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Human Rights

Back to listJan 26, 2014

Child Rights Campaign Launched by Soka Gakkai Women's Peace Committee

pledgeMayumi Ushijima speaks about education for children with special needs

In January, the Soka Gakkai Women's Peace Committee launched a campaign titled "Creating the Culture of Peace Together With Children," to raise awareness of children's rights and to commemorate the upcoming 25th anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) by the UN General Assembly on November 20, 1989.

On January 26, the first event, a forum attended by some 230 people, was held at Soka International Women's Center in Shinjuku, Tokyo. The forum featured the screening of a new film titled "Creating the Future Together With Children" created by the Women's Peace Committee. The results of a survey carried out by the committee among some 1,600 junior high and high school students on their attitudes to school, parents, bullying and violence were also shared. 

Presenting current issues in the field of child rights today, the film includes excerpts from Malala Yousafzai's July 12, 2013, speech at the UN Headquarters in New York, an interview with UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Japan Agnes Chan and comments by former UN Under-Secretary-General and High Representative Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury.

panel discussionViewing the exhibition

At the forum, four Soka Gakkai members shared how their Buddhist practice has inspired them to make efforts toward building bonds of trust and friendship, thereby contributing to building a culture of peace within their community.

Speakers included Yuriko Sumitani, who shared her struggles to raise four children after she was widowed and her efforts to launch a story-reading campaign at the local elementary school, and Mayumi Ushijima. Ms. Ushijima spoke on how she fought to improve access to educational and support services for her son with Down syndrome and others like him. 

Women's Peace Culture Center Chief Akemi Tsukiji also spoke on the value-creating pedagogy of Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, first president of the Soka Gakkai. Mr. Makiguchi posited that education is about the happiness of the children, and a means by which they can open their minds and interact creatively with their environment. 

The forum was accompanied by an exhibition titled "Children and the Culture of Peace" created by the Women's Peace Committee. Further forums on child rights will be held throughout Japan as part of this campaign, which will run until November 2015. 

[Adapted from a report from SGI Office of Public Information (OPI) and an article in the January 28, 2014, issue of Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photos courtesy of SGI-OPI]