Waves of protests around the world are reminder that voices of children and adolescents must be heard and their rights protected

Statement by UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore

Home > Media Contacts and Press Releases > Waves of protests around the world are reminder that voices of children and adolescents must be heard and their rights protected

18 December 2019 – “Children and young people from around the world have taken to the streets in recent months to demand their rights.

“Although every context is unique, from the Middle East to Latin America to the Caribbean, and in Europe, Africa and Asia, young people are calling for action on the climate crisis, for an end to corruption and inequality, for better education and employment opportunities – and for a fairer world for everyone, everywhere.

“It is therefore a heartbreaking irony that, in standing up for their fundamental rights, many children and adolescents are simultaneously having their rights taken away.

“Many of these protests have left young protesters behind bars, injured and at times killed. Schools have been shuttered and public services interrupted.

“Children’s rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, including in peaceful protest, are enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the most widely ratified human rights treaty in the world. It is incumbent on Member States to ensure that children can exercise this right in a safe and peaceful manner.

“All actors must refrain from violence, and fundamental guarantees for the protection of children must remain applicable everywhere, at all times, including where there is civil unrest or armed conflict.

“My plea is to please protect children from violence and respect their right to speak up and be heard. Give them opportunities to meaningfully voice their concerns and participate in matters that affect their futures. Listen to them and respond in a principled, constructive and supportive way.”

– ENDS –

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 TwitterFacebook and YouTube.