Timor-Leste: Religion and State Commitment to end violence against children
As part of the Day of Prayer and Action for Children, the Bishop of Dili in Timor-Leste along with children and special guests gathered in front of the cathedral to release colourful balloons to signify hope for a better protective environment for children.
Similar events took place around the globe to celebrate the World Day of Prayer and Action for Children, which has a new three-year theme: Stop Violence against Children. The campaign will mobilize faith-based and secular organizations to protect children from all kinds of violence.
On this day Timor-Leste celebrated with more than a hundred children coming together in Dili to celebrate international CRC day together. Church members, government agencies, as well as national and international NGOs from civil society who work for children gathered at the Cathedral church this past Sunday afternoon.
Celebration began with holy mass ceremony that led by Bishop Mgr. Ricardo do Amaral with theme “World Day of Prayer and Action for Children” and celebration continued with singing, dancing and drama presentations by children which highlighted child rights. During the celebration, there were many kinds of banners to show and promote child rights including; preventing violence towards children and the importance of birth registration for every child. Children also had the opportunity to convey their voice about their rights to government officials during the celebration.
NGOs Coalition for Child Right (Koaligasaun ba Direito Labarik - KDL)
During the celebration, 6 NGOs which were composed of Plan Timor-Leste, Forum Komunikasaun Juventude - FCJ, Forum Tau Matan - FTM, Community Development Interest – CDI, Judicial System Monitoring Program – JSMP, Hamahon Direito ba Labarik – HDL and Save the Children – Timor-Leste also delivered their commitment by establishing the “coalition for childrens right” known as Koaligasaun ba Direito Labarik. Susan Smandych, Country Director of Plan Timor-Leste, said in her speech about the coalition that Plan Timor-Leste's with its partners, including the National Child Right Commissioner (NCRC), are committed to the rights of the children. “We not work alone, but work together with government, civil society and relevant institution to give attention to the rights of the children in Timor-Leste."
CRC day (which is celebrated in Timor-Leste every year, by NCRC together with relevant ministries, UN agencies, national and international NGOs) also conducted other activities in Dili this year, including a courtesy visit to youth n prison and to children with disabilities on 17th November 2011. Mini workshops that involved achievements in fulfilling children’s rights by relevant ministries and civil society actors was held on 18th November 2011, with 20th November being the big day for activities for the children.
Prayer and action
One of the most important ways mothers and fathers can help their children is by practicing positive parenting. Parents play a critical role in providing the on-going care and support children need in order to survive and thrive and in guiding their development and behaviour; this can be done without resorting to violent discipline, which not only harms the child but is also ineffective.
Another key step to protect children is birth registration. This simple act establishes their existence under law and provides the foundation for safeguarding many of their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. Unregistered children may face challenges in accessing health care, education and social assistance. They are the first to fall through the cracks in protection systems, and there is a risk that violations of their rights will go unnoticed.
Source: UNICEF; ETAN News
Photo Credit: ETAN News
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