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02/08/2019 - Faith and Children’s Rights: A Multi-religious Study on the Convention on the Rights of the Child

Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child

To mark the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Arigatou International is preparing Faith and Children’s Rights: A Multi-religious Study on the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

This study examines the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) from the perspective of seven major religions, identifies the important role played by religious communities in advancing the rights and well-being of children over the past 30 years, seeks to identify the common values shared among different religions and the CRC and promotes continued action by religious communities to further implement the CRC in the future. 

The full report on the results of the CRC Study will be released on November 20, 2019, the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the CRC.  This is also the World Day of Prayer and Action for Children, an Arigatou International initiative. 

CRC summary coverArigatou International presented a Preview of the CRC Study during the Kofi Annan Faith Briefing, a side event of the recent UN High Level Political Forum in New York on July 15 and we are pleased to share it:

Preview to the CRC Study, July 15, 2019. English.

 

 

 

 

 


08/07/2019 - INSPIREd Faith Communities in Brazil – Fifth Roundtable on Nurturing Values and Spirituality in Early Childhood for the Prevention of Violence

The last of a series of Roundtable Discussions on Nurturing Values and Spirituality in Early Childhood for the Prevention of Violence was held in Brasilia on 24 June 2019, and brought together more than 70 participants from several religious communities, experts on early childhood and child protection coming from civil society and faith-based organizations, as well as government representatives.


04/07/2019 - Commemorating Cyberbullying Prevention Day with a Full-day Online Conference

Within the framework of the #StopCyberbullyingDay, a 24-hour online conference held on 22 June 2019, gathered the voices of the youth, the academia, teachers, journalists, and lawmakers, as well as representatives of social organizations, families, technology entrepreneurs and governments worldwide to create a global conversation about Cyberbullying and Bullying, one of the issues that worries the youth nowadays.


04/07/2019 - 1st INSPIRE Implementation Jamboree – Leading Violence-Prevention Stakeholders Meet in Uganda

Under the theme “Advancing evidence-based action to end violence against children through INSPIRE dissemination, implementation and monitoring,” more than 150 professionals and representatives of organizations working to prevent violence against children met in for the 1st INSPIRE Implementation Jamboree in Kampala, Uganda.

The meeting, which was held on 24-25 June 2019, took stock of how violence prevention stakeholders at global, regional and national levels are making use of the INSPIRE technical package to inform their plans for collective action and of advances in efforts to implement and evaluate specific interventions from each of the strategies, with a special focus upon adaptation, scaling up and capacity development.


04/07/2019 - Youth Empowerment for Resilience, Peacebuilding and the Prevention of Violent Extremism through Education in the Sahel – A Multilateral Collaboration

In the framework of its collaboration with UNESCO, Arigatou International – Geneva lead a training workshop on how to integrate transformative pedagogies into education systems as a tool for promoting peacebuilding, resilience and the prevention of violent extremism.

The workshop, which was organized from 6 to 10 May 2019, by UNESCO's Multisectoral Regional Office for West Africa (Sahel) and the “Institut de la Francophonie pour l'éducation et la formation” took place in Niamey, Niger, bringing together representatives of the Ministries of Primary and Secondary Education of Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Senegal.


04/07/2019 - More than 1,300 Children and Youth Have Been Reached by Learning to Live Together in Tanzania

Following a Facilitator Training Workshop that took place at the end of 2017 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, over 1,300 children and youth from 17 madrasas, primary and secondary schools have been reached by the Learning to Live Together Programme.

During the workshop, 28 teachers and youth mentors who have been working with youth from the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC) Peace Clubs were trained on how to use the Learning to Live Together Programme in their schools and organizations. As a result, 900 children aged 12 to 17 have been reached by the systematic implementation of the Programme in 12 schools, and another 400 children have been reached through different activities based on the Programme that have been carried out by their teachers.


04/07/2019 - Nurturing Environments for the Wellbeing of Children and Their Family: Advancing Early Childhood Development at the 2019 ISSA Conference

The International Step by Step Association (ISSA), a network that connects professionals and NGO's working in the field of early childhood development (ECD), organized on 18-19 June 2019 their Annual ISSA Conference, which welcomed 396 professionals from 61 countries under the theme “Nurturing Environments for the Wellbeing of Children and Their Family.”

The two-day meeting, which took place in Leiden, Netherlands presented a unique opportunity for researchers, practitioners, policy makers, parents and NGOs from around the world to explore themes on EDC through insightful discussions and interactive sessions, while sharing their wisdom and solutions.


04/07/2019 - Challenging a Violent Environment with the Promotion of Peaceful Coexistence among Youth in Uruguay

Twenty-five children aged 15 to 18 participated in the implementation of the Learning to Live Together Programme in Uruguay, thanks to the efforts made by three facilitators from Youth for Christ, a worldwide Christian movement working with young people around the globe.


04/07/2019 - Experience Sharing Workshop on Preventing Violent Extremism through Teacher Development and Youth Empowerment for African Countries

Arigatou International – Geneva participated in an Experience Sharing Workshop on the project: "Youth Empowerment for Peace and Resilience Building and Prevention of Violent Extremism in African Countries through Teacher Development," organized by the UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA), on 29-30 April 2019.


04/07/2019 - Adaptation of the Learning Live Together Programme: Pilots in Bucharest and San Salvador

A series of pilot workshops with young children are being held in different parts of the world, as part of the two-year process to adapt the Learning to Live Together Programme to middle childhood years. After reaching 70 children in Kenya and Portugal, two new workshops were held in Romania and El Salvador.


04/07/2019 - Consultative Meeting in Lausanne, for the Multi-Religious Study on the Contributions of Religious Communities to the Convention on the Rights of the Child

On November 20, 2019, the international community will mark the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC30), the most comprehensive treaty on the rights of children which has been ratified by virtually all UN Members States.

The enormous success of the CRC has resulted in numerous laws being enacted including national constitutions, and policies, programs, and budgets being adopted that benefit children. It has also spurred notable achievements in health, education and child protection all of which have improved the lives of all children in many parts of the world.

For this occasion, Arigatou International, in close collaboration with the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Violence against Children (SRSG) has initiated a Study from a multi-religious perspective with experts on child rights, religious leaders and scholars that includes a review of the CRC since its adoption. The Study is also being developed in collaboration with UNICEF and other key partners.


19/06/2019 - INSPIREd Faith Communities in Kenya – Fourth Roundtable on Nurturing Values and Spirituality in Early Childhood for the Prevention of Violence

With a strong call to action to work together for a future of dignity, prosperity and peace for children, Dr. Daniel Muvengi, Regional Director of World Vision Kenya, opened the National Roundtable Discussion on Nurturing Values and Spirituality in Early Childhood for the Prevention of Violence that was held on 28 and 29 May, 2019, in Nairobi, Kenya.

The two-day event brought together more than 80 participants, including religious leaders, representatives from civil society organizations, government and multilateral agencies, and academia, presenting an excellent opportunity to discuss the magnitude and impact of violence in early childhood, and to identify actions to transform social and cultural norms that condone violence and that support parents and caregivers.


19/06/2019 - PaRD’s 2019 General Assembly of Members: Bringing Child Participation and Protection to the Heart of the Discussion

Ms. María Lucía Uribe represented Arigatou International at the General Assembly of Members of the International Partnership on Religion and Sustainable Development (PaRD), which gathered its 105 current members from 1 to 3 May 2019, in Copenhagen, Denmark.


19/06/2019 - Tackling Violence in Baringo, Kenya, through Value Based Education

More than 700 children from West Kenya are expected to be reached by the Learning to Live Together Programme after Sixty-four teachers from the counties of Baringo and Elgeyo-Marakwet participated in a 4-day Facilitator Training Workshop on the use of the Programme.


29/11/2018 - President of Arigatou International Speaks at Faith Leaders' Summit on Protecting Children Online

Rev. Keishi Miyamoto, President of Arigatou International, spoke on the significance of religion for keeping children safe in today’s digital world during the Faith Leaders’ Summit at the conclusion of the global conference of the Interfaith Alliance for Safer Communities on protecting child dignity online. The conference, which took place November 19-20, 2018 in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, was held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) Armed Forces, and co-organized by Arigatou International and other partners.

The conference brought together 450 participants including religious leaders, representatives from international and grassroots organizations, governments, faith-inspired organizations, peace practitioners and heads of industry and business entities to discuss the world’s social challenges and develop comprehensive solutions for protecting children and youth from online exploitation and cybercrime.

Rev Miyamoto Abu Dhabi summitRev. Keishi Miyamoto, President of Arigatou InternationalRev. Miyamoto first expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to speak and his deep appreciation that Arigatou International had been selected as a partner organization to help plan and organize the conference. He went on to describe Arigatou International’s mission to build a peaceful world where every child can grow up safe and sound and pursue happiness. He touched on the progress of science and medicine, noting that, although they can inform us about what happens in the world, they cannot give us a vision for what the world ought to be like.

Rev. Miyamoto then posed the question: “What, then, can give us ultimate guidance on what to do with our lives, our precious, finite lives?” His answer was that religion is more needed today than ever before.

“In the pursuit of ultimate happiness, religion is needed, as long as humankind exists. There is a certain glorious joy to be experienced when realizing the pure blessing it is to have been born as a human being — here one can understand true happiness, the meaning and purpose of life. This same joy also makes clear the root causes of greed, anger and envy. So, in a world where science and medicine have made great progress, I am completely convinced that religion can be more helpful than ever, especially for the children, who are the future of humanity, and that religious leaders must do much more for children.”

Finally, he expressed his wish for the conference to result in finding solutions to all the challenges of keeping children safe in today’s digital world and vowed to support this effort in every way possible through both prayer and action.

The other speakers alongside Rev. Miyamoto at the Faith Leaders’ Summit were Her Holiness Mata Amritanandamayi (Hindu Spiritual Leader), Bhai Sahib Bhai Dr. Mohinder Singh, OBE KSG (Chairman, Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha), Rabbi Michael Schudrich (Chief Rabbi of Poland), His Eminence Metropolitan Emmanuel (Metropolitan of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of France), and Prof. Dr. Ahmad Al–Tayib (Imam, Al-Azhar Grand Mosque, Cairo).

The conference was co-organized by a number of global organizations including Al Azhar University, Arigatou International, Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, Gregorian University, International Justice Mission, Religions for Peace International, Shanti Ashram, The Center for Child Protection of the Pontifical Gregorian University, The Child Dignity Alliance, UNICEF, WePROTECT Global Alliance and World Vision International.


08/10/2018 - Enter the School Superhero Comic Contest!

UNICEF and Comics Uniting Nations are calling on children and young people to defeat the ultimate supervillain – The Silence – to help end violence in and around schools.

The Silence large

The Silence – a supernatural character that uses its powers to stop children from speaking up and taking action against violence in and around schools – was unveiled at New York Comic Con this week to launch UNICEF and Comics Uniting Nations’ superhero comic contest. Children and young people aged 25 years and under are invited to design their own comic superhero that will defeat The Silence and help keep children safe in school.

“There should be no room for Silence when it comes to children’s safety,” said UNICEF Director of Communication Paloma Escudero. “With this creative contest, we are hoping to get students, teachers, families and communities to speak up and beat The Silence.”

From fighting and bullying to sexual harassment and corporal punishment, violence in and around school can have devastating, long-term consequences for children. The Silence superhero comic contest will encourage children and young people to be part of UNICEF’s global campaign to shed light on and spark action to #ENDviolence in schools through the creative medium of comic design. 

The top submissions in the contest will be chosen after the closing date on 25th October by a special panel of judges, including comic artist Gabriel Picolo and last year’s comic contest winner Sathviga ‘Sona’ Sridhar. The public will then have the opportunity to vote online for their favourite comic hero between 16th and 25thNovember. The winner will be announced in December and will work with a professional team to turn their winning idea into a full-length comic book. Their comic will be presented to World Leaders at the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development at the United Nations in July 2019, as well as distributed to schools and children worldwide.

21-year-old Sathviga ‘Sona’ Sridhar, from Chennai, India, won UNICEF’s inaugural superhero comic contest in 2017. With a focus on combatting climate change, her winning character ‘Light’ was a half tree-half human who uses special powers to save nature from a warming planet. The contest received nearly 2,900 submissions by young people from 99 different countries and more than 21,000 votes from 162 countries were cast to determine the winner. 

For more information visit: https://uni.cf/school-superhero


06/03/2018 - President of Arigatou International Attends Solutions Summit of Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children

Solutions Summit
Jessica Gow/Government Offices of Sweden

 

Rev. Keishi Miyamoto, President of Arigatou International and Convenor of the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC), joined other global leaders and participants at the Solutions Summit convened by the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children held in Stockholm, Sweden on 14th and 15th February 2018.

During the Summit, three hundred and eighty six (386) participants including global leaders, representatives from the United Nations, government officials, civil society organizations, the private sector and children and youth from 67 countries across the world affirmed their commitment to work together to end violence against children. The Proclamation issued at the Summit is available here.

Among the contributions of Arigatou International shared at the Summit was the GNRC 5th Forum, held on 9–11 May 2017 in Panama City, Panama, attended by 526 participants. In this Forum, leaders and members of the world’s religious and spiritual traditions, girls and boys, women and men, from 70 countries, together with representatives of governments, the United Nations, as well as international and grassroots organizations, affirmed their commitment to end violence in the Panama Declaration on Ending Violence Against Children.

While at the Summit, Rev. Miyamoto touched on the follow-up to the GNRC 5th Forum in Panama, which focused on the role of faith communities in ending violence against children, with leaders from key partners, including Dr. Susan Bissell, Founding Director of the Global Partnership; Ms. Marta Santos Pais, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General on Violence Against Children; Ms. Henrietta Fore, Executive Director, UNICEF and Rev. Dr. Olav Fikse-Tveit, Secretary General, World Council of Churches .

Prior to the Summit, on February 13, 2018, Rev. Miyamoto participated in the Governing Board Meeting of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, which was hosted by H.E. Asa Regner, Minister for Children, the Elderly and Gender Equality of Sweden.

The visit provided an excellent opportunity to further strengthen the partnerships that will be critical for bringing an end to violence against children everywhere by 2030.

 


06/03/2018 - President of Arigatou International Attends Solutions Summit of Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children

Rev. Keishi Miyamoto, President of Arigatou International and Convenor of the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC), joined other global leaders and participants at the Solutions Summit convened by the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children held in Stockholm, Sweden on 14th and 15th February 2018. During the Summit, three hundred and eighty six (386) participants including global leaders, representatives from the United Nations, government officials, civil society organizations, the private sector and children and youth from 67 countries across the world affirmed their commitment to work together to end violence against children. The Proclamation issued at the Summit is available here.

Among the contributions of Arigatou International shared at the Summit was the GNRC 5th Forum, held on 9–11 May 2017 in Panama City, Panama, attended by 526 participants. In this Forum, leaders and members of the world’s religious and spiritual traditions, girls and boys, women and men, from 70 countries, together with representatives of governments, the United Nations, as well as international and grassroots organizations, affirmed their commitment to end violence in the Panama Declaration on Ending Violence Against Children.

While at the Summit, Rev. Miyamoto touched on the follow-up to the GNRC 5th Forum in Panama, which focused on the role of faith communities in ending violence against children, with leaders from key partners, including Dr. Susan Bissell, Founding Director of the Global Partnership; Ms. Marta Santos Pais, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General on Violence Against Children; Ms. Henrietta Fore, Executive Director, UNICEF and Rev. Dr. Olav Fikse-Tveit, Secretary General, World Council of Churches .

Prior to the Summit, on February 13, 2018, Rev. Miyamoto participated in the Governing Board Meeting of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, which was hosted by H.E. Asa Regner, Minister for Children, the Elderly and Gender Equality of Sweden.

The visit provided an excellent opportunity to further strengthen the partnerships that will be critical for bringing an end to violence against children everywhere by 2030.

