Abidjan (Agenzia Fides) - "The responsibility of the Church for the protection of minors and vulnerable people in the Ivory Coast" was the focus of the conference-debate organized by ICMA, the Catholic Missionary Institute of Abidjan, held on 18 December. The purpose of this conference, according to Father Paul Zikpi, doctor of moral theology, director of research and publications at ICMA, "is to allow everyone to have a broad understanding of the reality of the abuses that are practiced against minors and vulnerable people, as well as the responsibility that falls on the Church in Ivory Coast and on everyone in terms of civic and Christian duty towards these people who are our brothers and sisters".
Speaking of the Church's responsibility towards the protection of minors and vulnerable people means reaffirming one of the essential dimensions of the Church's mission in the midst of the world: the preferential option for children, the poor and little ones, proclaimed by Christ in his teaching on the beatitudes (cf. Mt 5: 3-12).
Three speakers spoke respectively about: "the situation of ill-treatment and abuse in Ivory Coast and the action of the CPM-PV center of ICMA, (the center for the protection of minors and vulnerable victims of abuse) "; "The usefulness and availability of psychological and spiritual care for actors and victims of abuse"; "Social and ecclesial action for the protection of minors and vulnerable people in Ivory Coast: the experience of the NGO, SOS Violence Sexuelle".
"We realized that the phenomenon of abuse was deeply damaging the lives of our citizens; to remedy this, we privileged the issue of raising awareness so that everyone is aware that abusing a child means destroying not only that child but also destroying the entire society", said Sister Solange Sia, director of the CPM-PV center of ICMA.
Professor Ossei Kouakou, vice president of psychologists of Ivory Coast, director of the NGO "SOS Sexual Violence" indicated that "social and ecclesial action must be the mobilization of all energies to make people understand the importance of 'love of neighbor, solidarity, compassion, not to remain indifferent: the ideal to follow is that we must ensure that there is joy around us". (S.S.) (Agenzia Fides, 21/12/2020)