NEW YORK, 18 May 2010 - UNICEF and Religions for Peace today released From Commitment to Action: What Religious Communities can do to Eliminate Violence against Children. The joint guide, produced with input from religious actors and child protection specialists, aims to help religious communities harness their spiritual, moral and social strengths to prevent, respond to and eliminate violence against children.
The scale and extent of the problem, highlighted in the 2006 United Nations Secretary-General’s Study on Violence against Children, serve as a compelling and urgent call to religious communities to take action to eliminate all forms of violence against children. Increasingly, religious leaders are speaking out as advocates for children and drawing on the teachings of their respective faiths to promote respect for children and their rights. As religious communities reflect on and critically examine their own beliefs, traditions and actions, they are also challenging those who use religion to justify, condone or ignore violence against children.
From Commitment to Action outlines practical ways that religious leaders, theologians, educators, community mobilizers and others can respond to violence directed toward children that are in keeping with the recommendations of the Violence Study. It also includes concrete suggestions for how these actors can work effectively with governments, civil society and United Nations agencies.
Religious communities are uniquely positioned to prevent and respond to violence against children. With their extraordinary moral authority, religious leaders can influence thinking, foster dialogue and set priorities for members of their communities.
Since almost 5 billion people belong to religious communities, their potential for action is great. From the smallest village to the largest city, and from districts and provinces to national and international levels, religious communities offer large networks for the care and protection of children and the safeguarding of their rights.
The guide aims to channel the collective energies of religious communities to advance a shared vision of a future free of violence against children. Arabic, French, and Spanish versions of the guide will be available within the coming months.
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org
About Religions for Peace
Religions for Peace—the world’s largest and most representative multi-religious coalition—advances common action among the world’s religious communities for peace. Religions for Peace works to transform violent conflict, advance human development, promote just and harmonious societies, and protect the earth. The global Religions for Peace network comprises a World Council of senior religious leaders from all regions of the world; six regional inter-religious bodies and more than seventy national ones; and the Global Women of Faith Network and Global Youth Network.