South South News: Panel discussion on engaging faith-based organizations to “Stop Violence Against Children” held at UN Headquarters

Panel discussion on engaging faith-based organizations- Marta Santos Pais

NEW YORK- The Permanent Representative of Chile to the UN, H.E. Mr. Octavio Errazuriz, opened this lunch time programme in Conference Room 2. Also participating were Ms. Marta Santos Pais, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children; Dr. Susan Bissell, Associate Director, Child Protection Section, Propgramme Division, UNICEF; Mr. Kul Chandra Gautam, Convening Chair, World Day of Prayer and Action for Children, and Ms. Jaqueline Ogega, Director, Women's Program, Religions for Peace.

Ambassador Errazuriz said that the Convention on the Rights of the Child protected the future of mankind, and that Chile was a party to the Convention and its two Optional Protocols. It takes an entire society, starting with the essential unit of the family, to end violence against children. Education must be a permanent element of any effort to end this scourge.

Kul Chandra Gautam said that faith traditions need to pray about this issue, but then, there is an urgency to move from prayer to action.

Susan Bissell, Ph.D., Chief of UNICEF's Child Protection Section and Associate Director for the Programme Division at UNICEF Headquarters, said that this campaign is for three years. Simple procedures such as birth registry needs to be given more importance. Uganda is one country using cell phones to assist in registering births, and UNICEF works on issues of tracing during natural disasters.

Ms. Marta Santos Pais affirmed that we need to make every day a November 20. She invited everyone to be a spokesperson on this important issue. 

Ms. Jacqueline Ogega said that her organization, Religions for Peace, had worked in a number of areas regarding children, including the provision of assistance to those with HIV/AIDS, and delivery of psychosocial community-based care to children and orphans.

This campaign ended with an engaging video that used the voice of a child describing assistance to children who have been the victims of violence and who may also be orphans. At the end of the narration, the audience realizes that the child has actually been reciting a prayer rather than describing what she has just seen.

 This ongoing campaign could also be entitled "Dignity Restored: Faith Traditions at Their Best".

South-South News article