Prayer and Action to End Violence Against Children
Children are the most precious treasure humanity has; they are the bearers of the future and the inheritors of the Earth. Yet far too many of our children are victims of all forms of violence and struggle for their very survival in deplorable conditions in many parts of the world. As religious people, it is our moral responsibility to protect all children so that they can fulfill their whole human potential with dignity. This means protecting their right to physical, mental and spiritual development.
- Rev. Keishi Miyamoto
President, Arigatou International
Arigatou International’s Prayer and Action for Children initiative was launched in 2008 to bring together other like-minded organizations with the goal of promoting and protecting their rights and preventing all forms of violence against children.
Guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Panama Declaration, Prayer and Action for Children continues to be very active in the growing global movement to end violence against children in its many forms. Areas of great concern include: child marriage; harmful and violent discipline of children; child labor; the trafficking and abuse of children; children in armed conflict; online sexual abuse of children; online bullying of children; child poverty; and the lack of universal birth registration. Together with the other global initiatives of Arigatou International, Prayer and Action for Children strives to contribute to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Over the years, through the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC), Arigatou International has supported a range of actions led by GNRC volunteer members in celebration of the World Day of Prayer and Action for Children.
To achieve its mission to end violence against children, Prayer and Action for Children collaborates with United Nations’ organizations and offices; non-governmental organizations and faith-based organizations; faith leaders and faith communities; civil society organizations; and other child-focused organizations.
With the aim to end all violence against all children, Prayer and Action for Children promotes interfaith action and advocacy.
Prayer and Action for Children convenes diverse groups of faith leaders and faith communities, and helps build capacity, multifaith exchanges and collaboration with other child-focused organizations at the national and grassroots levels. While the World Day serves as a catalyst for action, Prayer and Action for Children joins GNRC members and many other partners throughout the year to raise the status of children’s rights and help end violence against children, including online child sexual exploitation and abuse.
Prayer and Action for Children promotes the meaningful participation of children by consulting with and engaging them, including through inter-generational dialogue, to ensure their voices and opinions are heard.
Resources for Interfaith Advocacy and Collaboration
Most recently, Prayer and Action for Children has been actively involved in the development and publication of the following resources:
Faith and Children’s Rights: A Multi-religious Study on the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
The CRC was developed by Arigatou International and UNICEF in 2019 to mark the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the UN treaty. The Study provides for the first time, perspectives from a diverse range of religious and faith traditions, drawing primarily on seven religions — the Bahá’í Faith, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and the Sikh Faith. It highlights the significant role played by religious communities in advancing the rights and well-being of children over the past 30 years. The Study seeks to identify the common values shared among different religions and the principles of the CRC and promote continued action by faith communities to implement this international treaty.
Advocating for Children’s Rights and Well-Being: An Interfaith Approach
Prayer and Action for Children and the GNRC Secretariat jointly developed this advocacy guide and accompanying toolkit to provide religious leaders with resources to identify and advocate for children’s rights and to help end violence against children.
How Prayer Can Help Build a Better World for Children
Hartford Seminary and Prayer and Action for Children co-hosted a multi-faith panel and prayer service entitled “How Prayer Can Help Build a Better World for Children” to articulate better the meaning of prayer, and how it contributes to action for children. The event inspired further dialogue and consultation with diverse scholars and religious leaders and resulted in the development of this publication in 2018 by Arigatou International – New York.