Further discussions on the three sub-themes and the role of faith communities in ending violence against children continued on day three of the GNRC 5th Forum. Underlying factors contributing to physical violence, mental violence and poverty were widely discussed throughout the first session of day three. Participants identified deeply with these factors especially GNRC members who are working to make a better world for children. Instilling positive values in children, peace building, upholding of human rights, empowering child education and conflict resolution were viewed by many in the Forum to have great impact on ending violence against children, and which faith communities should promote.
The commitment and call to action plenary was a chance for GNRC Members to share their Plans of Action and to commit to implementing them as part of their grassroots work. The children also gave their recommendations on ending violence against children. They expressed desire for a world free of fear and torture, a world where a child is seen as hope for the future. The children rooted for education for every child, security and sanitation extended to all children, and a world free of discrimination and corruption.
A special committee, the GNRC 5th Forum Declaration Committee, was established to specifically compile the views and action plans from participants as the way forward on ending violence against children. The commitments were:
- Listen to children with empathy and respect, welcome their wisdom and gifts, and continue to work side-by-side to address violence against them;
- Ensure that our religious places are safe for all children, and especially for the victims of violence and abuse, and vulnerable children such as those with disabilities;
- Increase our personal and institutional commitments to take concrete actions to address the challenges voiced by children at this forum;
- Educate our leaders and communities about the different forms of violence against children and deploy resources to prevent and address them within and beyond our communities; educate children about human sexuality and what they can do to keep themselves safe; work to safeguard children from harmful media content and engage the media in preventing violence against children;
- Partner with global programs such as End Violence and make the most of existing tools for addressing the root causes and drivers of the violence children face, with a special focus on countering violent extremism, gang violence, harm to children by organized crime, and sexual exploitation and abuse;
- Strengthen local communities by offering education in positive parenting and ethical values to help families and children develop empathy, become more resilient, and grow spiritually;
- Identify and challenge patriarchal structures and practices that perpetuate violence against and sexual exploitation especially of girls;
- Embrace internationally agreed strategies and mechanisms to address violence against children, including the Sustainable Development Goals 16.2 on ending abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children; 5.2 and 5.3 on ending violence against women and girls; and 8.7 on ending economic exploitation of children;
- Strengthen cooperation and partnerships across Arigatou International initiatives, the wider religious and spiritual communities and strategic players at local, national, regional and global levels;
- Work to generate greater social and political will for legislation, policies, and increased funding of programs to protect children from violence.