Greta Thunberg and Divina Maloum receive 15th International Children’s Peace Prize

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The International Children’s Peace Prize has another first this year. Last year, for the first time, the prize was awarded not to an individual, but to a collective (March For Our Lives). This year, there are two different winners. Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg (16) and peace activist Divina Maloum (15) will today receive the prize from Nobel Peace Prize recipient and human rights advocate Kailash Satyarthi. Greta will not attend the ceremony, but Divina will. The prize is awarded annually to a young person who fights courageously for children’s rights.

Divina Maloum is a social activist from Cameroon, a country that has been beset by terrorist violence since 2014. When Divina visited the north of the country, she was horrified to discover that children were the main victims of terrorist attacks. Realising that many young people are not aware of their rights, she set up Children for Peace (C4P) to warn children against joining armed groups and to strengthen their participation in peace-building and sustainable development. C4P is now a network of one hundred children that has expanded into ten regions of Cameroon.
 
Climate activist Greta Thunberg needs no introduction. Greta was eight years old when she first heard about climate change. Shocked by the fact that adults didn’t seem to be taking the issue seriously, she decided to take action. Drawing inspiration from March For Our Lives, on 20 August 2018 Greta sat herself down in front of the Swedish parliament holding a home-made banner displaying the words ‘Skolstrejk för klimatet’ (‘School strike for the climate’). After the elections, she went on strike every Friday and stated in an opinion piece in The Guardian that she would keep doing so until governments complied with the Paris climate agreement. Greta lives according to extremely strict climate principles and refuses to board an airplane. That’s why she will be unable to attend today’s awards ceremony.
 
The International Children’s Peace Prize is an initiative of KidsRights, which has promoted children’s rights around the world for more than 15 years and gives exceptional young changemakers a voice. The awards ceremony is traditionally held in the Ridderzaal in The Hague. ABN AMRO has been a partner of KidsRights and the proud main sponsor of this inspiring event since 2006.

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