Marta Santos PAIS

Marta Santos PAIS

The first Special Representative to the UN Secretary-General on Violence against Children (2009-2019)

Marta Santos Pais is a lawyer who has served as the first Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on Violence against Children (2009-2019). Pais has more than 30 years of experience on human rights issues, and engagement in United Nations and intergovernmental processes. As a high level global independent advocate, Pais promoted the prevention and elimination of all forms of violence against children in the justice setting, in the home, in institutional care, in schools, in the workplace and in the community. She acted as a bridge builder in all regions, and across sectors and settings where violence against children may occur. She was strongly committed to mobilizing action and political support to maintain momentum around this agenda and to achieve steady progress across the world.

Before her appointment as Secretary-General on Violence against Children, Pais was the Director of UNICEF’s Innocenti Research Centre (2001-2009) and Director of UNICEF Evaluation, Policy and Planning (1997-2001). Prior to that, she was a member and Rapporteur of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. She was also a member of the UN Drafting Group of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and of its Optional Protocols and participated in the development of other key international human rights standards. Pais was a Visiting Professor at the International University in Lisbon, Portugal. She is the author of a large number of publications on human rights and children’s rights. 


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Institute of policy research and dialogue on the African child.

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Founder Assefa Bequele, PhD

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