David Beckham and Millie Bobby Brown headline UN summit to demand rights for every child
This World Children’s Day, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors David Beckham and Millie Bobby Brown hosted a global summit at United Nations Headquarters in New York
Video and imagery of David Beckham and Millie Bobby Brown delivering speeches at UN Headquarters is available to download here.
20th November 2019 – At the United Nations Headquarters in New York today, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors David Beckham and Millie Bobby Brown hosted a global summit where children called on world leaders to fulfil their commitments to uphold child rights.
The UNICEF summit is part of worldwide celebrations marking World Children’s Day which coincides this year with the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history.
Making the welcoming remarks at today’s global summit, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, David Beckham said:
“I always dreamed of being a professional footballer. It was all I ever wanted. And unlike many children around the world, I was incredibly lucky. From a very young age, I had people in my corner who believed in me, who wanted me to succeed, and who helped me to reach my goals. Since 2001, I’ve worked with UNICEF, meeting girls and boys from all over the world. Girls and boys with different stories and backgrounds from my own. But like all children, they have one thing in common. They have ambitions, and they have dreams for a better future.”
“Over the years, I have seen how UNICEF is helping to make these ambitions real. By delivering health, nutrition, water and sanitation, plus education. All of the ingredients that children need to grow up healthy and happy, and to unlock their full potential. But as leaders, as public figures, as parents, and of course, as human beings, we must do more to protect children’s dreams. Because the future doesn’t belong to us. It belongs to children.”
“Please join me in this mission for children, and let’s listen to our young people, because they will show us the way. I am proud to be here lending my voice to this conversation and supporting brilliant young activists like Millie Bobbie Brown who is using her platform to command attention to the cause. Today on World Children’s Day, let’s make new promises to children of the world. We promise to listen to you. We promise to learn from you. We promise to act for you and together, we promise to work harder to protect your dreams.”
Following David Beckham’s opening address at today’s summit, UNICEF’s youngest Goodwill Ambassador, Millie Bobby Brown said:
“In world capitals, in buildings like this, adults talk about children’s rights. But today, young people don’t want to be talked about. They want to do the talking. In the words of one young person: ‘Be an active voice. Don’t let things go unnoticed.’ So today, I want to talk about an issue that is very personal to me. Something that so often goes unnoticed – but causes real suffering. Bullying.”
“Like David, I’ve been very lucky in my life. I take nothing for granted. But I also know what it feels like to be vulnerable. At school, I was bullied by a group of students. I remember feeling helpless. School used to be a safe place. Now I was scared to go.
“I was lucky. With the help of my friends, family and people around me, I was able to overcome these negative feelings and take my power back. But millions of children aren’t so lucky. They’re still struggling in the darkness. Wrestling with fear. With insecurity. Bullying and online threats are never harmless. Never just words. It puts children’s mental health at risk. It causes stress. And in the most extreme cases, and in areas around the world where conflict and violence are daily threats, it can lead to self-harm. Sickness. And even suicide.”
“In my role as Goodwill Ambassador, I will continue talking about this issue wherever I go. Every one of you here today can be the loudspeaker that turns our voices into real change. Into policies, programmes, laws and investments that keep children safe. That makes our world a better, healthier, stronger place for all.”
For this year’s World Children’s Day celebration, United Nations Member States have been invited to align to a Global Pledge promising to renew their commitment to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and implement child rights fit for the 21st century.
“Around the world, children and young people are taking the lead and demanding urgent action on the issues they care about, like the climate crisis, the rise of mental illness and the lack of opportunities,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “This World Children’s Day provides world leaders with a momentous opportunity to heed these calls and recommit to the rights of every child now and for future generations.”
World Children’s Day celebrates the power of children to change the world. It’s a day when we see the difference that children can make, and we hear the power of children’s voices. It is a global day of action for children, by children, that celebrates children’s rights and the power of their voices in changing our world across on Wednesday 20th November.
To read the speeches of UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador David Beckham and Millie Bobby Brown’s at the United Nations Headquarters in New York in full, please visit the below:
For more information on Unicef UK’s World Children’s Day, please visit www.unicef.org.uk/change-the-world
For more information please contact:
Unicef UK Media Team, 0207 375 6030, firstname.lastname@example.org
Unicef is the world’s leading organisation for children, promoting the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
Unicef UK raises funds to protect children in danger, transform their lives and build a safer world for tomorrow’s children. As a registered charity we raise funds through donations from individuals, organisations and companies and we lobby and campaign to keep children safe. Unicef UK also runs programmes in schools, hospitals and with local authorities in the UK. For more information please visit unicef.org.uk