Message on the Establishment of the Interfaith Council on Ethics Education for Children 2004
Adolfo Pérez Esquivel
Presidente, Servicio Paz y Justicia
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
Buenos Aires, May 8th, 2004
Interfaith Council on Ethics Education for Children Second Forum of the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC)
Receive fraternal greetings of Peace and Well-being.
In a world in crisis, in upheaval because of serious conflicts, wars, hunger and poverty affecting millions of human beings, victims of social and structural violence; it is very important to discover the signs of Hope in those who work and struggle to reestablish the balance and harmony with themselves; with others and with our community and the universe, a Balance which allows building and reaching Peace; not as a speech, not as the absence of conflict, but as the dynamic of life in human relations; in cultural, generational, educational and religious diversity among peoples.
We must assume the challenges that our time poses in a world that is increasingly globalized and mercantilist every day, which tries to impose the “only thought”, that which tries to determine that there’s no way out; where the human being becomes an object and not a subject; where peoples do not exist, only markets; where ethical and spiritual values are marginalized. This global crisis is mostly ethical. However, the unyielding strength of individuals and peoples based on Love, Freedom and Justice, are the base which allow us to offer children the amazing value of Life over Violence and Injustice. We must give an ethical response against the “only thought” of giving up and “save yourselves”.
We need to join wills, efforts and firm actions, to build new paths and alternatives together with peoples, with critical consciousness and values that are a key part of living together and of the respect all individuals and peoples deserve. The efforts that are coming together among those who struggle for Peace and understanding between peoples, are examples of the search to strengthen “one’s own thought”, identity, memory, the social and spiritual values of their peoples. They know very well that education is the road to freedom and collective awareness.
Adults still have a great debt with the children of the world. We have achieved the declaration of the Convention on the Rights of Children, but not its exercise. Ironically, poor children and youths really become present when they’re associated with poverty and delinquency and thus, are no longer seen as the “future of humanity” and become the victims of the crime industry. That children and youths be, is a right that must be conquered. As long as they are, they will be subject to rights and public policies.
I can’t help mentioning the report by the FAO, which points out that 35 thousand children die because of hunger everyday in the world; they are condemned to death even before they’re born. Meanwhile and simultaneously, the ‘powers that be’ invest in weapons and strengthen the military industrial complex. Millions of dollars that should be invested in life are put into death. That attitude is an offense to God and humanity.
It’s the great hypocrisy of those who hold no consistency between what they say and what they do.
Humanity must protect and love children, give them spaces for their complete development into people; generate awareness in men and women in regards to Freedom. Rights and Freedom to be. Without Freedom it’s impossible to Love; which is the most precious gift God has given to humanity. Each birth is a blessing from God; it is a possibility that God gives us to transform ourselves, humanity, as a whole. The children of all our peoples deserve us not giving up our everyday efforts for a truer, fairer and more beautiful world.
This Global Network and the birth of the Interfaith Council on Ethics Education for Children are faced with a huge challenge.
I want to communicate to you my most sincere vows, and I join in your prayers and in the inner silence of the spirit, praying to God, in all his Names, to guide us and strengthen the mission of giving children Hope and Peace.
Adolfo Pérez Esquivel