History

The creation of South Asia Forum for Ending Violence Against Children (SAF)

In 2001, based on the recommendations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the United Nations General Assembly called for a global study on violence against children. A Regional Consultation was organized in May 2005 by the South Asia Coordinating Group on Action against Violence Against Women and Children (SACG) and hosted by the Government of Pakistan in Islamabad.

The consultation brought together representatives from the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Secretariat and delegations from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Each delegation comprised of ministers, senior government officials, representatives from civil society, INGOs, UN agencies, the UN Study Secretariat, bilateral agencies, experts and resource persons, children and young people, media and opinion formers.

The Consultation reviewed the situation of violence against children in the South Asia Region, including an analysis of the legal frameworks and good practices and also a number of recommendations to address collectively the priority issues throughout the region.

These regional perspectives and recommendations were also enriched by the participation and recommendation of children and young people from the eight member states and were further packaged as inputs into the “UN Study on Violence against Children”.

The most significant outcome of the Regional Consultation was the formation of the “South Asia Forum for Ending Violence Against Children (SAF)”, a regional mechanism initiated in 2005 with the vision of ending all forms of violence against children in South Asia.

Five years of SAF

The South Asian Coordinating Group to End Violence Against Women and Children (SACG), was already present in the region and working on issues of exploitation and violence against women and children. Therefore the Regional Consultation called on SACG to provide technical and financial support, as necessary, to assist in the operation of the South Asia Forum (SAF).

SAF worked for five years within the mandate of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), SAARC Convention on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Women and Children for Prostitution and the SAARC Convention on Regional Arrangements for the Promotion of Child Welfare in South Asia.

SAF representatives were brought together in four consultation meetings with the coordination and support of the SACG and the Regional Secretariat which was set up on a two years rotational basis.

The consultations hosted by Pakistan (2006), India (2007), Kathmandu (2008, 2010 and 2011) were to consolidate work throughout the region and to bring this agenda to the forefront of government debate.

While the Global Study on violence against children received almost universal response, SAF was considered as the first and only regional entity established in the world to lay the foundation for joint and coordinated steps towards ending violence against children, and act as a milestone for child rights and child protection in the region

For more information about the SAF Coordinators and Ministerial meetings as well as SAF Children Consultation Participation  click SAIEVAC Resources or go to Technical Consultation Meetings

SAF’S transformation into SAIEVAC an Institutional Framework for Ending Violence Against Children

During the 3rd Ministerial Meeting in June 2010 on the recommendation of the 4th SAF Consultation, members took stock of progress and decided in collaboration with the SACG and guidance from SAARC to endorse a new Institutional Framework for Ending Violence Against Children. The Forum was transformed into a new institutional structure called ‘South Asia Initiative for Ending Violence against Children’ (SAIEVAC) that would operate at the regional and national level.

SAIEVAC developed future plans for collaborations with SAARC and a workplan to end violence against children.

Today SAIEVAC is an intergovernmental regional body comprising of 8 SAARC countries- Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka- with the purpose to effectively implement measures to end all forms of violence against girls and boys including women.

It’s activities are decided by the Board Members representing member countries and other stakeholders and it’s coordination is managed by a permanent Regional Secretariat hosted by the Government of Nepal.

SAIEVAC : a SAARC Apex Body

Throughout the years SAIEVAC process has been operating to a great extent independently. However, the fact that SAIEVAC’s and SAARC’s coordinating activities followed the same established government channels provided the two bodies an opportunity for more structured collaboration.

This synergy brought SAIEVAC to be recognised as a SAARC’S apex body.

Today, SAIEVAC’s sustainable and meaningful contribution to the promotion and protection of the rights of children finds its home in the SAARC mechanisms. which provides a forum to benefit from appropriate bilateral and multilateral sharing of information, experience, expertise and good practices. With the support  of SACG and other partners, SAIEVAC ensures that commitments made by the different SAARC mechanisms are translated into appropriate actions at the regional and at the country level.

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