Pope highlights children’s rights at general audience

Vatican City, Nov 16 (IANS/AKI) Families and institutions have a duty to ensure children’s welfare, protection and education, Pope Francis told 22,000 pilgrims at his general audience in St Peter’s Square on Wednesday.

Children must never be allowed to fall into “forms of slavery, recruitment into armed groups and mistreatment”, Vatican Radio quoted Francis as saying.

Every child has the right to school education, so that their growth is serene and they can look confidently to the future, he said.

The pontiff’s comments came ahead of the United Nations’ Universal Children’s Day on November 20.

It was his last general audience during the Jubilee Year of Mercy which began on December 8, 2015 and ends on Sunday.

The Jubilee Year of Mercy has brought over 20.4 million pilgrims to Rome, the Vatican estimates.

Catholics around the world have been encouraged to renew their relationship with God and seek forgiveness for their sins, according to a 700-year-old tradition.