Children’s Day in Costa Rica, Sept. 9, tends to be a day of parties, cupcakes, costumes and special outings. This year, a campaign against child abuse added substance to the celebration, inspiring hundreds of people to march through the streets of San José on Saturday to call for greater respect for children’s rights.
The event was co-sponsored by the World Vision Costa Rica, Children’s Museum, the National Children’s Hospital, the Child Welfare Office (PANI), UNICEF, the Municipality of San José and the National Police. As part of the event, Vice President Ana Helena Chacón and representatives of all sponsor organizations signed the “Pact of Tenderness” (“Pacto de la Ternura“) to show their commitment to ending all forms of aggression against children.
“Let’s keep marching, keep joining forces. Let’s take action as a nation, protect our children and adolescents, be vigilant and raise more voices to say: NO more violence against minors!” Chacón wrote in a post on her Facebook page after the event.
Child abuse remains a significant problem for Costa Rica. A PANI study in 2016 showed that 71% of surveyed Costa Rican parents said they had been subject to corporal punishment as children, according to the daily La Nación. Of those, half said they see corporal punishment as “necessary” in disciplining their own children.
Watch the Children’s Museum’s recap of this weekend’s march here: