Every five minutes a child dies as a result of violence and millions are left unsafe in their homes, schools and communities. The stories of these children are rarely told. Through the EndViolence Youth Letter initiative voices of 18 child survivors of violence from across the world are now being heard. From violent conflict in South Sudan, sexual abuse in Spain, and child trafficking in Pakistan, these powerful testimonies highlight an epidemic of violence that is facing children in every corner of the world. From these testimonies, UNICEF created a joint letter, addressed to world leaders, calling on them to end the widespread abuse and turn written promises into change for children.
Here is their letter:
Dear World Leaders,
Every five minutes, somewhere in the world, a child dies as a result of violence.
We are young people from 18 different countries; survivors of violence who have experienced pain and abuse.
There are millions of children just like us.
We have been forced to flee our homes, fight as child soldiers and work as domestic slaves. We have been raped, beaten and attacked in our own communities. We have watched, powerless, as our parents, siblings and friends were murdered in front of us. Memories like these make our bellies burn with fear.
No child should start their life like this.
In September you will meet to agree new global development goals, a plan of action for the next 15 years. As young citizens of the world, we call on you to come together to build a safer world for children.
We hope that one day the only bruises on the skin of a child will be the ones they get from playing in the playground.
You must act now to end violence against all children.
Do not wait another five minutes. Our lives depend on it.
Parwana* (20), Australia; Joao* (18), Brazil; Ravid (16), Cambodia; Laetitia (14) DRC; Sabreen* (15) Gaza; Daldís (19), Iceland; Tommy* (16), Ireland; Ashley* (23), Jamaica; Mohammad (15), Jordan; Akhrat (16), Netherlands; Babagana* (12), Nigeria; Rabia* (9), Pakistan; Alice* (18), Portugal; Sane* (18), South Africa; Boto* (16), South Sudan; Magu* (16), Spain; Jodie (20), United Kingdom; Zina (10), Ukraine;
*names have been changed to protect their identity