Nobel Peace Laureate emphasizes importance of children’s involvement in improving children’s rights worldwide
Amsterdam, 25 October 2011 – Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Laureate, announced the five nominees for the International Children’s Peace Prize 2011 in Cape Town today. The prize is an initiative of the Dutch organization KidsRights and was launched by KidsRights during 2005 Nobel Peace Laureates’ Summit chaired by Mikhail Gorbachev. The International Children’s Peace Prize is presented annually to a child, whose courageous or otherwise remarkable acts have made a difference in countering problems which affect children around the world.
The nominees for 2011 are Liza (17) from Palestine, Malala (13) from Pakistan, Michaela (17) from South Africa, Nikolay (17) from Armenia and Winfred (14) from Uganda*. They were chosen out of 98 children that were put forward by organizations and individuals from 42 different countries. One of them will be rewarded with the Children’s Peace Prize on 21 November 2011 in the Netherlands. This year it will be the 7th time a child is rewarded with the Children’s Peace Prize. Every year millions of people worldwide are touched by the special stories of the children. In a short period the prize has become the most prestigious international prize in the field of children’s rights.
“The International Children’s Peace Prize is a very important prize because it facilitates a platform for children, who make a valuable contribution to a peaceful world,” explains Desmond Tutu. “These five nominated children are very brave since they are fighting for children’s rights in their country every day, sometimes even in dangerous situations. Children are the future, but often they are not heard: the Children’s Peace Prize gives a voice to the voiceless.”
The inspiring stories of the nominees
The five nominees have all made an impressive difference in their environment, all five in their own way:
Liza uses sports to promote peace between Israeli and Palestinian youngsters and fights for the empowerment of Palestinian girls, something which is very difficult in the male-dominated society.
Malala focuses on the right to education with a focus on education for girls, which was banned during the Talibanisation in Pakistan. Malala dared to stand up for herself and other girls and used national and international media to let the world know girls should also have the right to go to school.
Michaela was born with Cerebral Palsy, through which she has limited function in her legs and arms. She fights for the rights and inclusion of children with disabilities in South Africa. Her effort to help other children led to the start of the ‘Chaeli Campaign’, a professional organization with more than 20 employees, which helps disabled children.
Nikolay organizes discussions and presentations on human rights and also shares his knowledge through his website and blog. He wants to inspire other children to do the same and spread the word of human rights and democracy in the Armenian society, where the children are often not heard.
Winfred stands up for abused children. She documents cases of violence against children in schools and communities; she also set up a counseling club where abused children are helped by other children. In this way, she tries to improve the situation of children in her environment.