Liberian wins international Children’s Peace Prize

Keita poses with the International Children’s Peace in the Ridderzaal (Knight Hall) in The Hague. Photographer: ANP IN OPDRACHT MARCO DE SWART

Keita poses with the International Children’s Peace in the Ridderzaal (Knight Hall) in The Hague. Photographer: ANP IN OPDRACHT MARCO DE SWART

Seventeen-year old Abraham M. Keita from Liberia is the 2015 winner of the International Children’s Peace Prize. On Monday, November 9, he was presented with the prestigious award for demanding justice for children who are victims of physical or sexual violence, and for successfully campaigning for the Liberian parliament to adopt the Children’s Law.

In the presence of the world press Keita received the Prize from Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee who in 2011 received the Nobel Peace Prize for her nonviolent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in Liberia’s peace-building process.

Gbowee said: “It is a great honour to award the Prize. It is very special and inspiring that Keita, already at such a young age, demands that perpetrators and would be perpetrators be held accountable. I recognise in him a true changemaker: fighting to end the extreme violence against children!”

In September, Nobel Peace Laureate Desmond Tutu, patron of KidsRights and the International Children’s Peace Prize, announced the nomination of Keita together with Aziza Rahim Zada from Afghanistan and Jeanesha Bou from Puerto Rico. Keita was nominated by SURE-Liberia. Keita’s tireless work as a campaigner, bringing attention to crimes against children and campaigning until the perpetrators are locked away, stood out and convinced the jury. Keita also played a leading role in the Liberian Children’s Parliament where he successfully lobbied the Liberian Parliament to adopt the Children’s Law to protect children’s rights.

The KidsRights Youngsters, the group of winners of the International Children’s Peace Prize, which includes Nobel Peace Laureate Malala Yousafzai, congratulated Keita wholeheartedly: “We are happy to welcome Abraham to the Youngsters. Together we will continue the fight to improve children’s rights and advocate for an immediate end to violence against children.”

Upon receiving the Prize today, Keita confirmed that their work will continue: “Together with my peers I have successfully lobbied for children’s rights laws, but they now need to be put into practice. Children worldwide are still exposed to violence and injustice while thugs often go unpunished. I want people across the globe to acknowledge that this is unacceptable and that every world citizen, whether young or old, can be an agent of change.”

Keita (R) is awarded the International Children's Peace Prize by Nobel Peace laureate Leymah Gbowee in the Ridderzaal (Knight Hall) in the Hague. Photographer: ANP IN OPDRACHT MARCO DE SWART

Keita (R) is awarded the International Children’s Peace Prize by Nobel Peace laureate Leymah Gbowee in the Ridderzaal (Knight Hall) in the Hague. Photographer: ANP IN OPDRACHT MARCO DE SWART

The International Children’s Peace Prize is an initiative of KidsRights, the foundation committed to defending children’s rights worldwide. The award ceremony is held annually in The Hague, the Netherlands, the international city of peace and justice.

About the International Children’s Peace Prize

The International Children’s Peace Prize is awarded annually to a child who fights courageously for children’s rights. Every year, the message of the new young winner has enormous impact and demonstrates to millions of people globally that change is possible.

The Prize has been awarded for the 11th consecutive year. Previous winners include Nkosi Johnson, who fought for the rights of children with AIDS, and Malala Yousafzai, who won the International Children’s Peace Prize in 2013 before winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. This year’s Prize had a total of 77 submissions, comprising 38 boys and 39 girls from 39 countries.

The International Children’s Peace Prize is an initiative of Marc Dullaert, founder of the KidsRights Foundation. It was launched in 2005 during the Nobel Peace Laureates’ Summit in Rome, chaired by Mikhail Gorbachev. Each year, the expert committee of the Prize receives nominations from countries all over the world. Very remarkable, but often unknown, brave children have been discovered through the annual nomination process.

The International Children’s Peace Prize is presented by a Nobel Peace Laureate. The winner receives the statuette ‘Nkosi’, which portrays a child setting the world in motion, as well as a study grant and a worldwide platform to promote his or her ideals and causes for the benefit of children’s rights. 

About the KidsRights Report 2015 – The Silent Majority: Justice for child victims of violence

To celebrate the 11th Anniversary of the International Children’s Peace Prize, the KidsRights Foundation in association with Leiden University Law School has published the report The Silent Majority: Justice for child victims of violence. The comprehensive report focuses on the rights of children as victims of violence, and how justice can be achieved to offer these children opportunities to recover and reintegrate into society, and to prevent violence against children in the future. KidsRights IndexThe report can be downloaded via kidsrights.pr.co or www.kidsrights.org.

About KidsRights Foundation

KidsRights is an international non-governmental organization that promotes the wellbeing of very vulnerable children across the world and advocates the realisation of their rights. KidsRights strives for a world where all children have access to their rights and are enabled to realise the great potential they carry within them. KidsRights sees children as Changemakers with the power to move the world, and facilitates children in voicing their opinions and taking action in order to bring about change.

KidsRights supports children by commanding global attention for the realisation of children’s rights and acting as a catalyst to ignite change, together with children and youths. We support this with research and action. In order to gain insight into the status of children’s rights, KidsRights frequently conducts research. The foundation also finances local projects aimed at directly improving the rights of vulnerable children and stimulating child participation and change-making by youths.

About KidsRights and ABN AMRO

ABN AMRO is committed to investing in the future and being engaged in society. To this end, ABN AMRO has chosen a motto for its sponsorship and foundation activities: ‘Partner of the Future’. The bank supports people and organisations seeking to achieve a goal by helping them discover their talents or realise their ambitions, and by stimulating people to reach their full potential. ABN AMRO has been a partner of the Dutch children’s rights organization KidsRights since 2006, working together to enable the International Children’s Peace Prize. Children set the world in motion; the International Children’s Peace Prize provides them with a platform to make the world a better place.

 

 KidsRights Foundation

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