Students and survivors of school violence have one message to world leaders: ‘Listen to us!’

Children and young people gather to #ENDviolence in schools ahead of Global Citizen Mandela 100 Festival

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Students and survivors of school violence have one message to world leaders: ‘Listen to us!’

2 December 2018 – More than 100 children and young people from around the world gathered in Johannesburg this weekend to draft a global manifesto calling on world leaders to end violence in and around schools.

The event – hosted by UNICEF, Global Citizen, JCI and the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children ahead of the Global Citizen Mandela 100 Festival – is part of UNICEF’s global #ENDviolence campaign. Children and young people travelled from countries in Africa, Asia and the Americas to draw up a set of recommendations detailing what they need to feel safe in and around school.

“We’re here to represent the millions of children and young people who face violence at school every day,” said 18-year-old Khuthadzo Silima from South Africa. “The message we want to get across is clear, adults must listen to us and take the issue of school violence seriously.”

Within the Youth Manifesto, students highlighted the importance and need for protection within schools, and called for legal measures to keep students safe in school and on the journey, clear rules and regulations on student behaviour, trained teachers and counsellors to respond to students in need, as well as environments that promote diversity and peaceful coexistence. They also called for students to treat one another with respect and break taboos often associated with reporting violence to teachers and other authorities.

The manifesto drew on a recent UNICEF poll of young people, which received more than 1 million responses from over 160 countries, and suggestions from a series of student-led #ENDviolence Youth Talks held around the world. In both, students were invited to voice what they need to feel safe in and around school.

“Children and young people have spoken, and what they are saying is that far too many of them face multiple dangers in and around school, from bullying and fighting to violent discipline, pressure to join gangs, sexual harassment and armed violence,” said UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Charlotte Petri Gornitzka. “I hope the responses and suggestions used to inform the Youth Manifesto will inspire world leaders to take action so that no child is afraid to go to school.”

The #ENDviolence Youth Manifesto will be presented to Ministers at The Education World Forum in January 2019 as part of a collective effort to #ENDviolence in and around schools led by organizations including UNICEF, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), UNESCO, other members of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children and the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI).

UNICEF is encouraging young people around the world to raise their voices to #ENDviolence in and around schools and to tell us how they are working together and what solutions they are using to #ENDviolence in and around schools once and for all. Find out more at https://uni.cf/end-violence.

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Notes to Editors:

A full version of the Youth Manifesto can be found here.

Learn more about UNICEF’s #ENDviolence global campaign here.

For more information, please contact: 

Unicef UK Media Team, 0207 375 6030, media@unicef.org.uk 

About Unicef 

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 

Follow UNICEF UK on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. 

About Global Citizen
Since the first Global Citizen Festival in New York in 2012, Global Citizen has grown into one of the largest, most visible platforms for young people around the world calling on world leaders to honour their responsibilities in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and ending extreme poverty by 2030. Global Citizens have generated commitments and policy announcements from leaders valued at over $37.9 billion that are set to affect the lives of more than 2.25 billion people. The organization has taken its action-based model to Australia, India, the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, and Canada, and created a platform for activists to learn about the issues they care most about, take action, and earn rewards for doing so.

About JCI

JCI is a global network of young active citizens age 18 to 40 whose purpose is providing development opportunities that empower young people to create positive change around the world, uniting all sectors of society to create sustainable impact. For more information visit: www.jci.cc.

African Youth Development Summit

The African Youth Development Summit–co-hosted by JCI, Africa80 and the African Peer Review Mechanism–brought together 120 exceptional young leaders from 22 countries. Presented alongside the Global Citizen Festival Mandela 100, the Summit engaged delegates to find their own solutions to Africa’s greatest challenges and take ownership of the future of their communities, countries and continent through the #IAmAfrica Campaign.

About The Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children

The Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children was launched in July 2016 by the UN Secretary-General. The unique public-private collaboration is focused solely on ending violence against all children and includes governments, UN agencies, civil society, faith groups, the private sector, philanthropic foundations, research practitioners, academics and children themselves – uniting their voices, actions and resources. In its first two years, the Partnership has: enrolled 23 governments as ‘Pathfinder’ countries; grown its membership to over 320 organizations; helped develop and promote the INSPIRE solutions; and awarded $30 million in grants to tackle online child sexual abuse, and violence against children in conflict and crises.