Symposium on Healing and Reconciling Wounded Memories: Key Elements in Achieving Holistic Peace

Violence against children has become endemic. Today, one billion children around the world are subjected to different forms of physical and sexual violence. In 2014, 95,000 children between the ages of 15-19 died as a result of violence. ‘This has to be ended’, was the message from the GNRC Secretary General Dr. Mustafa Y. Ali on 6th - 8th December 2016, at a symposium dubbed ‘Healing and Reconciling Wounded Memories: Key Elements in Achieving Holistic Peace’, in Nairobi, Kenya. The three-day event, which was supported by the Norwegian Church Aid (NCA), aimed at understanding and seeking solutions towards reconciliation, conflict resolution and achieving holistic peace in the greater Horn of Africa. About twenty participants, comprising: - religious leaders, professionals, women, community leaders and government officials attended the meeting.

During the symposium, Dr. Ali had an opportunity to give presentations on the following topics: - Reflection on Peace and Reconciliation: An Islamic Perspective, Effects of Conflicts on Children’s Minds, Somalia: Empowering Formerly Radicalized Somali Youth for a Better Future, Rwanda: Empowering the Youth for an Abundant life and Empowering Former Child Soldiers (FCS).

In his presentations, Dr. Ali emphasized the importance of protecting the lives of children to guard our future. He also expounded on the need to end radicalization and violent extremism to achieve peace and harmonious co-existence among its people. Dr. Ali added that community members should be made aware of existing preventive measures against radicalization and violent extremism so as to save children from exploitation.

Dr. Ali shared about the coming GNRC 5th Forum, whose theme will be “Ending Violence Against Children: Faith Communities in Action”. He asked participants to reflect on the challenges children went through in the wake of increased violence, and underlined that all forms of violence against children are preventable.