Pope Benedict XVI has called for peace and the protection of children.
At Mass in St Peter's Basilica on a Word Day of Peace to mark the start of 2010 , the pope said peace began with mutual respect between people, regardless of their ethnicity or faith.
He said the shared characteristics of children such as laughter and tears made it clear all men were brothers.
He appealed to armed groups to "stop, reflect and abandon the way of violence. Respect others, regardless of their skin colour, nationality, language, religion."
Pope Benedict also said the value of respect for all should be taught from an early age.
He remarked that it was increasingly common for children from different countries and backgrounds to share the same classroom.