“Poverty does not only exacerbate violence, but violence can also perpetuate poverty.”
End Child Poverty participated in the interactive Forum on Religious Ideals and Responsibility of Leadership to End Violence Against Children, to mark the World Day of Prayer and Action for Children on 17 November. The event that was hosted by Arigatou International, New York at the Church Center for the United Nations, New York, was attended by various leaders and partners including; ECPAT International, the Global Partnership to End Violence against Children, and Religions for Peace.
The key focus for the discussion was forging a platform for both religious and civil society partners to work together and mobilize resources in fighting violence against children; sharing insights and good practices from moral, religious and ethical perspectives, in order to find solutions; and undertaking urgent action in bringing an end to the epidemic and the social norms that perpetuate violence against children.
The session was moderated by Rebecca Rios-Kohn, Director, Prayer and Action for Children – Arigatou International, who gave the key remarks, and a brief of the forum’s background. Drawing attention to the crippling statistics on child fatality due to violence, she emphasized that a child dies every five minutes due to violence
Dr. William Vendly, Secretary General, Religions for Peace, in addressing the Ethical and Moral Imperative on Ending Violence against Children, pointed out that “We will not end violence against children unless we have shared social values that honor the child”.
Also addressing the forum was Professor Anant Rambachan, on the Responsibility of Leadership to End Violence against Children. “Our world longs for inter-religious dialogue”, he said. Putting an emphasis on the sensitivity of the girl child he noted, “The girl child is the most vulnerable and needs our voices in a special way”.
“120 million girls, 73 million boys have been victims of sexual violence”, Natasha Javed, of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, stated. She posed a challenge to the stakeholders, calling for immediate action in preventing violence against children and in addressing the key role played by religious leaders and Faith Based Organizations.
Mr. Andrew Claypole of UN SRSG-VAC spoke out on prevention of violence against children and notably the reintegration of violated kids, and noted All violence against children leaves irreversible damages and weakens the foundation of social progress.
“Everyone is talking about it, but where is the action?” Rabbi Diana Gerson spoke on the need for religious leaders to learn the facts about violence against children, stating that the best protection is the open relationship in communicating with the children.
Rev. Fred Nyabera, Director, End Child Poverty – Arigatou International in his address on “Violence in the Context of Child Poverty and Religious Extremism” noted that, fighting violence against children should go hand-in-hand with fighting poverty. “Poverty does not only exacerbate violence, but violence can also perpetuate poverty” he said. He concluded by making a call to action, “This week, as the world commemorates the Universal Children’s Day and Day of Prayer and Action, we remind ourselves that the impact of poverty on children is often irreversible. This should underline the urgency and focus required to end child poverty, as we relentlessly work towards ending all violence against children.”