Following up the importance of committing to child protection, Latin America faces a serious commitment being the most violent region for children and adolescents.
In a previous article, LatamPost explored the importance of committing to the recovery of vulnerable children.
This time, after the BBC released an article exploring how violence is spreading like a virus among children and teenagers in Latin America, we review the available options along the region to stop this form happening.
According to UNICEF and the Organization of American States (OAS) Latin America and the Caribbean is the most violent region for children.
It has the highest rate of homicide with 25,400 deaths between the ages of 0-19, According to Hidden in Plain Sight and Violence, Childhood and organized crime the last available reports in this subject done by both organizations.
"Everything we've won in this region by preventing the deaths of children caused by health issues like diarrhea or malnutrition when they're young, we're losing it when they reach adolescence," said José Bergua, regional protection manager of Unicef to the BBC.
According to the OAS violence concentrates mainly in the marginal areas of the cities. The lack of State presence and poverty are factor that contribute to the increase of the violence.
More so, children may be subjects to abuse and violence within their households, school and community. The quality of their education and the difficulty in access to higher education institutions and jobs are also obstacles that may lead them to search other pathways.
All these factor along with the presence of criminal organizations are triggers for them to use children as part of their crime structure, therefore, making children more vulnerable towards violence.
State reactions are also a factor to take into consideration. According to the OAS, governments have been focusing more in reinforce their penal system than rehabilitation programs for the criminalized children.
Usually this strategy doesn't work. Instead many countries have shown an increase in insecurity , and human rights violations from part of the government forces.
As conflicts continue to rise around the world it is important to focus on other options besides the criminalization of teenagers. Cultural activities, sports and education are rehabilitating techniques that could be more effective.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights recommends a drastic change in security schemes. It proposes that security must be focused on the protection of every individual and his rights.