Prospectus for the Inauguration of the GNRC
(Proposed in May 2000 by the Arigatou Foundation)
As we enter the 21st century, our children, the inheritors of the Earth and the precious treasure of humanity, are living in deplorable conditions all over the world. Countless children find themselves surrounded by harsh circumstances. Some lose their lives to easily preventable diseases or malnutrition, and others are killed in armed conflicts. We simply cannot overlook such clear violations of the rights of the child. We are also painfully aware of the increase in the number of children suffering from such social or psychological problems as loneliness and alienation, triggered by poverty or discrimination.
In recognition of the above circumstances, many international organizations, including UNICEF, other UN agencies, government agencies, and NGOs, are engaging in a broad range of activities to alleviate children’s difficulties. Among these efforts, we witnessed the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child at the United Nations General Assembly in 1989, followed by the World Summit for Children in 1990.
It is imperative that we, the men and women of the world’s religions, face the enormous challenge of children’s issues. Children, the most vulnerable members of society, are being exposed to the peril of death, or, despairing of their future, find themselves in severe pain and distress. We, as religious people, must address children’s issues with compassion and commit ourselves to relief activities in order to protect children’s fundamental human rights and guarantee their future.
The Arigatou Foundation, founded by Myochikai, hereby advocates the establishment of the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC) to provide a venue for individuals or organizations working for the good of children to unite and cooperate with one another with the aim of realizing a world where children can grow up in health and freedom. This advocacy has its origin in the view that the most valuable asset we can create and pass on to future generations is an environment in which all children can grow up safely, filled with confidence, love and joy.
The first step to take for religious people who share the same view of children’s issues and are willing to share responsibility is to come together in a forum to learn from one another regardless of religious, ethnic, or national identity or affiliation. The GNRC will also utilize the latest technology to facilitate communication in order to improve information exchange, cooperation and coordination among its members. It is also envisaged that the GNRC will cooperate with UN agencies, governments, NGOs and other private organizations, so that it may contribute to various ongoing projects.
We believe that the Global Network of Religions for Children will take significant steps toward carrying out a major mission of the people of the world’s religions – to liberate children from a life shackled by fear and violence and ensure their growth in a peaceful environment. We pray that the GNRC will grow to become an ongoing movement that forges a path toward true peace in the 21st century, through its activities in support of the safe and sound development of children, who will shoulder the future of humanity.