Francia Simon wins the International Children’s Peace Prize 2010
The Dominican 16-year-old campaigns for the right of children to registration.
On 29th November 2010 it was announced, during a ceremony in the Hall of Knights in The Hague, that Francia Simon is the winner of the International Children’s Peace Prize 2010. Francia, who is 16 years old and lives in the Dominican Republic, campaigns for the right of children to registration, name and nationality – both for children born in the Dominican Republic as for refugee children from Haiti. It is only after official registration that children can gain access to essential rights such as health care and education. Francia found herself faced with possible exclusion from education. In response, she carried out extensive research and showed great perseverance in pursuing her own registration. She succeeded and gained lasting access to secondary education. Since then, Francia has been using the knowledge and strength she acquired during the complicated registration process to help other children without birth certificates to obtain state recognition. She has already helped over 130 children to receive an official name and nationality. By doing this, Francia increases the children’s own self-esteem and gives them the chance to lead a more secure and fulfilling life.
Francia was presented with the prize by Guatemalan human rights activist Rigoberta Menchú Tum, who in 1992 received the Nobel Peace Prize at the age of 33, and as such became the youngest ever laureate. The ceremony was attended by various representatives of government, the business community and non-government organisations. Guest speakers included children’s rights specialist Jo Becker of Human Rights Watch and Kailash Satyarthi, founder of Global March Against Child Labour and chairman of the Education For All Campaign.
Francia was very pleased and moved to receive the prize: “It is my wish to go around the world looking for children without a birth certificate, to help them get it, so that they can achieve their goals of becoming engineers, architects, etc. I hope my story spreads around the world.”