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Speech on the 2030 Agenda for Children: End Violence Solutions Summit


Speech by Prime Minister Stefan Löfven on the 2030 Agenda for Children: End Violence Solutions Summit.

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Your Majesty, Your Royal Highness, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

this year marks one hundred years since Swedish society ended the practice of auctioning off poor and orphaned children to the person who asked for the least amount of money to care for the child.

Many of the children who were auctioned off were subjected to starvation, violence, neglect and abuse. The death rate was so high that some of the auction winners became known as "angel makers".

Step by step, over the century that has passed, respect for the fundamental rights of every child has increased in our society. We were the first country to ban corporal punishment, among the first to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child and we are now in the process of incorporating it into Swedish law.

Over the years, we have failed many times, leaving children in abusive families or bad foster homes. But we have also succeeded in giving many children much better and brighter futures than they ever thought possible.

I know, because I was one of those children. When my mother couldn't take care of me, society stepped in, and I had the opportunity to move to a loving foster family,the opportunity to grow up safe and happy, the opportunity to stand before you here today.

Now we are here to do what we can to ensure that every child, in every region of the world, is given the same opportunity: to grow up in a safe, secure and loving environment, free from violence.

Violence against children is a disgrace, a disgrace that must be confronted with the full force of the global community. And this is not just something we wish or hope for. This is a promise we have made.

Every country that has signed up to the 2030 Agenda has promised to achieve target 16.2: to end exploitation and all forms of violence against girls and boys. And it is our duty to keep that promise.

We need solutions. Concrete examples of legislation, collaboration and action plans that can be shared across the globe.

The purpose of this summit is to present and promote those solutions. But we also need leadership. Leadership in governments, in the United Nations and other governmental organisations, in civil society and in the private sector.

I offer my leadership, and Sweden's leadership – but we need your leadership too.

So – let us all step up!

Step up – to give every girl and boy the opportunity to grow up to be a strong and confident individual, the opportunity we were once given.

Step up – to ensure that the solutions presented at this summit will not end up as just high-sounding words or as broken dreams, but lead to permanent change.

Step up – to keep our promise – to end violence against children in our time.

Thank you.