Students and survivors of school violence have one message to world leaders: ‘Listen to us!’

Children and young people gather to #ENDviolence in schools ahead of Global Citizen Mandela 100 Festival

Young people from around the world who gathered in Johannesburg to draft a global manifesto  against violence in schools

03 December 2018

JOHANNESBURG/NEW YORK, 2 December 2018 More than 100 children and young people from around the world gathered in Johannesburg this weekend to draft a global manifesto calling on world leaders to end violence in and around schools.

We’re here to represent the millions of children and young people who face violence at school every day,

said 18-year-old Khuthadzo Silima from South Africa. “The message we want to get across is clear, adults must listen to us and take the issue of school violence seriously.”

Within the Youth Manifesto, students highlighted the importance and need for protection within schools, and called for legal measures to keep students safe in school and on the journey, clear rules and regulations on student behaviour, trained teachers and counsellors to respond to students in need, as well as environments that promote diversity and peaceful coexistence. They also called for students to treat one another with respect and break taboos often associated with reporting violence to teachers and other authorities.

The manifesto 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. In both, students were invited to voice what they need to feel safe in and around school.

Students in Bulgaria are among the top 10 of 43 surveyed countries affected by the problem of school violence. Over half of teenagers around the world have been at least once subjected to peer violence in and around school. Physical violence and bullying interfere with the education of over 150 million children aged 13-15, according to a UNICEF study. 

According to MES data, in 2017 over 80% of Bulgarian schools have reported at least one child abuse case. The UNICEF Campaign "Together Against School Violence" aims to raise awareness and sensitivity on the issue of violence and reduce the tolerance for its different manifestations in school. The follow-up 3-year intervention aims primarily to support schools in effectively preventing violence and bullying.

The #ENDviolence Youth Manifesto will be presented to Ministers at The Education World Forum in January 2019 as part of a collective effort to #ENDviolence in and around schools led by organizations including UNICEF, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), UNESCO, other members of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children and the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI).

UNICEF is encouraging young people around the world to raise their voices to #ENDviolence in and around schools and to tell us how they are working together and what solutions they are using to #ENDviolence in and around schools once and for all.