Held in Rome on October 16th to 19th, 2018, the Faith Action for Children on the Move: Global Partners Forum brought together a diverse group of faith-based organisations to reflect on, and commit to responsibilities and contributions to ending violence against children on the move. The 14 organizing partners included PaRD members ACT Alliance, Arigatou International, Islamic Relief, the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities (JLI), the Salvation Army, World Council of Churches, and World Vision alongside ADRA, the Anglican Alliance, the Mennonite World Conference, Micah Global, the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, and the World Evangelical Alliance. The partners gave a joint statement on the rationale and intention of this joint initiative ahead of the forum.
As people of faith, we are in a unique position to address the rights of children on the move.
From the organizing partners' joint statement
With this plan, the organising partners acknowledge that faith-based organizations and religious leaders have not always acted in the best interest of children, including children on the move. Therefore, they share the commitment to:
- Ensuring that their organizations establish the strongest safeguards to prevent, detect, address and speak out on instances of violence against children by their own leaders, members, staff, and anyone else;
- Ensuring that organizations partnering to protect children on the move will foster respect for each other, promote freedom of religion and expression for all, and to provide access to support to children on the move in their own religious tradition;
- Fostering a spirituality that helps children engage with themselves, others, nature and what they call God, Divine Presence or ultimate reality. A spirituality that strengthens children’s own religious beliefs and worldviews, enhancing their resilience, their sense of purpose and belonging to their communities;
- Enabling children to become active partners in the implementation of the Action Plan;
- Working within and across their own organizations and networks towards greater collaboration, action, generation of evidence, and advocacy in the areas outlined below;
- Creating safe spaces for children within their own religious communities to share their views and be heard.
The Action Plan is shared widely to plan specific programmatic and advocacy activities to strengthen faith action for the care and protection of children on the move. It details the way forward in four areas:
- Providing spiritual support to children, families and caregivers as a source of healing and resilience
- Strengthening the continuum of care for child protection
- Building peaceful societies and opposing xenophobia, racism and discrimination
- Working Together
The organizing partners agreed in section 4 to review progress on their commitments within one year of publication of the Action Plan.
Aside from the Action Plan, partners of the forum in cooperation with other organisations have published a wide range of supporting documents, providing a wealth of knowledge on the issue. Please find a selection to the right of this article.