This year marks the Convention’s 30th anniversary. Arigatou International, an NGO, wants to set up a platform for discussion among religious leaders o protect children with the help of religion.
Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Arigatou International met in Lausanne (Switzerland) to discuss ways to modernise the UN Convention on the rights of children by enhancing the role of religions.
"The meeting was aimed at drafting a document on the current conditions of children and the challenges of the modern era, to be presented on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Convention which falls on 20 November,” said Mgr Felix Machado, archbishop of Vasai, India.
Arigatou (thank you in Japanese) International is an NGO devoted to child welfare, bringing together leaders from seven religions: Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Sikh, Bahai, Hinduism.
The annual meeting of the association’s 15-member advisory committee was held on 10-11 May. Bishop Machado was the only Catholic representative.
The association’s purpose is to put representatives of different faiths and cultures on the same level, so that they can work together to build a better world for children.
The NGO is the brainchild of Myochikai, a Japanese Buddhist organisation, founded by the late Takeyasu Miyamoto. His son Keishi Miyamoto now leads it.
"When I worked in the Holy See (1994-1998), the founder paid a visit to the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and expressed a wish to get involved with children and their rights,” said the prelate. “This led to the creation of the organisation that deals with the causes of children and is active all over the world."
"Reviewing the Convention on the Rights of the Child from a multi-religious perspective is the current objective of the committee,” Mgr Machado said. “For this reason, leading children's rights experts have been selected. The main question is what can religious leaders do to protect children’s rights? The starting point is the child’s dignity."
"Children must not suffer because of our ideological differences. Religious leaders must be players in child protection. Let us not be guided by the head, but by the heart. It is an opportunity for us all to do more for children,” the prelate explained.
"Every religion has its own moral approach, but children must enjoy the fundamental dignity they are entitled to. Everyone must agree on this. Let us inspire people to act in support of our children. Families are the place where they are born and grow up. The institution of the family must be strengthened.”