Global leaders and laureates pledge to protect children’s rights

Over 200 prominent global figures came together on December 10th for the 2016 Laureates and Leaders for Chidren Summit. Held at the Presidential palace in New Delhi, India, the two-day event was organised by Nobel laureate, child rights activist and GCE co-founder Kailash Satyarthi. The overarching goal of this unique gathering was to build a strong moral platform for ensuring that every child has access to their basic rights – to be free, safe, healthy and educated.

The delegates included former and current world leaders, such as East Timor’s former president and Nobel laureate José Ramos-Horta, former Australian Prime Minister and chair of the Global Partnership for Education Julia Gillard, Nobel laureates such as Yemeni rights activist Tawakkol Karman, royalty from Jordan, Monaco and the Netherlands and representatives from civil society. Hundreds of young people also took part in the Summit and shared their experiences.

The Global Campaign for Education is a strong supporter of this initiative. GCE’s Vice-President Rasheda Choudhury attended the summit and was heartened by the communal will to tackle child rights violations and to give voice to the world’s most marginalised children.

“Hearing so many young people share their personal stories of exploitation, deprivation and success was a rewarding and emotional experience. It is fantastic to see prominent leaders and laureates pledge to use their voices to protect millions of children around the world.”

The event also marked the launch of the 100 Million for 100 Million campaign, which aims to mobilise 100 million youth and children for 100 million underprivileged children across the world, to promote the right of every child to be safe, free, and educated, over the next five years. Indeed, the Summit featured overwhelming endorsement of education at all levels, including its transformative power, the multiplying effects of its benefits and particularly the role it plays in reducing exploitation. As 2011 Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee stated:

“Education is not just school, it’s about providing [children] with opportunities to be the best that they can be.”

The summit ended with a declaration in which delegates pledged to accelerate progress and achieve breakthroughs to defend and promote the rights of children all over the world.

“We will use our voices to protect and amplify the voices of millions of girls, boys and young people as equal citizens of today and decision makers of tomorrow.”

Former child worker 16-year-old Imtiyaz Ali was met with loud applause when he remarked that the combined will of the delegates could change the world. The final declaration from the summit is a step in the right direction, and GCE is proud to support such coordinated and ambitious efforts to harness moral, intellectual and political authority for the benefit of the world’s children.

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