For the third consecutive year and under the patronage and presence of Mr. Pierre Abou Assi, Minister of Social Affairs, “himaya”, the Lebanese NGO working on child protection and enhancing the wellbeing of childhood in Lebanon, organized its annual symposium titled “Building and Strengthening the Child Protection Network: towards overcoming challenges in child protection”.
Mrs. Lama Yazbeck, the Executive Director of himaya, expressed her gratitude during her opening speech saying: “I would like to thank each one of you for being here today and for taking the time to identify the role you can play in the Child Protection Network. The establishment of a solid national network through such conferences is just the beginning; with your help, we can achieve even more and overcome all the difficulties we face every day. This year, we decided to organize our 3rd annual symposium in which we will have four panels with four topics affecting the protection of children in Lebanon. We hope that through this symposium we can unite our efforts and strengthen the child protection network even more.”
Supporting himaya’s efforts and achievements, Minister Abou Assi stated on this occasion: “Associations like “himaya” play an important role in raising awareness around the fact that child abuse should not remain a taboo, but we should rather encourage the child to appreciate himself, his dignity and his body and push him to report in case of abuse. The most important thing about "himaya" organization is the transparency, it protects any child who is exposed to any kind of abuse, regardless of his nationality or religion; after all, he is a human being and part of our human family and we must stand at his side, the moment we discriminate between one person and another Based on his country, religion, custom or color we lose our soul. " and he then added: "Today we stop at the reported rate of children who have been abused or assaulted: 1 child for every 6 children is exposed to one of the forms of abuse, these figures are announced but not accurate figures as the subject is still prohibited by some. But the increasing figures from year to year confirms that the level of awareness and knowledge is in fact increasing and has led to the discovery of new cases we couldn’t detect before. "
This 2-day scientific symposium included these 4 panels: Residential and alternative care systems in Lebanon, Children, institutions and sexuality, Emerging issues in child protection and Towards a “resilient” child protection network.
The symposium took place at Saint Joseph University of Beirut–Medical Sciences Campus, gathering the official figures and representatives of the ministry of Social Affairs, social experts, press and influencers as well as university professors and students, who expressed their support in their own ways.