Liberian teen Abraham Keita, age 17, has been presented with the 2015 International Children’s Peace Prize for his efforts in bringing justice to the children of violence as well as for successfully persuading the Liberian government to adopt the Children’s Law.
The International Children’s Peace Prize is awarded annually to a child who has made a significant contribution to advocating children’s rights and improving the situation of vulnerable children. The prize is an initiative of the Kids Rights Foundation, an international children’s aid and advocacy organisation based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
“Together with my peers I have successfully lobbied for children’s rights laws, but now they need to be put into practice,” Keita stated during the ceremony.
Keita received the award by Leymah Gbowee, a fellow Liberian who fought for the safety of women during Liberia’s process of building peace within the nation and in 2011 was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for her work.
“Children worldwide are still exposed to violence and injustice while thugs often go unpunished. I want people across the globe to acknowledge that this is unacceptable and that every world citizen, whether young or old, can be an agent of change.” Keita stated.
For the past seven years, Keita has taken it upon himself to play a significant role within the Liberian Children’s Parliament. He has managed to peacefully and effectively put together remarkable events that allow the participation of children, and has even managed to get the necessary funding for said events directly from the national budget. In addition to this, Keita simultaneously managed to push for quality primary and secondary education for children of all ages and has been recognized as the force behind the national legislation on children’s rights; which propelled Liberia to become one of the first African countries in 2012 to incorporate comprehensive children laws.
See video of Keita’s speech at the ceremony: