Nobel Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi and young campaigners to speak #UpForSchool at London rally

Up for School or #upforschool campaign

Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi and the amazing courage of young campaigners from around the world will be on show at a youth rally in London.

The children’s rights activists will appear at Our Future, Our Rights – Youth Rising #UpForSchool, hosted by A World at School and the Overseas Development Institute – on November 19.

The event, which will be livestreamed to young people around the world, will also mark the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The rally at the Southbank Centre will include the London launch of the #UpForSchool Petition – started by young people to demonstrate the unprecedented public support for education and an end to discrimination against children.

The petition is backed by a coalition of more than 100 businesses, faith leaders, NGOs, teachers and influential individuals with the aim of making it the biggest petition in history. It will be put before the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 and call for the universal right to education.

With youth performers, celebrity guests and a lively rally atmosphere, Our Future, Our Rights – Youth Rising #UpForSchool will help push child rights higher up the international agenda and see real changes to international law and getting every child in to school, no matter who they are or where they are born.

Alongside speakers Kailash and ODI Executive Director Kevin Watkins, the rally will be attended by VIP special guests – including Camfed founder Ann Cotton, who has just won the 2014 WISE Prize for Education. Anthony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF, and Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations Secretary-General, will give special video messages for the occasion.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child is 25 years old on November 20. A defining moment in history, the convention meant that, for the first time, all children around the world were viewed as human beings with their own set of rights.

The #UpForSchool launch rally in New York in September

In the past quarter of a century the lives of children have changed immensely – often for the better. In the UK all children have the right to an education, protection from harm and a legal say in all matters affecting them and that is an outstanding achievement.

But in too many parts of the world, the rights laid out in the convention still remain out of reach; far too many children are out of school, struggling to get an education; far too many girls are forced into early marriage, far too many children trafficked and labouring in dangerous workplaces in conditions little better than slavery; and far too many boys and girls face daily discrimination and attack around the world.

There is no international law that forces governments to implement child rights. There is no safe way for children to take their cases to court. This has to change.

It’s time for governments to step up and enforce their children’s rights.

Our Future, Our Rights – Youth Rising #UpForSchool will give children from around the world the chance to present their cases of exploitation and neglect to decision-makers. Following their presentations, Kevin Watkins, Kailash Satyarthi and a special guest will sign a letter to be presented to the Chair of the Committee on the Convention of the Rights of the Child at the UN. The letter will call for each of the cases to be investigated and will kick-start the next step in the fight for child rights.

Underpinning each of these children’s cases is the question of education – getting every child into school could help end early marriage, child labour and discrimination.


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