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This is an archived website containing material relating to Dr Rowan Williams’ time as Archbishop of Canterbury, which ended on 31st December 2012

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Archbishop of Canterbury’s Statement for the World Day of Prayer and Action for Children

Tuesday 20th November 2012

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has released a statement for the World Day of Prayer and Action for Children.

The World Day of Action Prayer and Action for Children held every year on 20th November is promoted by a NGO coalition including UNICEF, Religions for Peace and Save the Children.

The Archbishop's full statement is below:

"On this World Day of Prayer and Action for Children we remember the 51 millioninvisible children who do not have birth certificates. Birth registration is a hidden problem, which most people in the UK take for granted, but for those without a birth certificate life can be very hard. Unable to prove their citizenship unregistered children are often denied access to health and education. Nor can they be full and active members of their societies; unable to stand for election, own property, legally marry or drive a car, or obtain a passport.

Churches and other faith groups are well placed within remote and marginalisedcommunities to raise awareness of the importance of birth registration and to collaborate with governments, the UN and other agencies in order to promote innovative community based responses to registration. This is desperately needed in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, where more than 63% of births remain unregistered.

This year’s theme for prayer and action is ‘violence against children’. Last month I was in Papua New Guinea; a country which continues to experience significant levels of violence against children and vulnerable adults. For the estimated 30% of the population who remained unregistered there is limited access to justice. Unregistered children are also significantly more vulnerable to other forms of violence such as trafficking and child labour. 

I urge us all, in churches and other faith communities around the world, to unite in this World Day of Prayer and Action for the recognition, protection and flourishing of all our children."

Further information:

  • In 2011 the World Day of Prayer and Action launched a three year theme of stopping violence against children. This included the 'ABCs of Action and Advocacy for 2011'comprised of three resources: 'A Guide to Non-Violent Discipline and Positive Parenting', 'Universal Birth Registration: Passport to Protection', and 'Ending Child Marriage'.
  • The Anglican Consultative Council has recently passed Resolution 15.05 in support of increased birth registration.

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