World Day News
The Archbishop of Wales will today warn that smacking demeans and devalues children.
Dr Barry Morgan will be speaking at a vigil service aimed at ending legalised violence against children.
He will argue that children should receive the same respect and care as adults.
The vigil service is taking place at a church in Cardiff to mark Universal Children’s Day, a world day of prayer and action for children.
The Archbishop will say, “Jesus believed that children were not just an asset for the future or a commitment to be undertaken for the sake of society. They were of infinite value as children. They deserved as much respect and care as any other human being."
The service is being supported by the charities Children in Wales and Children Are Unbeatable! Cymru.
Church leaders will light candles in prayer on behalf of children who have suffered violence, and Dr Morgan will wash children's feet.
He will also say: "None of us would ever dream of smacking an adult, why should we think smacking a child is any more acceptable.
"They too are made in God’s image, valued as the individuals they are. That does not mean that anything goes as far as bringing up children is concerned – but it does rule out physical punishment.”
Dr Morgan is one of the signatories of an open letter from church leaders calling upon the UK to remove the "reasonable punishment" defence of smacking.
The letter says that physical punishment as a form of discipline is "incompatible with the core religious values of respect for children’s human dignity, justice and non-violence".
It states: "There are no circumstances under which this painful and humiliating practice can be justified."
Religious and Secular Groups Come Together to End Violence Against Children
New York, 29 November 2012 – The World Day of Prayer and Action for Children celebrated its fifth Day of Prayer on Universal Children’s Day (20 November 2012) by bringing together secular and faith-based organizations to work to end violence against children, particularly child marriage.
The World Day of Prayer and Action for Children was created in 2008 to be a day of reflection and a call to action for the well being of children around the world. Although its activities culminate in November, the World Day has grown into an organization that works all year, weaving together the efforts of faith-based and non-governmental organizations with those of governments around the world.
This year, the World Day was the catalyst for close to 100 activities in over 50 countries which were held around the world in late November. The World Day of Prayer and Action for Children was even celebrated at the top of the world in Nepal, where the Shanti Sewa Ashram arranged an interfaith campaign to “Stop Child Marriage.”
Ending child marriage, which is often associated with violence against girls, is a major goal of the World Day, which is also campaigning against violent child discipline and promoting universal birth registration. It is also a major goal of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Chair of The Elders, founders of Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage.
“Every year, more than 10 million girls are married as children, usually with little say in whom and when they will marry,” said Archbishop Tutu a few days before this year’s Day of Prayer. “They enter a union in which they are likely to suffer violence and abuse, and which can cause untold psychological harm. Child marriage denies girls their rights to education and health, and makes it almost impossible for them to lift themselves, their families and communities out of poverty.”
In India, the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC) and the Shanti Ashram organized seven days of workshops and school campaigns (from 14 November to 21 November) to promote the protection of children and prevent early marriage. The events brought together leaders from a variety of faiths, including Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Jainism, Sikhism and the Baha’i tradition.
Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda University in West Bengal arranged a seven-day series of seminars on children’s rights, the prevention of early marriage and the trafficking of children. The seminars, which were held in cities and villages, were run in collaboration with 150 youth clubs and 600 schools. More than 25,000 children participated in the events, which went from 14 November to 20 November.
In Bangladesh, Save the Children worked with a local NGO called Breaking the Silence to create a daylong rally, calling for the prevention of violence against children. The event brought together nearly 200 children and 200 religious and civic leaders.
Such collaboration was seen around the world. In Liberia, the Inter Religious Council held a Candle Lighting event to celebrate The World Day, which brought together the Liberia Council of Churches, the Liberia National Muslim Council, the National Child Protection Network and various ministries of the Liberian government.
In Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, UNICEF, religious organizations and local government brought together more than 2,000 Christian and Muslim peace club members from scores of primary and secondary schools. The children attended workshops and lectures on preventing intolerance and violence.
Something similar happened in Europe, where GNRC Europe and Religions for Peace Europe collaborated with UNICEF to celebrate The World Day of Prayer. The three groups gathered together religious leaders of all faiths from around the European Union. The leaders joined children and youth in Brussels, where they attended a conference on 19 November 2012.
In Brazil, the Pastoral da Criança and the GNRC organized one of the largest World Day celebrations in the world. Starting on 19 November, they sponsored seven days of activities in five state capitals: Belo Horizonte, Curitiba, Florianópolis, Porto Alegre and São Paulo. The events, which promoted a safe and healthy future, allowed children to do scores of activities, including playing sports, learn origami from Buddhists, and learn about the protecting the environment from members of Brazil’s Department of the Environment.
The World Day of Prayer was commemorated in New York at a Covenant House location that provides 30-day emergency housing for young mothers and their children. The World Day Secretariat led a workshop based on Arigatou International’s Learning to Live Together manual for 17 mothers of various nationalities. The workshop exercises aimed to foster a stronger sense of community among the young women and encouraged them to reflect on values central to motherhood and raising their children.
