Code of Conduct

Introduction

Arigatou International is a non-profit organization working towards bringing people from all walks of life together to build a better world for children. Arigatou International is “All for Children,” and draws on universal principles of common good to offer compelling new ways for people of diverse religious and cultural backgrounds to come together to address children’s issues.

Arigatou International develops and sustains unique multi-stakeholder initiatives designed to ensure that all children are treated with dignity and respect, have the opportunity to freely pursue their full human potential and that their rights are respected.

Arigatou International recognises that, as an interfaith and child rights-based organisation, it has a moral and legal responsibility to respect and promote gender equality and ensure the safety and protection of children, especially those with whom we work or are in contact.

Arigatou International exercises and implement a ZERO Tolerance Policy for child abuse committed by anyone including its partners, associates and collaborators.

Scope

This Child Protection Policy and Code of Conduct applies to:

  • All Arigatou International staff and members, including board members, trustees, employees, associates, interns, consultants, volunteers and any other individual who, directly or indirectly, work for and with children.
  • All Arigatou International partners including partners of networks such as The Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC), contractors, donors, trainers, facilitators, service providers and other individuals/organizations with whom Arigatou International collaborates, provides support and/or has established a formal partnership.
  • All Arigatou International guests including researchers, experts, religious leaders, journalists, and others in sporadic or regular contact with children involved in Arigatou International activities and programs for different reasons.

Purpose and Objectives 

To establish a series of principles and guidelines to be adhered to and respected by all those who in Arigatou International are working to implement children’s rights.

It is, therefore, mandatory for all individuals mentioned above to read and sign this document before establishing a relationship with Arigatou International. 

Based on international treaties such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and its optional protocols, this policy paper:

  • Provides a framework to offer a gender-sensitive, safe and protective environment to children who participate in activities conducted by Arigatou International, respectful of the religious, cultural and ethnic diversity.
  • Raises awareness of what constitutes child abuse, helps to prevent any potential form of child abuse, and advances a response mechanism that can be applied should child abuse occur.
  • Establishes a code of conduct to ensure that all children, taking part in activities led by Arigatou International, are protected from all forms of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation as expressed by the CRC arts. 19, 32-36 and 38 (Table 1)
  • Requests the signing of a Declaration Form (Appendix 1).

Table 1 - Protection Articles on the Convention on the Rights of The Child  

Article 2 

1. States Parties shall respect and ensure the rights set forth in the present Convention to each child within their jurisdiction without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child's or his or her parent's or legal guardian's race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status. 

2. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that the child is protected against all forms of discrimination or punishment on the basis of the status, activities, expressed opinions, or beliefs of the child's parents, legal guardians, or family members

Article 19

1. States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child. 

2. Such protective measures should, as appropriate, include effective procedures for the establishment of social programmes to provide necessary support for the child and for those who have the care of the child, as well as for other forms of prevention and for identification, reporting, referral, investigation, treatment and follow-up of instances of child maltreatment described heretofore, and, as appropriate, for judicial involvement.

Article 32

1. States Parties recognize the right of the child to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child's education, or to be harmful to the child's health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development. 

2. States Parties shall take legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to ensure the implementation of the present article. To this end, and having regard to the relevant provisions of other international instruments, States Parties shall in particular: 

(a) Provide for a minimum age or minimum ages for admission to employment; 

(b) Provide for appropriate regulation of the hours and conditions of employment; 

(c) Provide for appropriate penalties or other sanctions to ensure the effective enforcement of the present article. 

Article 33

States Parties shall take all appropriate measures, including legislative, administrative, social and educational measures, to protect children from the illicit use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances as defined in the relevant international treaties, and to prevent the use of children in the illicit production and trafficking of such substances. 

Article 34

States Parties undertake to protect the child from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. For these purposes, States Parties shall in particular take all appropriate national, bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent: 

(a) The inducement or coercion of a child to engage in any unlawful sexual activity; 

(b) The exploitative use of children in prostitution or other unlawful sexual practices; 

(c) The exploitative use of children in pornographic performances and materials. 

