence and abuse, issues which have informed her advocacy, as has her experience of losing her daughter Zenani Mandela to road traffic injury. At the virtual launch, which was moderated by Etienne Krug, WHO Director Social Determinants of Health, she said:
“We are joining forces with other groups working on issues such as mental health, issues of sexual and reproductive health, education, safe environments as well as injury prevention. We’re saying that all the main issues affecting our teenagers, need to be addressed together if we are to make the progress that is really needed. Let us please take the end violence agenda and combine it with efforts to ensure that our young people have a better future.”
WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said:
“There is never any excuse for violence against children. We have evidence-based tools to prevent it, which we urge all countries to implement. Protecting the health and well-being of children is central to protecting our collective health and well-being, now and for the future.”
The report urges far greater acceleration in efforts to tackle child violence globally as part of the SDGs. It also highlights the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic and related school closures which have contributed to a surge in levels of violence particularly against vulnerable children. Linked to its work on the adolescents’ agenda, the Child Health Initiative has also been collaborating with UN agencies responding to Covid-19, in particular contributing to school re-opening guidance on safe journeys to school providing expertise on areas such as road safety, urban design and injury prevention.
A key part of the Call to Action for Adolescents is a proposal for a Global Summit which would seek to accelerate joint action on all the major issues facing young people – both road safety, violence and other related areas of well-being.
For more visit www.adolescents2030.org