Children win the vote in Peru's presidential elections
In a defining moment for child rights campaigners in Peru, all prominent presidential candidates have signed up to a charter that commits them to improving the lives of millions of Peruvian children and adolescents.
Plan has played a key role in drafting the ‘Agenda for the Rights of the Child’ as part of a coalition of over 40 local and international organizations with active leadership of children and young people. The coalition has run a high-profile ‘Vote for Children’ nationwide campaign canvassing all presidential candidates for the election due on April 10. The campaign has emphasized that even though children and young people do not have the right to vote, they have the right to have their voice and opinion heard.
The Agenda sets clear targets for the next government in areas of child rights including health, education and protection from violence. According to the Agenda, the next government will:
- Ensure that every single child and adolescent in Peru has an identity document, thereby protecting them from trafficking and exploitation;
- Ensure that at least 95% of children under the age of three are immunized; and
- Build a national framework for registering cases of violence against children.
“This charter is not a wish-list of promises; it is a commitment for the next government to prioritize lifting millions of Peruvian children and adolescents out of poverty, neglect and abuse, and reduce huge inequality that exists in the country,” said Mariella Greco, Plan’s Country Director and Representative in Peru.
“The Agenda reflects the critical rights violations that are impacting the lives of children and adolescents and limiting their chances to develop to their full potential.”
Children and young people comprise more than one-third of Peru’s population and around 60% of them live in poverty. The country has high levels of chronic malnutrition, low levels of learning achievement and a high incidence of abuse in children and adolescents.
According to an estimate by Peru’s Ministry of Women and Social Development, 8 out of 10 Peruvian children have suffered physical and psychological violence, mostly in their homes and a majority of victims being girls.
“Even though Peru ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child 20 years ago, children continue to be abused and neglected in both rural areas and in cities. Children experience violence at home, in schools and in communities”, said Oscar Calero, Plan’s child protection coordinator in Peru. “The Agenda has set precise goals for the next government such as implementing a total ban on corporal punishment.”
As a result of the ‘Vote for Children’ campaign, some of the targets the next government is committing to achieve include:
- Significantly reduce chronic child malnutrition and anemia by up to half
- Ensure all children and adolescents are registered and have an official identity document
- Close the gender gap regarding access to primary education
- Ensure that quality protection mechanisms are in place and operating to prevent and address violence against children
- Protect children and young people who work from all forms of exploitative and hazardous forms of child labor
- Build an integrated national registry and network of cases of violence against children