 


25/09/2017 - Honoring the Bright Life of Sr. Jean Pruitt: A Message from Rev. Keishi Miyamoto

IMG 5026 2

 

It is with shock and tremendous sadness that I received the news that Sr. Jean Pruitt, the first GNRC Coordinator for Africa, passed away recently. When I met her at the GNRC Fifth Forum in Panama City this May, she was as full of joy, humor and vigor as ever. She has dedicated her entire life to the children for Africa. Her work for and with children has touched countless lives and inspired people like me all around the world.

I first met Sr. Jean, who has run the Dogodogo Center for street children in Tanzania for decades, at the GNRC First Forum in Tokyo in 2000. Thanks to her support, we were able to invite street children served by the Center to the Conference of Children for Coming Generation that we held in Japan in 2000. The presentation made by Mr. George Daniel, one of the street children from the Center, inspired all the participants, including me, and after that, I personally exchanged letters with him for a while.

Sr. Jean was the very first person to translate our vision for interfaith cooperation for children through the Global Network of Religions for Children into specific, grassroots action to change children's lives in Africa. She organized the East and Southern Africa Network of Religions for Children (ESANRC), the first regional GNRC network in Africa, soon after the GNRC's inauguration in the year 2000 and served as the first GNRC Coordinator for Africa until Dr. Mustafa Ali, who is now GNRC Secretary General, assumed the position in 2003. She also served as Chair of the Local Hosting Committee and contributed to the successful GNRC Fourth Forum held in Tanzania in 2012. Following the Fifth Forum this year, she has been active in following up on the commitments in the Panama Declaration. Sr. Jean was a bright light, and that light she gave will continue to shine in all of our work. 

On behalf of Arigatou International, let me express my sincere condolences to her family, Maryknoll sisters, and to the GNRC Tanzania. We all mourn her and remember her for her tremendous contribution to the GNRC, and to the well-being of children in Africa and around the world. 

Farewell, Sr. Jean. We will miss you. Rest in peace.

Keishi Miyamoto

President, Arigatou International


25/09/2017 - Honoring the Bright Life of Sr. Jean Pruitt: A Message from Rev. Keishi Miyamoto

It is with shock and tremendous sadness that I received the news that Sr. Jean Pruitt, the first GNRC Coordinator for Africa, passed away recently. When I met her at the GNRC Fifth Forum in Panama City this May, she was as full of joy, humor and vigor as ever. She has dedicated her entire life to the children for Africa. Her work for and with children has touched countless lives and inspired people like me all around the world.

I first met Sr. Jean, who has run the Dogodogo Center for street children in Tanzania for decades, at the GNRC First Forum in Tokyo in 2000. Thanks to her support, we were able to invite street children served by the Center to the Conference of Children for Coming Generation that we held in Japan in 2000. The presentation made by Mr. George Daniel, one of the street children from the Center, inspired all the participants, including me, and after that, I personally exchanged letters with him for a while.

Sr. Jean was the very first person to translate our vision for interfaith cooperation for children through the Global Network of Religions for Children into specific, grassroots action to change children's lives in Africa. She organized the East and Southern Africa Network of Religions for Children (ESANRC), the first regional GNRC network in Africa, soon after the GNRC's inauguration in the year 2000 and served as the first GNRC Coordinator for Africa until Dr. Mustafa Ali, who is now GNRC Secretary General, assumed the position in 2003. She also served as Chair of the Local Hosting Committee and contributed to the successful GNRC Fourth Forum held in Tanzania in 2012. Following the Fifth Forum this year, she has been active in following up on the commitments in the Panama Declaration. Sr. Jean was a bright light, and that light she gave will continue to shine in all of our work. 

On behalf of Arigatou International, let me express my sincere condolences to her family, Maryknoll sisters, and to the GNRC Tanzania. We all mourn her and remember her for her tremendous contribution to the GNRC, and to the well-being of children in Africa and around the world. 

Farewell, Sr. Jean. We will miss you. Rest in peace.

