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Marist Children from 16 countries to participate in major UN debate



FMSI at the forefront of children’s rights to develop their civil and political rights

19/04/2018: Switzerland

Marist children from 16 countries are participating in the consultation that will contribute to a major United Nations’ debate on Sept. 28 in Geneva, Switzerland, with the hope of giving children greater rights to choose and have a voice in the field of politics and in civil society.

“It is a good occasion to increase the Institute’s awareness in this integral vision of the rights of children, which includes their civil and political rights,” said Brother Álvaro Sepúlveda, FMSI’s children rights advocate.

This year’s annual debate, called the Day of General Discussion,  is themed “Protecting and Empowering Children as Human Rights Defenders.”

The discussion is being organised by Child Right Connect, the NGO that helped to put in practice the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989, which focuses on three kinds of rights: provision, protection, and participation in the field of political and civil rights.

The two previous UN declarations focus on their rights to provision (health, education, food, etc) and on their rights to being protected (from child labour, negligence, sexual abuse, etc). They are the Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child of 1924 and the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child of 1959. The 1989 Convention also includes the right to participation.

September’s debate will include the input from Marist children of Australia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Nigeria, Spain, Portugal, Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile, United States and Madagascar.

FMSI is now collecting consultations with groups of children from these countries throughout April and May. Consultations can also be made through an online forum that will be up and running in the next few weeks.

In June, FMSI will create a report of 2,500 words summarizing the information gathered in the consultations.

“It’s a good opportunity to respond to the calls of the General Chapter, especially to empower those who do not have a voice and guarantee their rights to participation,” Br Álvaro told the general house communications office on April 10.



FMSI is the foundation created by the Institute to promote and protect the rights of children. FMSI carries on its mission through the activity of advocacy and lobbying and with projects in the countries in which the Marists are present.

FMSI was constituted in 2007 in Italy as a non-profit organization of social usefulness (ONLUS).

From 2011 it has the special consultative status before the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations.

FMSI is member of: Bureau International Catholique de l’Enfance  (BICE), Centre Catholique International de Genève  (CCIG), Child Rights Connect, Movimiento Mundial por la Infancia de Latinoamérica y El Caribe, FOCSIV  (Federazione degli Organismi Cristiani Servizio Internazionale Volontario), Observatorio Niñez y Adolescencia  (ONA), Santiago de Chile.

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