Abraham M. Keita from Liberia wins International Children’s Peace Prize 2015

The Hague, 9 November 2015 – Seventeen-year old Abraham M. Keita from Liberia is the 2015 winner of the International Children’s Peace Prize. Today, he was presented with the prestigious award for demanding justice for children who are victims of physical or sexual violence, and for successfully campaigning for the Liberian parliament to adopt the Children’s Law. 

In the presence of the world press Keita received the Prize from Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee who in 2011 was the first Liberian to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for her nonviolent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in Liberia’s peace-building process. Gbowee said: “It is a great honour to award the Prize. It is very special and inspiring that Keita, already at such a young age, demands that perpetrators and would be perpetrators be held accountable. I recognise in him a true changemaker: fighting to end the extreme violence against children!”

In September, Nobel Peace Laureate Desmond Tutu, patron of KidsRights and the International Children’s Peace Prize, announced the nomination of Keita together with Aziza Rahim Zada from Afghanistan and Jeanesha Bou from Puerto Rico. Keita was nominated by SURE Liberia. Keita’s tireless work as a campaigner, bringing attention to crimes against children and campaigning until the perpetrators are locked away, stood out and convinced the jury. Keita also played a leading role in the Liberian Children’s Parliament where he successfully lobbied the Liberian Parliament to adopt the Children’s Law to protect children’s rights.

The KidsRights Youngsters, the group of winners of the International Children’s Peace Prize, which includes Nobel Peace Laureate Malala Yousafzai, congratulated Keita wholeheartedly: “We are happy to welcome Abraham to the Youngsters. Together we will continue the fight to improve children’s rights and advocate for an immediate end to violence against children.”

“Together with my peers I have successfully lobbied for children’s rights laws, but they now need to be put into practice. Children worldwide are still exposed to violence and injustice while thugs often go unpunished. I want people across the globe to acknowledge that this is unacceptable and that every world citizen, whether young or old, can be an agent of change.”„ Upon receiving the Prize today, Keita confirmed that their work will continue

About the International Children’s Peace Prize

The International Children’s Peace Prize is awarded annually to a child who fights courageously for children’s rights. Every year, the message of the new young winner has enormous impact and demonstrates to millions of people globally that change is possible.

The Prize will be awarded for the 11th consecutive year. Previous winners include Nkosi Johnson, who fought for the rights of children with AIDS, and Malala Yousafzai, who won the International Children’s Peace Prize in 2013 before winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. This year’s Prize had a total of 77 submissions, comprising 38 boys and 39 girls from 39 countries.

The International Children’s Peace Prize is an initiative of Marc Dullaert, founder of the KidsRights Foundation. It was launched in 2005 during the Nobel Peace Laureates’ Summit in Rome, chaired by Mikhail Gorbachev. Each year, the expert committee of the Prize receives nominations from countries all over the world. Very remarkable, but often unknown, brave children have been discovered through the annual nomination process.

The International Children’s Peace Prize is presented by a Nobel Peace Laureate. The winner receives the statuette ‘Nkosi’, which portrays a child setting the world in motion, as well as a study grant and a worldwide platform to promote his or her ideals and causes for the benefit of children’s rights. Furthermore, KidsRights invests the sum of €100,000 in projects in the winner’s home country that are closely connected to his or her area of work.

About the KidsRights Report 2015 – The Silent Majority: Justice for child victims of violence

To celebrate the 11th Anniversary of the International Children’s Peace Prize, the KidsRights Foundation in association with Leiden University Law School has published the report The Silent Majority: Justice for child victims of violence. The comprehensive report focuses on the rights of children as victims of violence, and how justice can be achieved to offer these children opportunities to recover and reintegrate into society, and to prevent violence against children in the future. The report can be downloaded via www.kidsrights.org.

CAPTION PRESSPHOTO

Keita (R) is awarded the International Children's Peace Prize by Nobel Peace laureate Leymah Gbowee in the Ridderzaal (Knight Hall) in the Hague. > > Photographer: ANP IN OPDRACHT MARCO DE SWART ** The photo and caption are outside the responsibility of the General News Service of the ANP. This photo is free of rights and is for editorial use only in the context of this caption**

Additional information for media (not for publication)

Within an hour after the award ceremony has finished, an HD video compilation of highlights of the ceremony will be shared with media via a dedicated ftp server. This server will also contain a short documentary about Keita’s life. Please access the ftp server via http://ftppost.united4all.nl.

Username: KidsRights

Password: ICCP2015!

Media are most welcome to interview Abraham M. Keita or Marc Dullaert, the founder of KidsRights. Please address interview requests or other questions to KidsRights’ PR officer:

Sylvia Karres

E: sylvia@issuemakers.nl

T: +31 (0)20 715 0662

M: +31 (0)6 4742 6456

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