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Nearly 1,000 Marist children and youth have their say in a major UN debate

13/06/2018: General House

Over 900 children and youth aged 5 – 17 have so far answered a consultation launched by FMSI in preparation for a major United Nations’ debate that will be held on Sept. 28 in Geneva, Switzerland.

FMSI will attend this year’s annual Day of General Discussion, themed “Protecting and Empowering Children as Human Rights Defenders,” and is gathering feedback until July 1 from Marist children worldwide on the issue.

Over the last few weeks, several workshops took place around the Marist world and so far, responses have arrived from children of 13 countries including Australia, the Philippines, Spain, Portugal, Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Chile, the United States and Madagascar.

These are some of their answers:

  • “I want to change the perception of people that we are only children. I want them to know that we are children capable of expressing our opinion and fighting for our rights. We are more than just toys, games, gadgets, we are what the future holds.” (The Philippines)
  • “As a human rights defender, my role is to raise awareness in promoting child protection, be a witness to love and to take care of all children, especially those who are neglected and those who are voiceless.” (Madagascar)
  • “Who better than children and adolescents to interact and motivate children and adolescents?” (Brazil)
  • “Children who defend human rights must be persistent, courageous and hopeful. They must be people who strive for equality.” (Portugal)

FMSI also received an interview with Pedro Coelho, a student from Colégio Marista de Carcavelos in Cascais, Portugal.

The Marist Young Adult Advisory Committee of the United States province held a gathering to discuss major issues in the US regarding the rights of children.

Young adults can take part in the consultation with an online survey that is available until July 1 in English, Spanish and French.

Helped by UMBRASIL, FMSI will then create a report of 2,500 words summarizing the information gathered in the consultations, which will be presented in Geneva.



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 ConnectMovimiento Mundial por la Infancia de Latinoamérica y El CaribeFOCSIV  (Federazione degli Organismi Cristiani Servizio Internazionale Volontario), Observatorio Niñez y Adolescencia  (ONA), Santiago de Chile.

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