All children in the world have rights.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and Adolescence adopted in 1989 sets out for the first time, in a legally binding instrument, the fundamental rights that must be recognized and guaranteed for all children of the world.



What is advocacy?  From our perspective, it is about promoting change in policies or programs so that they benefit those in society who are traditionally marginalized.  Advocacy is about speaking up, drawing a community’s attention to an important issue, and directing decision makers toward a solution.  It embraces various activities undertaken to gain access to and influence decision-makers on matters of importance to a particular group – in our case – children.  Advocacy is the process of people participating in decision-making processes which affect their lives.

Advocacy for Child Rights

FMSI is an organization in special consultative status with UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) since 2011. This gives us the opportunity to participate in relevant UN conferences, meetings and working groups dealing with child rights. 

FMSI has an office in Geneva, Switzerland, home of the United Nations Human Rights Council,

By sharing the expertise of an international Marist network, FMSI is able to engage in discussions and decisions on standards and international agreements dealing with the human rights of children and young people. 
We offer training programs in child rights, UN mechanisms and UN procedures to encourage our colleagues to become aware of and actively engaged in efforts to help improve the quality of life for children around the world.

Un monitoring mechanisms

At the heart of the United Nations monitoring system are three types of human rights monitoring mechanisms. FMSI uses these mechanisms as opportunities to advocate for the rights of children in countries where there is a Marist presence. 

One of these monitoring mechanisms is the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), established in 2006. The UPR is a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all 193 UN Member States once every four years. It is a State-driven process, under the auspices of the Human Rights Council, which provides the opportunity for each State to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to fulfill their human rights obligations. It is a cooperative process which reviews the human rights records of every country. Currently, no other universal mechanism of this kind exists.
Another mechanism is that of specific committees formally established to monitor international human rights treaties. They are called “treaty bodies“. There are ten treaty bodies that monitor each of the ten core treaties (i.e. conventions) of the UN.  There is a treaty body for the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The third monitoring mechanism is an independent system of fact-finding outside the treaty framework, which is referred to as “Special Procedures“.  Independent experts are appointed by the UN and report in their capacity as ‘special rapporteurs’ on their particular charter, which can be to oversee the implementation of human rights in a particular country or on a thematic issue. FMSI has collaborated with the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence against Children.
FMSI welcomes the opportunity to work with people in their own country to prepare submissions to the UN Human Rights monitoring mechanisms, especially the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC Treaty Body). 
FMSI has presented reports on the situation of human rights in 37 countries.
Contact for more information on how to become involved.


Networking and Coalition Building

Realizing that many voices’ speaking as one improves the likelihood of effecting positive change in society and of being heard by those who can influence change, FMSI works with other NGOs, networks, coalitions and groups which share our objectives and values.
SED (Solidarity, Education and Development) and other Marist inspired NGOs, Franciscans International (FI), the International Catholic Child Bureau (BICE), Edmund Rice International (ERI), the Global Movement for Children in Latin America and the Caribbean (MMI LAC), and Inter-American Children’s Institute (IIN) among the organizations FMSI calls partners.

These partnerships aim to:

  • develop networks in a mutual way at the international, national and grassroots level;
  • establish a suitable forum or mechanism which allows us to sit as equals to discuss common concerns, programs and decisions for the benefit of achieving our common goals;
  • share information on UN mechanisms and systems, contacts, ideas and resources.


FMSI has always been committed to raising the level of awareness of human rights and more specifically the rights of the child. Its objective is stirring consciousness and stimulating awareness regarding the issues affecting all adults and children. Several types of formation sessions and workshops were aimed at reaching the largest possible audience. The formation content refers to international tools for the protection of human rights and the obligations these represent for Nations. FMSI has managed to have children hold a privileged position in all formation actions by focusing on their rights and especially on those with a higher risk of being violated. It relied on children’s rights to:

  • Influence and raise the awareness of the adults on the participation of the little ones in society;
  • Keep us mindful that when we are in the presence of children, it is essential to consider that we must act in the “best interest of the child”;
  • Improve education at all mandatory levels as a means to eliminate poverty and inequality in society and to exercise rights in complete freedom;
  • Condemn all acts against the physical, mental and moral integrity of the child;
  • Promote the full development of the child and his or her integration into society.
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The Institute of the Marist Brothers (FMS: Fratres Maristae a Scholis), founded in France in 1817 by St. Marcellin Champagnat, is the second largest congregation of Brothers in the Catholic Church.  

An encounter with a dying young man, Jean-Baptiste Montagne, who knew nothing of his faith and was barely able to read, proved to be the defining moment for Marcellin Champagnat.  Soon after the boy’s death, St. Marcellin put into motion his vision.  “We need brothers,” he said, who will give their lives in the service of children and young people, especially those most in need and neglected by society.  

Champagnat, a man of great faith and trust in God’s providence, dedicated his early followers to Mary, sending them among young people, especially those least favored, to “make Jesus known and loved.”  The initial focus of his work was to provide education for children in rural, areas since this was a pressing need at the time, and provided an opportunity for their faith development.  

Today the community numbers about 3,000 members.  They are joined by a network of nearly 40,000 lay people and reach over 700,000 children and young people in 80 countries.  You will find this Marist network working in schools and universities, pastoral and social centers, youth movements and youth programs and wherever they find young people most in need.

El Instituto de los Hermanos Maristas (FMS: Fratres Maristae a Scholis), fundado en Francia en 1817 por San Marcelino Champagnat, es la segunda congregación de hermanos más numerosa de la Iglesia Católica.

Un encuentro con un joven moribundo, Jean-Baptiste Montagne, que no sabía nada acerca de su fe y que era apenas capaz de leer, se reveló como el momento decisivo para Marcelino Champagnat. Inmediatamente después de la muerte del niño, San Marcelino puso en práctica su visión. “Necesitamos hermanos”, dijo, que den sus vidas al servicio de los niños y jóvenes, especialmente los más necesitados y olvidados por la sociedad.

Champagnat, un hombre de gran fe y confianza en la providencia de Dios, consagró sus primeros seguidores a María, enviándoles entre los jóvenes, especialmente los más desfavorecidos para “dar a conocer a Jesús y hacerlo amar”. El primer objetivo de su trabajo fue ofrecer una educación a los niños de las zonas rurales, porque era una necesidad urgente en aquel tiempo, ofreciéndoles así una oportunidad para crecer en la fe.

En la actualidad los miembros de la congregación son unos 3.000. Junto a ellos trabaja una red de unos 40.000 laicos que atienden a más de 700.000 niños y jóvenes en 80 países. Esta red marista trabaja en colegios y universidades, centros sociales y  pastorales, movimientos juveniles y programas de formación para la juventud y en cualquier lugar en el que encuentren jóvenes necesitados.

Congregazione dei Fratelli Maristi (FMS: Fratres Maristae a Scholis) fu fondata in Francia nel 1817 da S. Marcellino Champagnat ed è oggi la seconda congregazione maschile (di fratelli) della Chiesa per numero di professi.
L’incontro con Jean-Baptiste Montagne, un giovane di 17 anni in punto di morte, analfabeta e senza formazione religiosa, fu un momento cruciale per Marcellino Champagnat. Poco dopo la morte del giovane, egli volle dare seguito ad un’idea che gli era balenata in seminario. “Abbiamo bisogno di fratelli”, disse, “che diano la loro vita per il servizio ai bambini e ai giovani, specialmente quelli più bisognosi e dimenticati dalla società”.
Champagnat, un uomo di grande fede e fiducia nella Provvidenza divina, consacrò i suoi primi seguaci a Maria e li mandò tra i giovani, specialmente i più emarginati, per “far conoscere ed amare Gesú”. Fin dall’inizio la sua missione fu incentrata su bambini n età scolare delle zone rurali, poiché l’istruzione era una necessità urgente al tempo e poiché rappresentava una formidabile opportunità di evangelizzazione.
Oggi la Congregazione annovera circa 3.000 religiosi affiancati da quasi 40.000 laici; insieme essi assistono più di 700.000 bambini e giovani in 80 paesi del mondo.
I Maristi, religiosi e laici, prestano la loro opera in scuole e università, centri pastorali e sociali, movimenti e programmi giovanili e ovunque ci siano bambini e giovani bisognosi da assistere