Article 35

States Parties shall take all appropriate national, bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent the abduction of, the sale of or traffic in children for any purpose or in any form. 

Article 36

States Parties shall protect the child against all other forms of exploitation prejudicial to any aspects of the child's welfare.


Guiding Principles

  • In accordance with Art. 2 of the CRC ( Table 1), Arigatou International is committed to treating all children (irrespective of age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, ethnic origin, religious or political beliefs, socio-economic or cultural background, with any history of conflict with the law or any other aspect of their background or identity), with dignity and respect, and to protect them from any form of violence, abuse and discrimination.
  • It recognises that children may face diverse risks relating to their safety and protection. Therefore, in all actions and programs concerning children, Arigatou International always gives the highest consideration to the best interest of the child, as defined in art. 3 of the CRC. This includes an understanding that we do not cause harm.
  • It also fully adheres to the principle that all children have the right to express their opinions and to have their views taken seriously and given due weight, in accordance with art. 12 of the CRC.
  • Arigatou International commits to the safety and wellbeing of all children. We recognize that we have particular responsibilities towards children who take part in the organisation’s programmes, campaigns and activities. Therefore, Arigatou International has developed a child-friendly version and learning opportunities of this document to inform and help children understand this policy, its safeguarding commitments and the means via which they can report policy breaches.
  • Zero tolerance will be applied to child abuse; that is any form of physical, mental, emotional or sexual mistreatment or lack of care that results in actual or potential harm to the child’s physical, psychological or emotional health, development, dignity or wellbeing in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust or power. Inequality, exclusion, and discrimination will be challenged and will not be tolerated.
  • When working with other organisations, Arigatou International will inform them that a screening process may take place before entering into a partnership or collaboration, in order to check that they have a child safeguarding policy in place that meets minimum standards of protection for children. If not, they will be invited to adopt Arigatou International’s Child Protection Policy and Code of Conduct.

Recruitment Policy

This Child Protection Policy and Code of Conduct will be used by the organisation as guidelines for recruitment and training and included in partnerships agreement and Memorandum of Understanding.

All TORs and Contract Agreements must contain a generic statement about Arigatou International’s commitment to child protection.

All recruitment procedures must be based on a careful consideration of each job description and the level of contact with children. Safer recruitment procedures include pre-selection, selection, and post-selection considerations to ensure that there are as many safeguards as possible in place. SEE APPENDIX XXX

In selecting partners, consideration should be made with respect to the potential partners’ suitability ad track record of working with children – including if they have their own Child Protection Policy and procedures.

Roles and Responsibilities 

Arigatou International exerts a rigorous vigilance with regard to the protection of children and prevention of risks of ill-treatment or of violations of physical or psychological integrity of the children placed under its responsibility. Therefore, it is a moral and legal imperative for anybody working for and with children, to respect and apply this Child Protection Policy and Code of Conduct.

In particular, it is the responsibility of Management to ensure that all Arigatou International staff and associates become acquainted and act accordingly with this Child Protection Policy and Code of Conduct.

Arigatou International headquarters in Tokyo has overall responsibility for overseeing the implementation of the organisation’s Child Protection Policy and Code of Conduct.

Each Arigatou International office (Tokyo, Geneva, Nairobi and New York) is responsible for ensuring the implementation and monitoring of the Child Protection Policy and Code of Conduct and for providing a safe and child-friendly space for all children participating in any of the organisation’s programmes and activities.

All staff shall comply with this Child Protection Policy and Code of Conduct. If concerns of child abuse arise, staff must bring the concern immediately to the attention of their supervisor of the local Child Protection Focal Point and, together, ensure that internal reporting takes place in line with the defined procedures.

