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Meeting of the new FMSI office Cono Sur

11/04/2014: Chile

The quite recent creation of this regional office is an opportunity for sharing and reinforcing what is being done in favour of the rights of the child in the Marist Provinces of Cruz del Sur, Santa María de los Andes and the District of Paraguay. We cover six countries united by history, geography and culture. Together they have a population of 109 million inhabitants, below the United States (313 million), Brazil (198) and Mexico (120). So, if the Americans, Brazilians and Mexicans can feel part of the same nation, why can Cono Sur not feel something similar? We Marists are in a position to take up this challenge and we have a good reason for doing so: to become experts in the defence of the rights of children, boys and girls, and adolescents.

On 3 and 4 March, we gathered in Santiago, ChileAnalía Ruggeri (Argentina), Cecilia Varela (Uruguay), Martín Arteaga and Juan Carlos Pellón (Peru), Ricardo Miño and Gregorio Delgado (Bolivia), and Georg RaczinskiArturo Latorre and Álvaro Sepúlveda (Chile).

We spent a large part of the meeting getting to know each other, learn about the progress we have to make in each country and the challenges facing the region. We put an important effort into finalising our strategic plan which extends to 2016, fixing the time limits and dividing up the responsibilities.

Thanks to the advances in technology, we succeeded in organising two video-conferences: one with Jimena Grignani, of the Province of Brasil Centro Sul (Curitiba), in order to hear about the circles and networks of Latin America where it is possible to act, as Marists, in favour of children’s rights; and one with Br Manel Mendoza, of the FMSI Geneva office in order to get up-to-date information on the mechanisms of the United Nations and to specify the coordinates of our respective countries.

Following that, in order to foster co-ordination and the carrying out of the plan of work, we decided to set up «secretariats» for each country. They will be responsible for maintaining the link with the other members of the Cono Sur office and for carrying out the activities to be undertaken, supporting the animation of the themes connected with the Rights of the Child in the Marist works of their country, publicising FMSI and its role, helping get organised for taking part in the mechanisms of the United Nations and following up the recommendations made by the Committee of the Rights of the Child and/or the Human Rights Council, being attentive to new situations of vulnerability of the rights which may appear in our respective countries and representing FMSI in the children’s rights networks and other authorities which lodge appeals.

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Br. Álvaro Sepúlveda

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