LONDON / ISLAMABAD: Young people from around the world will call on all governments to end violence in and around schools at the Education World Forum taking place in London from February 20-23, 2019.
The Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training, Shafqat Mahmood is representing Pakistan.
Representing children and young people from around the globe, Khuthadzo Silima and Jonathan Franca, 18-year-old youth activists from South Africa and the USA, will present a manifesto to government ministers at the high-level event in London, detailing what children and young people need to feel safe in and around schools.
“The manifesto represents the voices of millions of children and young people who face violence at school every day,” said Silima ahead of the event. “The message we want to get across is clear, adults must listen to us and take the issue of school violence seriously.”
The #ENDviolence Youth Manifesto was drafted last month by more than 100 children and young people from around the world, including Silima and Franca. It also 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.
The manifesto calls for a demand for parents, guardians, schools, policymakers, and communities to take students seriously; to establish clear rules; to make laws restricting weapons; to ensure safety to and from school; to provide secure school facilities; to train teachers and counsellors; and to teach consent and respond to sexual violence.
The manifesto calls for diversity and tolerance in schools, regardless of culture, gender, identity, disability, sexual orientation, nationality, race, ethnicity, migration status, and religion; and protection for all students – those who experience violence and those who engage in violent behaviour.
“From every corner of the globe, children and young people are asking for help,” said Aida Girma, UNICEF Representative in Pakistan. “They are demanding their leaders give them a safe place to go to school, to learn, and to build a brighter future for themselves.”
The #ENDviolence Youth Manifesto is part of a collective effort to #ENDviolence in and around schools, called Safe to Learn, led by organizations including UNICEF, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), UNESCO, the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children and the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI).
“With this manifesto, young people have told us the dangers they face in school every day, including bullying both in person and online, physical violence including corporal punishment, violent discipline and conflict,” added Girma. “Now is the time for world leaders to listen and take action to end violence in and around schools.”