EUROPE/GERMANY - "Knock on doors, insist on your rights": 54th Campaign of the Star Singers (Sternsinger) who have chosen Nicaragua as this year’s symbol country

Aachen (Agenzia Fides) - For the 54th time, in the days leading up to January 6, the "Star Singers" (Sternsinger) of the Holy Chidhood Association in Germany will be on the country’s street-corners singing Christmas carols. "Knock on doors, insist on your rights" is the motto for this year's campaign which in the German dioceses will witness nearly half a million German children going door-to-door dressed as Magi, bringing the Star with them. With this year’s motto the Star Singers want to emphasize that children’s rights around the world must be respected and promoted. Children are committed so that adults and politicians defend their rights and those of their peers around the world. Even poverty and violence are to be considered an offense to children’s rights, access to health care and education must be guaranteed for everyone. Especially in Nicaragua the symbol country chosen for the 54th Campaign of the Star Singers, children's rights are often trampled. Exploitation, abuse and domestic violence against children are on the agenda. The Star Singers in Nicaragua support projects that teach children to claim their rights. Making them grow "strong" and confident will allow them to defend themselves against abuse. The National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Germany, Mgr. Klaus Krämer, who is also responsible for Holy Childhood, explains the contents of the Campaign: "No child is like another, but all have the same right to physical integrity. Children's rights are part of human rights. Not respecting them is not a forgivable transgression". On 1 January 2011 there will be 24 Star Singers from the diocese of Würzburg attending the celebration presided by Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter's Basilica for World Peace Day. Two of them will be dressed in the traditional costumes of the Magi, they will participate in the offertory procession. On 5th January, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will receive 108 Star Singers in her offices in Berlin. Four girls and boys from each of the 27 German dioceses will represent their peers participating in the campaign. Dressed in their costumes of Magi, with their Star and their songs during Christmas time and in the early days of the new year, the "Star Singers" go around visiting German homes. About half a million children from 12,500 Catholic parishes in Germany will carry the "C+M+B" blessing ("Christus mansionem benedictat - Christ bless this house") to the families, collecting donations for other children their age who suffer throughout the world. The "Star Singers" collection in Germany has become the largest solidarity initiative in the world, allowing children to help other people their age who are in need. (MS) (Agenzia Fides 21/12/2011)