Keishi Miyamoto

President, Arigatou International


26/06/2017 - Looking Ahead from the GNRC 5th Forum in Panama

First of all, on behalf of Arigatou International and as Convener of the GNRC, I would like to express my sincere appreciation for the valuable contributions not only of all Forum participants, but also of many other supporters of Arigatou International, to the success of the GNRC 5th Forum held in Panama in May 2017. Each successive GNRC forum has built upon what has been achieved by GNRC members and supporters around the world. In this sense, I would like to take this opportunity to express my profound gratitude in particular to Ms. Mercedes Roman, who has dedicated herself to the mission of the GNRC since the very beginning of the GNRC in the year 2000 and has been instrumental in making the GNRC in Latin America and Caribbean region what it is today. Without her great contributions and long-time service as GNRC Coordinator for the region and as an advisor, the GNRC 5th Forum in Panama would have never even taken place.

If religious people of different faiths come together in prayer and practice to work for children in collaboration with international organizations, governments and NGOs, we can make a major difference in the lives of children around the world. This was the conviction and aspiration of the late Rev. Takeyasu Miyamoto, Leader of Myochikai and President of Arigatou International, when he proposed the idea of a worldwide interfaith network for children and inaugurated the GNRC at its first forum in 2000. I believe that the more than 500 participants, including children, who gathered from around the world for the 5th Forum made a very good start with the firm commitments set out in the Panama Declaration. Now, it is up to all of us to work together to deliver on those commitments, to create tangible outcomes in ending violence against children in the months and years ahead.

The real success of every GNRC Forum depends on how we follow up on the commitments made in the forum. Our challenge here is how each of the forum participants, now back in their home contexts, can translate the Panama commitments into concrete actions and then link and connect all of these actions taken by GNRC members, supporters and partners at various levels around the world, in order to make a real difference overall. In other words, even the smallest action in the smallest village can be part of the global initiative for children that we share. And we welcome and encourage action by the children themselves, as active protagonists who can offer the full benefits of their wisdom and unique capabilities to the work of the whole. Arigatou International will not only continue to work with the forum participants, but also invite GNRC members, supporters and people of all walks of life to join us in the moral imperative to put an end to violence against children.


23/05/2017 - GNRC 5th Forum: The Panama Declaration on Ending Violence Against Children

Challenged by the global epidemic of violence against children, we, leaders and members of the world’s religious and spiritual traditions, girls and boys, women and men, from 70 countries, together with representatives of governments, the United Nations, and international and grassroots organizations, met in Panama City, Panama for the 5th Forum of the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC), from 9-11 May 2017.

Building upon the GNRC’s 17 years of service to the world’s children, we affirm the fundamental dignity of every boy and girl. We reaffirm the moral imperative to protect children from harm, as enshrined and protected in the teachings of all of the world’s religious and spiritual communities and in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and its optional protocols. We believe in the power of interfaith cooperation to transform the world.

Download the full Declaration in English or Spanish here.


15/05/2017 - Leaders from World’s Major Religions and Spiritual Traditions Commit to New Joint Efforts to End Violence Against Children

GNRC 5th Forum

 

PRESS RELEASE

ISSUED 14th May 2017 – PANAMA CITY, PANAMA; NAIROBI, KENYA; SANTIAGO; CHILE; TOKYO, JAPAN;

Five hundred faith leaders from 70 countries, joined by representatives of governments, the United Nations, and international and grassroots organizations, have made a solemn commitment to greater effort and cooperation in the cause of ending violence against children. The leaders met in Panama City, Panama for the 5th Forum of the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC) from 9-11 May 2017, reaffirming the universal “moral imperative to protect children from harm.”

The outcomes of the forum were summed up in “The Panama Declaration on Ending Violence Against Children,” which was adopted enthusiastically by all the participants at the end of the Forum.

