Who Celebrates the World Day?



Stats: 1 City, 300 Attendees, 100 Adults, 200 Children, 150 Males, 150 Females

What Forms Did the Observations Take?
O (C,P,O,B,Ba,J,H,Other)  |  8 Traditions

What Form Was the Take Action?
Candle Vigil

The inaugural event in Brasilia started with a vigil in the evening of November 16 just outside a detention center for adolescents. Religious leaders from different parts of Brazil and persons working for children in conflict with the law, gathered with candlelight to pray and sing. The theme of “Adolescents in Detention Centers – Respect and Dignity” was chosen for DPAC-2009 in Brazil, due to the fact that these children are the most victimized by poverty.

On the 17th, about 300 persons attended the event, including children, political leaders from the three branches of the State, and religious leaders representing different faiths that are present in Brazil. The Convention had much political attention in the agenda. The inter-religious prayer used symbols, music, candles, and litanies for children. The cultural event was performed by the children. To close the event, the religious leaders offered prayers, and their faith perspectives and practices regarding children.

The National Senate hosted the Day of Prayer and Action in the same site where the Convention on the Rights of the Child was ratified by Brazil. The Convention on its 20th anniversary was central to the celebration. The need for stronger commitments for its implementation was pointed out in several interventions. Three senators spoke about the different challenges related with the Convention’s implementation. The national representatives of UNICEF and UNESCO spoke about the Convention’s achievements as well as its shortcomings. The President of the National Council of Children’s Rights spoke about the weakness regarding the rights of children in detention centers, and called for more concerted efforts on this area. The representative of the National Council of Justice signed a letter of commitment to promote, disseminate and implement the Convention principles; this document was also signed by religious leaders as witnesses.

Participants were moved by the intervention of Reverend Keishi Miyamoto processed through the big screen.

Nobel Prize winner Adolfo Perez Esquivel, speaking on poverty addressed about the need to overcome social inequalities. He pointed out that the principle victims of poverty are children and women, and called for a re-thinking of development from the concrete needs of people.

Learning to Live Together in Portuguese was launched in a CD version. Mercedes Roman, GNRC-LAC Coordinator, spoke about the Ethics Education program and DPAC as follow up initiatives to the statement of Reverend Takeyasu Miyamoto to the UN Special Session. She reported on the Ethics Education implementation in LAC and presented DPAC as a call to new alliances for the Convention implementation.

Children from local schools and a program for street children took part in the cultural event. The plight of children and their rights were dramatized in two plays. Dance and music by a percussion band of streets children were presented, with traditional Brazilian drumming, called “batucadas.”

The inter-religious prayer was carefully prepared by the recognized liturgist, Pastor Luis Carlos Ramos (Methodist). It was a beautiful, emotional, very creative prayer, full of symbolism, which included children with happy faces arriving and leaving in silence while playing with toys. Participants were invited to sing songs that called to keep the faith in a positive utopia, to realize that changes depend on us, and to pray for freedom, bread, love, happiness and justice for all. The inter-religious prayer ended with turning off the electric lights and lighting candles.

The event concluded with a short intervention from religious leaders, each one representing a different faith tradition, community, or spirituality present in Brazil. Some just prayed. Others presented inspirational remarks on children. Others spoke about their own traditions perspectives on children. It was a moment of inspiration and collective wisdom.

16 religious traditions were present, as follows:

  • Afro Brazilian Spirituality
  • Anglican Episcopal Church
  • Baha’i Community
  • Baptist Church
  • Community Zen Buddhist
  • Evangelical Congregational Church
  • Hara Krishna, Hindu Tradition
  • Indigenous Spirituality
  • Jewish Community
  • Lutheran Church
  • Methodist Church
  • Monastery Zen Buddhist
  • Presbyterian Independent Church
  • Presbyterian United Church
  • Risho Kosei Kai, Buddhist
  • Roman Catholic Church
  • Syrian Orthodox Church

The following religious institutions were represented:

  • World Council of Churches (WCC)
  • Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM)
  • Latin American Council of Churches (CLAI)
  • The National Council of Christians Churches of Brazil (CONIC)

An event of high political significance needed to be held in Brasilia, the Federal Capital of Brazil, and since the members of the GNRC Committee live in different parts of the country, there was a need to form an ad-hoc committee in Brasilia, composed of representatives of the Latin American Council of Churches (CLAI), the National Council of Christian Churches of Brazil (CONIC), the Marist community, the Baha’i Community, and Pastoral da Criança. The event was sponsored by Senator Flavio Arns.

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