Celebrating 7th World Day, Religious and Secular Groups Aim to Stop Violence against Children

New York, November 20, 2014 – The World Day of Prayer and Action for Children celebrates its seventh annual World Day today. So far, affiliates in faith-based and secular groups are organizing 71 activities in 22 countries with the explicit aim of stopping violence against children.

Created in 2008, World Day is held each November 20 to coincide with Universal Children’s Day and the anniversary of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC.)  This year will mark the 25th Anniversary of the CRC.

World Day highlights three proven strategies that help stop violence against children: (a) promoting positive parenting and non-violent child-rearing; (b) ending child marriage; and (c) promoting universal birth registration.

World Day is also designed to be a day of reflection, a call to action to protect children from violence and a celebration of achievements and targets reached.  It is also a global year-round movement that provides opportunity for religious leaders, faith-based and secular groups to work together and with government and local leaders.

Continuing to work on its program “Standing Up with One Million Indian Children” in ten Indian states, Shanti Ashram and partners will focus on educating children about child rights and ending child marriage, with the help of 100 trained volunteers.

Also in India, the Ramakrishna Mission and its partners will promote positive parenting and give health check ups to children in West Bengal.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, creativeart workshopswill be held for children, andworkshops on positive parentingwill be held for parents, teachers, psychologists, religious and non-religious leaders, and local authorities.

GNRC Ecuador held a forum on stopping violence against children. Diverse church organizations and educational institutions in Quito will participate in ecumenical prayers.  There will be a day of prayer, a festival of the arts, and a march through the streets, with signs and slogans promoting the rights of children and urging the elimination of violence against them.

Students at Amalina Islamic School in Indonesia celebrated World Day with a campaign for peace which included prayers and reflection, a signature campaign for children all over the world, a jingle contest, and a children’s performance.

The World Day Secretariat, in co-operation with UNICEF, organized a panel discussion on November 10 in New York City, USA, and brought together religious and secular experts to discuss the alarming rise and severity of online violence against children and to help guide responses and actions.  It was reported that online photos of sexual abuse of children, who are mostly girls, portray a horrific level of violence and brutality.  “Many of these children are under the age of 10, and even include toddlers and babies,” said John Carr, Senior Online Technical Adviser, ECPAT International, in his keynote speech. This panel discussion will also be held in Tokyo, Japan, on November 21.

Sponsored by GNRC Nepal, various schools, colleges, and centers will host nine awareness programs in Nepal and include Ethics Education and a workshop on positive parenting.

In Panama, religious leaders from the Muslim, Jewish, Baha’i, Episcopalian, and Catholic community signed a joint statement asking mass media to promote positive portrayals of young people, especially those at risk. The statement will be published on World Day. GNRC Panama and UNICEF continue to organize workshops on non-violence for children and work closely with religious communities to promote messages during religious services about ending violence against children.

In South Africa, an interfaith prayer and action ceremony will be sponsored by Religions for Peace and info4Africa on the theme of “end the silence, stop the violence against children.”  The event will also celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the CRC.

In the United Kingdom, a youth rally and petition launch entitled Our Future, Our Rights – Youth Rising #UpForSchool, sponsored by A World At School, was held at the Southbank Centre in London. The event aims to push child rights higher on the international agenda, to promote changes to international law, and to get every child to school.  The event will also celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the CRC. The #UpForSchool petition calls for the universal right to education and an end to discrimination against children and will be presented to the 2015 Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations.

The World Day of Prayer and Action for Children is an initiative of Arigatou International, an international faith-based organization in Tokyo, Japan.  The World Day is guided by a global Councilwhose membership includes representatives from the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC), Pastoral da Criança, Save the Children, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Violence against Children, UNICEF, the Christian-Muslim Committee for Dialogue and the International Network of Engaged Buddhists, among others.

World Day information materials, ideas for action, media support information and details about 2014 events are available on

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