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Child Protection Messages

• Every child should have the opportunity to grow up in a family. If a family is unable to care for the child, steps should be taken by the authorities to address the reasons and make every effort to keep the family together.

• Every child has a right to a name and nationality. Registering a child’s birth helps to ensure a child’s right to education, health care, and legal and social services. Birth registration is a vital step towards protection from abuse and exploitation.

• Girls and boys must be protected from all forms of violence and abuse. This includes physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, neglect, and harmful practices such as child marriage and genital mutilation/cutting of girls. Families, communities, and authorities are responsible for ensuring this protection.

• Children must be protected from all work that is hazardous. Work should not prevent them from attending school. Children should never be involved in the worst forms of child labour, such as slavery, forced labour, drug production, or trafficking.

• Girls and boys can be at risk of sexual abuse and exploitation in their home, school, workplace, or community. Measures should be taken to prevent sexual abuse and exploitation. Sexually abused and exploited children need immediate help to stop such abuse.

• Children are vulnerable to trafficking where protection for children is weak or missing. The government, civil society, and families are responsible for preventing trafficking, as well as helping children who are victims to reintegrate into their families and communities, if it is in their best interest.

• Justice for children should be based on child rights. Depriving children of their liberty (incarcerating them) must always be a last resort. Procedures that are sensitive to children should be put in place for children who are victims or witnesses of crime.

• All children have a right to age-appropriate information, to be heard, and to participate in making decisions that concern them. Fulfillment of this right enables children to take an active role in their own protection against abuse, violence, and exploitation, and to become active citizens.