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A world war against children

25/10/2004: Italy

On the 18th October, children from a multiethnic school in Rome came to the large hall at Montecitorio (the seat of the Italian Parliament) to welcome the 200 women parliamentary representatives from 107 different countries. They welcomed the women with these words: “We remind you that whoever kills us, kills the future”. And the President of the Italian Republic turned to the parliamentarians and uttered a sentence that has become for us Marists a refrain: “The little ones only ask to be loved”.
It was a beautiful initiative to call together a “World Conference of Women Parliamentarians for the Protection of Children and Adolescents.”
It is a pity that the poetry of the meeting had to give way to the hard reality of numbers. The data from UNICEF resonated throughout the hall and it seemed that this was an account of a real world war that adults had declared on children throughout these years.
547 children die every day in war: 1 every 2½ minutes;
10,000 children are killed every year by mines; 27 a day;
5,000,000 children have been wounded or crippled;
20,000,000 children have been fugitives during these last years;
300,000 children, less than 15 years of age, are soldiers in active service today.
Compared to the figures of the budgets of industries and of States, these figures seem small. But we need to remember and state clearly: these are not figures, they are human beings who constitute the future of humanity.
Marcellin Champagnat would add that Jesus has not hesitated to offer his life in order to save them.

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