While preserving the autonomy of a partner, Arigatou International expects that all partners and collaborators will act with respect to children’s rights and endorse the principles and guidelines described in this Child Protection Policy and Code of Conduct. Therefore, it is expected that all partners and associates, including networks such as the GNRC, either agree to complying with Arigatou International’s Child Protection Policy and Code of Conduct or comply with their own Policy and Code of Conduct, provided that these are consistent with those of Arigatou International.

Risk Management 

The principles and actions that drive Arigatou International’s work are geared to promoting a good practice of child protection by nurturing values of trust, respect and mutual understanding, empathy, and individual and collective responsibility.

In an effort to prevent an act of abuse against children and among children themselves, at each activity conducted by Arigatou International, a safe and protective space must be established. Where concerns arise regarding possible abuse of children, these must be immediately reported to the Child Protection Focal Point or to the designated staff so as to make sure that appropriate action is taken by the Management. See Appendix XXX

As part of the implementation of this Child Protection Policy and Code of Conduct the Management is responsible for allocating resources for the capacity development of all those in Arigatou International, including volunteers and GNRC members, who work for and with children so as to prevent, detect, report and respond to concerns regarding the safety and protection of children.

Policy Breach

In case of a breach or alleged breach of this Child Protection Policy and Code of Conduct, Management will take administrative and legal action against any potential offender.

In case an alleged child abuse situation arises, Arigatou International will conduct an investigation and, if confirmed, may decide to withdraw funding and/or report the situation to the relevant competent authorities in addition to any administrative action deemed appropriate by Senior Management.

Inappropriate Use of Social Media, Images and Messages

It is absolutely forbidden to use any form of social media to access child sexual exploitation sites and any other inappropriate and denigrating site.

All necessary steps will be taken to protect children from the misuse of their name, images, messages and stories in publications, interaction with the media and internet.

When taking pictures or videos of children and young people associated with Arigatou International and its initiatives, always apply the Arigatou International Media guidelines ( APPENDIX xxx), asking permission from their legal guardian, and informing them and the child of the purposes and intended use.

  • Make sure that the images are respectful and do not impact negatively on their dignity and privacy.
  • Ensure that the use of the images does not put the child at risk of being identified or located.
  • Pay special attention to children in situation of vulnerability.
  • Never upload the images of children to private social media.
  • In case of doubt, contact any of the Arigatou International offices for guidance.

Code of Conduct

This Code of Conduct applies to all those working with and for Arigatou International. This includes: members of the board, advisory groups, committees and/or taskforces, directors and staff, volunteers, interns, consultants, trainers and facilitators. It is expected that this Code of Conduct will also be respected by contractors, associates, networks and partner organisations with whom Arigatou International collaborates, coordinates, provides support and/or has established a formal partnership.

Failure to comply with this Code of Conduct and Arigatou International’s Child Protection Policy will be considered as serious misconduct and administrative and legal action will be taken accordingly.

I must  ALWAYS:

  • Respect and apply Arigatou International’s Child Protection Policy, making sure that activities are carried out in a safe, gender-sensitive and protective environment for children.
  • Be respectful of all children and children’s rights, regardless of age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, ethnic origin, religious or political beliefs, socio-economic or cultural background, with any history of conflict with the law or any other aspect of their background or identity.
  • Develop a trusting environment with the children, their families, communities, Arigatou International staff and volunteers, so that concerns may be shared and discussed.
  • Ensure that there is a sense of accountability with other adults so that poor practices or potentially abusive behaviours are not ignored and unchallenged.
  • Be attentive to recognise situations that present risks to children and manage them effectively.
  • Refrain from inappropriate physical contact with children.
  • Ensure that children’s personal information, including contact details concerning children and their families, remains confidential.

