AMERICA/PANAMA - Interreligious forum: protecting children from violence and exploitation

Wednesday, 10 May 2017


Panama (Agenzia Fides) - The V Forum of the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC) was inaugurated yesterday, May 9, by Panamanian Bishop Julio Murray. About 430 leaders of the world's leading religions and 60 children from about 70 countries, along with representatives of international organizations, gathered in Panama City to study the actions to be taken to eliminate any kind of violence against childhood. The Forum's goal, organized by the NGO Arigatou International, is to build a better world for children and to eradicate the various forms of violence perpetrated against them, reads the note sent to Agenzia Fides.
"Protect Children from violent extremism, gang violence and organized crime; nurture spirituality and end sexual exploitation and abuse of children", are the cornerstones of this encounter, says the message sent by the President of Arigatou, Reverend Keishi Miyamoto. Chilean Catholic priest Fr. Sidney Fones, in charge of the Forum's Organizing Committee, said that "we need to understand that all people have a role to play in ensuring that peace prevails and that children are safe". "Our hope is that the ideas and results of this meeting will generate practical and fruitful actions for the protection of children", he added.
Prior to the main meeting, 60 children and young people from 13 countries took part in a "pre-forum" in which they prepared their recommendations to be presented during the interreligious convention. At the end of the event, on May 11, participants will sign a statement with which they commit themselves to working together to build a world free from childhood violence. The religious meeting in the past was held in Tokyo, Geneva, Hiroshima and Dar es-Salam. The GNRC, founded in 2000, includes members of the great religions in the world, such as Judaism, Islam, Christianity and Buddhism, that carry out regional and local programs with a view to improving the lives of children in Latin America, Africa , Europe, South Asia, the Caribbean and the Middle East. (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 10/5/2017)