The President of the Republic of Panama H.E. Juan Carlos Varela officiated the opening of the Forum, calling for an urgent response from the international community and all of the human family to address the plight of children worldwide. Speaker after speaker, including UNICEF Executive Director Mr. Anthony Lake; UN Special Representative of the Secretary General on Preventing Violence Against Children Ms. Marta Santos Pais; Global Partnership and Fund to End Violence Against Children Director Dr. Susan Bissell; HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan; President of the Pontifical Council on Interreligious Dialogue Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran; World Council of Churches General Secretary Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit and WCC Moderator Dr. Agnes Abuom, declared in one voice that it is unacceptable that one billion children worldwide continue to endure physical, psychological or sexual violence.

The leaders thanked Rev. Keishi Miyamoto, President of Arigatou International, for convening the GNRC, calling for more support to end the conditions that cause one child to be killed every five minutes in a violent act, worldwide. The faith leaders promised to reject and speak out against all forms of violence against children. Welcoming participants to the GNRC 5th Forum, Rev. Miyamoto maintained that it is indeed possible to end violence against children if religious and spiritual communities, governments and international as well as multilateral organizations work together.

Noting that the causes of violence against children are complex and varied, including deep-seated cultural, political, familial and socio-economic causes such as poverty and social exclusion, the faith leaders called for “extraordinary and urgent collaboration among religious and spiritual communities, UN agencies, international and multilateral organizations, governments, civil society, the private sector, media — and, most importantly, with children” to end today’s unprecedented violence against children.

The faith leaders and international organizations represented also vowed to “embrace internationally agreed strategies and mechanisms to address violence against children, including the Sustainable Development Goals 16.2 on ending abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children; 5.2 and 5.3 on ending violence against women and girls; and 8.7 on ending economic exploitation of children.”

The First Lady of the Republic of Panama Honorable Lorena Castillo Garcia de Varela, who also attended the GNRC 5th Forum, asked faith leaders to put aside their differences and do all they can to end violence.

The GNRC Forum is organized every five years by Arigatou International to address issues affecting children globally and bring people together to build a peaceful world.

END


arigatou international header 14

Note to Editors

Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC)
The GNRC is a global-scale interfaith network of organizations and individuals specifically dedicated to securing the rights and well-being of children everywhere. GNRC members come from all of the world’s major religions and many other spiritual traditions. The GNRC is one of the four main initiatives of Arigatou International, a faith-based non-profit organization. Arigatou International works under the motto of “All for Children,” bringing together people from all walks of life to build a better world for children.

Arigatou International
The primary supporter of the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC), Arigatou International, is a non-profit organization which strives to bring people from all walks of life together to build a better world for children. Arigatou International is “All for Children,” and it draws on universal principles of common good to offer compelling new ways for people of diverse religious and cultural backgrounds to work together on children’s issues. Arigatou International develops and sustains unique multi-stakeholder initiatives designed to ensure that all children are treated with dignity, all children’s rights are respected, and all children have the opportunity to freely pursue their full human potential.

 


12/05/2017 - Thematic Discussions on Ending Violence Against Children

“One out of three girls and one out of five boys will be exploited by the age of 18, 90% are by someone they know,” was one of the imperative statements issued by Dr. Alaa Murabit, one of the keynote speakers at the GNRC 5th Forum. Guided by the Forum’s three subthemes namely: the role of Faith Communities in Protecting Children from Violent Extremism, Gang Violence and Organized Crime; Nurturing Spirituality and Ending Violence in Child Upbringing; and Ending Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children, faith leaders, professionals, analysts and activists explored the reality of violence against children globally.

Forum Day2 pic7The argument was that very little attention had been put on the issue of violence against children and that religious voices are weak. It was pointed out during various thematic panel discussions that religion plays a vital role in offering spiritual guidance and comfort to children, youth and the community, thus faith leaders should be given more platform to nurture such skills in people. More faith-based and interfaith programs that address child violence should be increased. Extra attention was also given to experience sharing so as to offer an avenue for learning and call to action. It was also pointed out that religious leaders should be ready to take up vital roles in ending violence against children and not wait for the professionals to give them a ‘green light’.

In the case of government policies, it was argued that in other countries bureaucratic procedures might stagnate process of ending violence against children. There is immense fear from religious leaders when going against the government so as to secure a better future for children hence international actors should intervene in looking for better solutions.