I commit to NEVER:

  • Develop physical/sexual relationships with children.
  • Enter in a relationship with children which could in any way be seen or considered as exploitative or abusive.
  • Act in ways that may be abusive or may place children at risk of abuse.
  • Spend excessive time alone with a child away from other people.
  • Use language, pose questions, make suggestions or offer advice which is inappropriate, offensive or abusive.
  • Use any form of physical punishment, including hitting, physical assault or physical abuse.
  • Permit, or participate in illegal, unsafe and abusive acts against children.
  • Act in ways meant to shame, humiliate, belittle or degrade children, or otherwise commit any form of emotional abuse.
  • Use any computers, mobile phones, video and digital cameras or other electronic devices to exploit, harass, bully children, or access, view, create, download, or distribute abusive images of children.
  • Discriminate against, show differential treatment, or favour particular children to the exclusion of others, on the basis of age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, ethnic origin, religious or political beliefs, socio-economic or cultural background, with any history of conflict with the law or any other aspect of their background or identity.

Note: The above list of Do’s and Dont’s is not an exhaustive list. Staff and Associates should consider all related actions and behaviours which may compromise the rights and safeguarding of children.

Declaration Form

I, the undersigned, hereby, declare that I have received and taken due note of Arigatou International’s Child Protection Policy and Code of Conduct and certify that:

  1. I have not in the past been subject to any sentence for individual behaviour incompatible with the responsibility of caring for or overseeing children or minors, and have never been subject to any administrative measure or investigation for criminal acts of paedophilia or breach of conduct jeopardizing the physical integrity or involving the ill-treatment of children placed under my responsibility.
  1. I understand my roles and responsibilities to prevent harm and keep children safe and protected.
  1. I will inform the Child Protection Focal Point or Arigatou International Staff of any behaviour or suspicion of sexual exploitation, inappropriate attitude or ill-treatment of children as well as any information on such acts or behaviour that may be brought to my attention, in accordance with applicable and defined procedures.
  1. I have been informed of the rigorous vigilance of Arigatou International with regard to the protection of children and prevention of risks of ill-treatment or of violations of the physical or psychological integrity of the children placed under my responsibility.
  1. I have been informed that in the event of consistent evidence and known incidents, which are contradictory to the protection of the children participating in any activities led by Arigatou International, the organisation shall take appropriate administrative and legal action, without limit of time or place.
  1. I have been informed that in the event of termination of contract/agreement on the grounds of violation of the physical and/or psychological integrity of children, the organisation shall reserve the right to inform other institutions which may apply for my professional references.
  1. I know how to report

I understand that I am required to adhere to the principles of Arigatou International’s Child Protection Policy and Code of Conduct both on duty and outside work.

 

* Required fields




Glossary of Key Terms

  • Abuser, Offender, Perpetrator: these are words used to describe the individual who has allegedly committed or has been convicted of committing a crime or offense against a child.
  • Child: in keeping with main international legal instruments, the definition contained in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), and with international practice, every person under 18 years old.
  • Child Protection: policies, measures, standards and mechanisms to prevent and respond to all forms of violence against children, including psychological violence, injury, sexual abuse, neglect and exploitation.
  • Child Abuse: any form of physical, mental, emotional or sexual mistreatment or lack of care that results in actual or potential harm to the child’s physical, psychological or emotional health, development, dignity or wellbeing in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust or power.
  • Child Sexual Abuse: actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, including inappropriate touching, by force, or under unequal or coercive conditions. Sexual abuse includes rape, incest, child sexual molestation, and all forms of sexual activity involving children, including online-facilitated child sexual abuse or exploitation material.
  • Child Sexual Exploitation: the involvement of a child in a sexual activity in exchange for something (gain or benefit, or the promise of such) from a third party, the perpetrator, or by the child themselves. Any abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust for sexual purposes; this includes profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another.
  • Child Protection Focal Point: provides a point of contact and advice to support and assist all Arigatou International Initiatives in the implementation of the Child Protection Policy. This role is assigned to someone with child protection knowledge and when concerns about child protection arise, this person is the focal point to report and address it.
  • Disclosure: the statement the child makes to another person, which describes or reveals abuse.
  • Managers: are the Directors of Arigatou International Offices in Geneva, Nairobi and New York.
  • Senior Management: are the Secretary General and President of Arigatou International