The International Children’s Peace Prize is an initiative of the International children’s rights organization KidsRights. This prestigious prize was awarded on November 20, on Universal Children’s Day in the Hague. From an impressive 137 applicants from 56 countries, the KidsRights’ Expert Committee selected Divina from Cameroon and Greta from Sweden as winners. Each year the International Children’s Peace Prize is presented by a Nobel Peace Laureate. The International Children’s Peace Prize 2019 was handed out by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Kailash Satyarthi from India.
Divina testifies unspeakable horrors
During the award ceremony Divina stated that Africa is suffering an escalation of violence and insecurity perpetrated by terrorist groups like Boko Haram and many others. In her country Cameroon, unspeakable horrors are inflicted upon children and thousands are forced to flee their homes in inhumane conditions. Many parents have seen children, relatives or neighbors killed and raped. Children were abducted, brutalized, tortured and forcibly recruited. In Cameroon, children are the biggest victims of terrorist attacks.
Greta’s devotion to climate activism
Greta accepted the International Children’s Peace Prize while sailing on the Atlantic towards the UN Climate Change Conference in Madrid.
Gretas acceptance speech was pronounced on her special request by Luisa Neubauer, the German chair of Gretas Fridays for Future movement. Greta said: “I am incredibly grateful and honoured for the International Children’s Peace Prize. This award is for the whole Fridays For Future movement.” Luisa added: “We will continue until national and International politics matches the science, matches the scale of this emergency. We will continue until prizes are being awarded to governments for policy that listens to the science.”
The ceremony was attended by prominent guests from all over the world and a large number of foreign ambassadors representing more than 160 countries. The Netherlands was represented by Her Royal Highness Princess Laurentien, and Speaker of the House of Representatives Mrs. Arib.
A call to world leaders to listen to the children
Marc Dullaert founder of KidsRights and the International Children’s Peace Prize, expressed that from an extremely impressive group of nominees, Divina and Greta were this year’s deserved winners, due to the immense movement both girls have created for children’s peace. Greta had transformed a local community protest into a truly global youth-led and peaceful protest-movement for the sake of climate. Divina dared to stand up in a peaceful way against extremist violence and radicalization in both her country and in West Africa, creating a peace movement for children.
The initiators generated positive change, whilst mobilizing many of their peers, controlling the public narrative on issues that matter to them; ultimately making the people in power listen to their cause.
In his speech during the ceremony today, Mr. Dullaert stated that an unstoppable wave of youth emancipation is happening all over the globe. Just as exactly 100 years ago, in 1919 when women demanded to be heard and received their right to vote. Mr. Dullaert called upon world leaders by their first names, asking them to listen to the message of today’s winners and all children. “Listen to the children and act”
Each year the young winner’s message of the International Children’s Peace Prize reaches millions of people worldwide. Last year 1.2 billion people were reached. The very special award ceremony, also celebrated the fifteenth anniversary of the International Children’s Peace Prize which became a global phenomenon.