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Context

UNICEF Egypt Religious Leaders Initiative: Minister and religious leaders
© UNICEF/Egypt 2016/ Dakhakhny
His Eminence, Grand Imam and Shaykh of Al-Azhar, Prof. Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Al-Tayib (R), His Holiness, Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the Holy See of Saint Mark (L), and Minister of Social Solidarity, H.E. Ghada Waly at the launch.

ENDING VIOLENCE AGAINST CHILDREN: A CHILD RIGHT AND RELIGIOUS COMMITMENT

‘People of faith understand that children are a gift from God – the Highest, the Almighty. God trusts parents, families and the wider society with the responsibility to care for and protect and to raise them in a climate of respect for themselves and others…In today’s increasingly violent and dangerous world, one of the most important duties of parents is to protect their children from harm and all forms of violence’; joint statement by His Eminence Grand Imam and Shaykh of Al-Azhar, Prof. Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Al-Tayib, and His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the Holy See of Saint Mark*

In today’s world, families are confronted with different forms of violence that can harm children’s physical, intellectual and moral development. The 2014 Egypt Demographic and Health Survey showed that 93 per cent of children in Egypt are exposed to violent disciplinary practices, and that 78 per cent of children are exposed to some form of physical punishment. 91 per cent of children aged 1 – 14 experienced psychological aggression when being disciplined by family members.

Since the 1980s, UNICEF has been active in engaging with religious leaders of different faiths on violence issues and children rights in general. Echoing the core values of most religions, the Convention on the Rights of the Child that UNICEF promotes, emphasizes the principle that every child is born with inherent rights as a human being **.

 

UNICEF Egypt Religious Leaders Initiative with Bruno Maes, UNICEF Country representative
© UNICEF/Egypt 2016/ Dakhakhny
His Excellency, Prof Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa, Minister of Endowment and Mr. Bruno Maes, UNICEF Representative in Egypt at the launch.

Islam and Christianity stress the importance of protecting children from all forms of violence. The Muslim and Christian faiths place particular importance on the role of the family in raising children and protecting them from harm and violence. In this context, Al-Azhar University and the Coptic Church of Egypt have joined together with UNICEF to develop three publications to reflect the position of the two great religions on multiple aspects of violence against children. On 9 May 2016, The Grand Sheikh of Al Azhar, Professor Ahmed Al-Tayeb and His Holiness the Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of Holy See of Saint Mark in collaboration with the Egyptian Ministry of Endowment and UNICEF released the three publications which detail the Islamic and Christian religious scholars’ positions on protecting children from violence. The documents are entitled:
1. The Islamic Perspective on Protecting Children from Violence and Harmful Practices
2. The Christian Perspective on Protecting Children from Violence and Harmful Practices
3. Peace, Love, Tolerance. Key messages from Islam and Christianity on Protecting Children from Violence and Harmful Practices.


The launch event was under the theme of “Together We Protect Children from Violence”.

* Peace Love and Tolerance – Key messages from Islam and Christianity on protecting children from violence and harmful practices – 2016, International Islamic Centre of Population Studies and Research at Al-Azhar University, Coptic Orthodox Church, and UNICEF Egypt

** From Commitment To Action: What Religious Communities Can Do To Eliminate Violence Against Children, UNICEF HQ November 2010


 

 

 
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