Santo Domingo (Fides Service) - National Day for Children’s Rights in the Dominican Republic 29 September is celebrated to confirm commitments taken in the World Summit for Children, the Convention on Children’s Rights and law its own national law 136-03 which protects the rights of children. For the occasion a calendar of activities is drafted with the help of various institutions which work for children.
This year the theme of the day is “Childhood has a right to a world without arms”. The choice of slogan, according to Fr Luis Rosario Peña, national Youth Pastoral Coordinator, stems from the fact that “recently and ever more frequently children are killed or wounded by ‘stray bullets’. What is more people in this country tend to purchase arms encouraged because it is so easy. Dominican Youth Pastoral has launched a campaign to promote disarmament of civilians and to education people to respect for human life”. Young people have darted a “Declaration” expressing their deep concern because with regard to possession of a licence for arms the country is walking in a blind alley and they call on a law for general disarmament.
Events planned for the Day include a meal for Street Children at a Home in Santo Domingo. A solemn mid-morning Mass at Las Mercedes Shrine in Santo Domingo with the participation of children and young people from various different institutions and schools gathered together around the Lord’s Table “to pray for children in the Dominican Republic and everywhere in the world and that God will move hearts to find paths of peace far from arms and violence” said Fr. Luis Rosario. In the afternoon a collection of signatures in favour of civilian disarmament to guarantee children a world without weapons. These signatures will be added to others already collected to help people realise the uselessness of arms and the danger they represent for humanity, children in particular. (RZ) (Agenzia Fides 24/9/2005, righe 28 parole 395)