.- Pope Benedict XVI has sent a telegram to the International Catholic Child Bureau (BICE) to lend his support to a worldwide call for a "new mobilization on behalf of children" initiated by the United Nations in Geneva.
The telegram references the U.N.'s Convention on the Rights of the Child and says, "Twenty years after its ratification, there is an urgent need for it to be implemented to the full." This is especially important, "given the new challenges" of the modern world.
The Convention, ratified two decades ago, sets out the basic human rights of children that must be respected, based on the four core principles of non-discrimination; devotion to the best interests of the child; the right to life, survival and development; and respect for the views of the child.
National governments that have agreed to the obligations of the Convention have committed themselves to upholding its standards and to being held accountable before the international community.
Now, the Pope is calling upon the international community to see that the principles outlined in the Convention are being put into practice.
In his telegram, the Holy Father stresses the necessity of "respecting the inviolable dignity and rights of children, of recognizing the fundamental educational mission of the family" and of "a stable social environment capable of favoring the physical, cultural and moral development of all children."
The Pope continues by calling on Catholic organizations such as BICE "to work generously for a correct application of the Convention, and for the construction of a future of hope, security and happiness for the children of our world."
Founded in 1948, BICE works to promote and protect the rights and dignity of children around the world. It works in a special way to support the most vulnerable children in society, including those at risk or suffering from abuse, exploitation, or violence.