Forum Day2 pic6Among the memorable speeches of the forum was that of H.G. Dr. Barry C. Morgan, former Archbishop of Wales and Dr. Alaa Murabit, UN High-level Commissioner on Health, Employment and Economic Growth. Dr. Morgan pointed out that the inherent rights of the child were present in the teachings and traditions of all the world’s major religions and it was up to the faith leaders to uphold and advocate for them. He added that faith leaders have the power to convince societies in which they live, to be strong advocates of children’s rights. They can also challenge those who use religion to condone or ignore violence against children and can partner with agencies to create awareness that violence against children is a human rights violation.

Dr. Murabit challenged the participants on their role of ending violence against children citing that negligence, traditional and cultural practices and denial has contributed to an increase in violence against children globally. She stressed that only the joint efforts of all the stakeholders would end violence against children and that it is high time the society united as one. She concluded with emphasizing the importance of girl child education noting that educating 10% of girls in a country, increases the GDP by 3:2

Arigatou International’s initiatives namely: the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC), Ethics Education for Children, Prayer and Action for Children and Interfaith Initiative to End Child Poverty, got a chance to explain how they work with faith communities and partners to end violence against children.

Participants later split into sub-regions to discuss common problems they have and possible solutions in relations to ending violence against children. The day ended with a cultural event at Ciudad del Saber, where participants got to experience real Panamanian culture through dances, songs, historical stories and attires.


11/05/2017 - The Global Context of Violence Against Children

“One billion of the 2.2 billion children from all walks of life around the world endure different forms of physical and sexual violence, irrespective of ethnicity, nationality, race, religion or income levels.” This was one of the statements echoed on the first day of the Fifth Forum of the Global Network of Religions for Children. Five hundred and twenty religious leaders, members of diverse faith communities, government officials, leaders of faith-based organizations, United Nations officials, and representatives of international and grassroots organizations from around the world were present at the opening ceremony. The President, Arigatou International and Convenor GNRC, Rev. Keishi Miyamoto, the President of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, the organizing and hosting committees of the Forum made remarks during the Forum. Key messages were also given by H.E Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, President, Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Holy See, H.R.H. Prince El Hassan bin Talal, The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary, World Council of Churches.

Rev Keishi forumIn his remarks, Rev. Keishi Miyamoto decried the continued abuse of children adding that the world would lose its future potential if the trend persisted. He talked about Arigatou International’s efforts to safeguard the rights and well being of the children globally. Rev. Miyamoto applauded the efforts of all the participants in coming to make a better world for children. The president of Arigatou International commented that apart from bringing faith communities to address violence against children, the Forum also aimed to contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG16.2 focusing on ending abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children.

Panama PresidentThe president of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela welcomed the constructive exchange of information and experiences among participating individuals and organizations. He praised Arigatou International for bringing the Fifth Forum to Latin America, in particular to Panama, a country that has had its fair share of violence against children. President Varela revealed that children as young as 12 years had been exposed to crime, drug trafficking, prostitution, extortion and gang violence and called on the world’s religious leaders and human rights defenders to do more to end the violence. “I dream of a world where children are protected from violence, where the economy will thrive because we have protected children- our tomorrow’s future,” said President Carlos Varela in his concluding remarks.

Other key discussions in day one included building of partnerships to end violence against Children, nurturing and promoting a child’s spirituality through positive parenting and the wider community involvement and the role of religious leaders and faith communities in preventing the recruitment of children into radicalized groups of violent extremists, gang violence and organized crime.

The first day of the GNRC 5th Forum concluded with a Dinner Reception Hosted by Rev. Keishi Miyamoto. Hon. Señora Lorena Castillo de Varela, First Lady of the Republic of Panama, government officials, representatives of Non-Governmental Organizations and participants to the Forum attended the dinner.

The GNRC 5th Forum aimed to consolidate and enhance the GNRC’s previous efforts to address violence against children, by focusing on the unique role faith communities in addressing this crisis. Envisioning the potential of faith communities to turn around this crisis, the theme for the GNRC 5th Forum was “Ending Violence Against Children: Faith Communities in Action.”



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