He was invited by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Violence against Children (SRSG) Marta Santos Pais and KidsRights to speak at the launch of the High Time to End Violence Against Children Initiative: “Today, I stand before you to underline the necessity to end violence against children worldwide, and to create a safe world, where children can live peacefully and happily, play and laugh.”

Abraham M. Keita
Abraham M. Keita

Keita (17 years old), as he is often called, works tirelessly to end violence against children and to demand justice for child victims of violence in his home country, Liberia. In November 2015 Keita won the International Children’s Peace Prize for this fight to end violence against children. Now, he takes his urgent call for action directly to the UN Human Rights Council.

Keita knows it is necessary to take an international stand to protect children from violence. Sustainable solutions are needed. In 2015 alone 1 billion children worldwide between the age of 2 and 17 years old, experienced violence.

It is the top concern of children all over the globe. Violence, in any form leaves scars for life; physical, mentally and socially. It prevents children from reaching their full potential. It sets children apart as silent victims whose rights can be disregarded. Keita says: “Sexual violence leads to stigmatization; physical violence leads to body pain and creates fear; emotional or psychological violence can negatively affect a child’s behaviour. When you are a victim of violence, it stays with you forever: it destroys your future.”

The High Time Initiative is an innovative talent and time raising effort aiming to eradicate all forms of violence against children. The world’s new development agenda, stated in the Sustainable Development Goals, includes the elimination of violence against children amongst its priorities through a distinct target (16.2). The launch of the High Time Initiative presents a strategic moment to consolidate the gains made, grasp the lessons learned and redouble the efforts to build a world in which all children can grow up free from violence, leaving no child behind.

The SRSG on Violence against Children and KidsRights launched The High Time to End Violence Against Children Initiative to urge governments, organisations, communities and the world’s citizens to act and help end violence against children, to bring the numbers down to zero: Zero Violence. Founder of KidsRights and the International Children’s Peace Prize Marc Dullaert adds: “Children have the right to live with dignity, the right to be free from violence. It’s high time to end violence, and you can help too.”

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