Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Youth manifesto calls on governments to #ENDviolence in schools

Young people from around the world will call on governments, including the Nepal government, to end violence in and around schools at the Education World Forum (EWF) this week.
Representing children and young people from around the globe, Khuthadzo Silima and Jonathan Franca, 18-year-old youth activists from South Africa and the USA, will present a manifesto to government ministers at the high-level event in London, detailing what children and young people need to feel safe in and around school.
“The manifesto represents the voices of millions of children and young people who face violence at school every day,” said Silima ahead of the event. "The message, we want to get across is clear, adults must listen to us and take the issue of school violence seriously."
Nepal is no exception to the global reality of violence against children. More than 80 per cent of children in Nepal, aged between one and 14, experience some form of violent discipline by their parents, teachers or caregivers. The rape and murder case of 13-year old Nirmala Pant is one of the representative cases in the recent months.
However, through the landmark 2018 Act Relating to Children, Nepal has become the first country in South Asia to achieve a complete ban on violent discipline. Nepal also boasts promising initiatives on both operational and legal fronts to address violence against children, including in schools.
Following the recent cases including Pant in recent months, however, much still needs to be done to ensure that schools in Nepal are safe places for learning.
"Ending violence in schools requires political will – which the Nepal government has demonstrated," UNICEF representative to Nepal Tomoo Hozumi said, adding that it also needs to be backed by individual and collective actions. "Now is the time for leaders at the federal, state and local levels – as well as parents, teachers and caregivers – to promote and use positive teaching techniques and positive parenting instead of resorting to violence."
The #ENDviolence Youth Manifesto was drafted last month by more than 100 children and young people from around the world, including Silima and Franca. It also drew on a recent UNICEF poll of young people, which received more than 1 million responses from over 160 countries, and suggestions from a series of student-led #ENDviolence Youth Talks held around the world.
The manifesto calls for action in the following areas:
A demand for parents, guardians, schools, policymakers, and communities to take students seriously; to establish clear rules; to make laws restricting weapons; to ensure safety to and from school; to provide secure school facilities; to train teachers and counsellors; and to teach consent and respond to sexual violence.
A commitment from students to be kind, to report violence, and to take action themselves.
Diversity and tolerance in schools, regardless of culture, gender, identity, disability, sexual orientation, nationality, race, ethnicity, migration status, and religion; and protection for all students –those who experience violence and those who engage in violent behaviour.
The #ENDviolenceYouth Manifesto is part of a collective effort to#ENDviolence in and around schools, called 'Safe to Learn', led by UNICEF, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DfID), UNESCO, the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children and the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI).

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