The first International Forum on Preventing Violence against Children, which addressed the issue of “Maras, youth gangs and other forms of organized violence” was held on 26 and 27 July, in the city of San Salvador, El Salvador.
The event was organized by the National Council for Children (CONNA) and the Inter-American Children’s Institute (IIN-OAS), and was attended by representatives from the States of Costa Rica, Guatemala and Mexico, as well as by national and international civil society organizations and a number of key stakeholders from the National Comprehensive Protection for Children System of the State of El Salvador.
This paper provides a synthesis of the work carried out at the Forum, summarizing diagnostic elements and proposals on the issue, with a regional perspective. Priority is given to aspects that are considered to contribute to understanding and continuing to measure the scope of the issue, as well as to warnings, obstacles, challenges and recommendations arising from meaningful experiences implemented in public policies for preventing, promoting and protecting rights in the States in the region, which were shared by the participants.
The work methodology included the intervention of national and international specialists with keynote presentations, followed by working panels to address the different aspects involved in the understanding of different types of violence, taking multiple factors into consideration. A round of questions and answers took place after each activity, and open and thoughtful discussion about the issue at hand was encouraged.