Teen pregnancy – like early marriage – can rob a girl of her future. “That is why,” Archbishop Tutu said, “on this year’s World Day of Prayer and Action, I call on the community of faith to do everything in our power to end child marriage and ensure that girls can fulfill their God-given potential.“
Message from Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Chair of The Elders, founders of Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage
In 1954, the first Universal Children's Day was established to be celebrated every year on Nov. 20. The concept behind the United Nations' project is to promote global awareness about and among children, working toward improving conditions for children and their welfare. UNICEF (the United Nations Children's Fund) coordinates the annual event. While many countries — including Canada and the United Kingdom — officially celebrate Universal Children's Day, the United States does not yet.
You might want to encourage your school, spiritual group or other community organization to honor Universal Children's Day this year.
Many schools create an event around the day. Perhaps you can talk to your child's school or religious teacher about adding a mention of Universal Children's Day to your child's classroom holiday party.
Volunteer to help children in younger elementary classes make drawings of the world and pinpoint at least three countries on their drawings.
Older elementary classes can read about what children's lives are like in other countries with respect to their education, duties, traditions, religious outlooks, community involvement.
Middle-schoolers and older students may want to discuss the differences between the rights children have in different countries.
Other children's celebrations around the globe include:
International Children's Day of Broadcasting. International Children's Day of Broadcasting is celebrated the first Sunday in March, according to UNICEF's website. It is a joint initiative between UNICEF and the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is intended for broadcasters to "tune in to kids" around the world.
Children's Day in Japan. This is a national holiday in Japan celebrated on May 5. Started in 1948, Children's Day is a festive day to celebrate the life of Japanese children. The holiday is believed to have begun in China, where medicinal herbs were hung to ward off childhood diseases. In Japan, it is traditionally celebrated by giving children gifts of kites and hanging streamers.
Children's Day in India. "Bal Diwas" is celebrated every Nov. 14, which is also "Pandit" (which means scholar and teacher) Nehru's birthday. Jawaharlal Nehru was the first Prime Minister of India after the country won independence from Great Britain in 1947. It is a day of fun and frolic, celebrating Nehru's love of children.
Tip from the parenting trenches:
Check out World Day of Prayer and Action for Children at www.dayofprayerandaction.org. Run in conjunction with Universal Children's Day on Nov. 20, the theme this year is "Stop Violence Against Children." Click on the yellow "Take Action" on the home page to find ideas on creating an event or to download "A Note on Positive Parenting and Non-Violent Discipline" (of which I am a big advocate).
Africa, 4 September 2012 (Leadership) - There are no records of the existence for approximately half of all the children on the African continent, says United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).
The births of these children were never registered, meaning the state knows nothing of their existence and are making no provisions for them, says Cornelius Williams, Regional Adviser: Child Protection at the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).
Williams, from UNICEF's Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office, is one of the delegates at the 2nd Civil Registration and Vital Statics conference currently underway in Durban, South Africa.
"Could you imagine a child not having an identity, not having an existence written down and so you're born, you live your life, you die and you never existed in any document...It's like you were never there. There's no official record of your existence as a human being," he said.
Birth registrations were particularly poor in countries like Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda, Williams added.
Children who were not registered were immediately at a disadvantage because with no record of their existence, planning for their future proved to be difficult.
"Increasingly what we are finding out is that when it comes to planning, government plans don't cover these children, especially if they come from marginalised communities... They don't plan for you and if you are caught breaking the law, you treated like an adult because you don't have a birth certificate to show that you're not an adult.
"This means the law that protects children will not protect you," he pointed out.
Williams attributed the blame for non-registration to both governments and parents.
"Countries do not have proper systems in place. They are still dealing with outdated, colonial relics - laws that have never been modernised, systems that have not been modernised. You have paper based systems.
"There is still a country that uses the typewriters. They have two typewriters in their national office that is used to type birth certificates because that's the law and the law is outdated," Williams said.
The civil registration system of such countries could not be digitalised because there was no money for it.
Another barrier was the cost factor of the documents.
"In one African country, we did a calculation and it cost $25 for someone in a rural area to travel all the way to a town centre to register their child and get a certificate. It costs $25 in a poor country where you have majority of people living on less than $1 a day," he pointed out.
With regards to parents, he said that some, particularly those in rural areas, did not see the need for their children to have birth certificates as they were not expected to attend school.
Others only showed urgency in registering their children when the child needed to go to school or access services from the state.
"When the child needs something from the state that requires proof of identity then it kicks in. It's the private use that drives the need for registration."
However, the situation was looking up, with Africa finally beginning to acknowledge the importance of civil registration.
"Proof of that is the Africa countries gathered here...They have recognised they can't have a modern state without civil registration... With this conference we are now seeing a movement. There is a movement and growing recognition that Africa must changes," he added.
Policy makers and political leaders were finally talking about and tackling the issue, Williams noted.
Fifty-four African Ministers responsible for civil registration and vital statistics are involved in this year's conference, as well as about 500 delegates from African countries including senior civil registration technical experts, development partners, young statisticians and professional associations.
The Ministerial Conference will get underway on 6 and 7 September and will be chaired by Home Affairs Minister and Chairperson of the AU Commission Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.Read the original article on the Leadership website.