Jakarta (ANTARA) - Minister of Women's Empowerment and Child Protection (PPPA), Bintang Puspayoga, has called on churches to provide child-friendly services and optimize their role as child-friendly public spaces.

"This goal can be realized by improving church services that are oriented towards the best interests of children, without violence, exploitation, and discrimination, while continuing to increase children's participation in church activities," the minister noted in a statement received in Jakarta on Tuesday (June 27).

Puspayoga then urged churches to become places where children can enhance their spirituality, gather and play, as well as participate in positive, innovative, creative, and entertaining activities without neglecting their sense of comfort.

"It is also important to become a friendly place for children with disabilities and other disadvantaged children," she pointed out.

According to Puspayoga, churches have a crucial role in creating a safe environment that can guarantee the fulfillment of children's rights and protection amidst rapid developments in information technology.

The minister also emphasized the churches' role in protecting children from other external factors that may contain negative elements, such as violence, especially sexual violence.

The urgency to become a child-friendly church is in line with the PPPA Ministry's Child-friendly Worship Places (RIRA) Program, launched by Puspayoga in December last year.

By promoting the implementation of the program, the ministry aims to encourage worship places to develop a holistic service system and ensure the fulfillment of children's rights, including protecting children from any form of violence, exploitation, vulnerability, and discrimination.

"We do not have to build a new church to present a child-friendly church," she noted.

Instead, she called for a shift in the paradigm of existing churches to focus more on children's rights by offering positive, innovative, and creative activities that are also integrated with church activities to concurrently enhance children's understanding of their religion.

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Translator: Anita Permata, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Anton Santoso
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