JUSTICE FOR EVERY CHILD

"Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life." - NELSON MANDELA

Watch the video to see youth activists all over the world demand Justice For Every Child to prevent a child rights catastrophe in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Globally, we have enough money and knowledge to ensure every child is free, safe and educated. World leaders have been promising these rights for over 70 years. But governments are not moving fast enough to meet their own commitments. They are failing to deliver justice for every child.

 

This is not inevitable: it is a political choice. Millions of children and young people are paying the price for government inaction, living and dying in extreme poverty without access to their rights. 

100 Million has been advocating for Justice for Every Child since 2019, with the 'when will every child have justice?' global rallies and a specific call to action to protect the most marginalised children at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of this campaign we have collectively organised grassroots mobilisations across tens of countries, from marches to the Kenyan Parliament from the informal settlement of Mathare, to the German Bunderstag, to India Gate in Delhi and refugee camps in Chad. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, youth activists and student leaders took their campaigning online, holding regular webinars, workshops and events with decision-makers demanding justice for every child. Find our how you can take action too!

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A GLOBAL CAMPAIGN LED IN PARTNERSHIP BY:

WHY ARE WE DEMANDING JUSTICE FOR EVERY CHILD?

HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF CHILDREN ALREADY EXCLUDED – COVID-19 HAS MADE THIS WORSE

Hundreds of millions of children have long been excluded from reliable access to quality public education, sanitation or public healthcare, or any kind of social protection measures or safety net. Since COVID-19, those numbers have skyrocketed.

  • School closures - for the children who have access - mean millions no longer have their only regular daily meal and others will suffer greater violence or abuse without the protection that school offers them.

  • Lockdowns have proven that children who are victims of domestic abuse and violence are being left without respite from their abuser.

  • Social distancing, quarantine or self-isolation are impossible to practise in crowded homes and informal settlements.

  • Families that no longer have any income from work are terrified they will starve - and some already are.

When COVID-19 reached overcrowded or hard-to-reach neighbourhoods, the actions of some governments - including violent crackdowns on workers and a failure to ensure a stable food supply - give us serious cause for concern about the way in which the most marginalised have been and will be treated.

LONGER-TERM IMPACTS OF COVID-19 ON THE WORLD’S POOREST CHILDREN COULD PROVE CATASTROPHIC

Beyond the immediate effects of COVID-19, we are also extremely concerned by the longer-term impacts which marginalised children may be forced to endure.

 

As evidenced by previous global crises, there are disproportionate impacts on vulnerable groups, making worse the inequalities which already existed. Child labour and exploitation have increased in their wake, for example, especially when governments impose 'austerity' measures and tighter restrictions on human rights as we are already seeing with COVID-19.

Governments and international institutions have called for various measures to support the world’s poorest countries during the COVID-19 pandemic, but hard commitments, actions and financial resources remain woefully inadequate. Amounts confirmed to date represent a tiny fraction of the trillions of dollars committed by the world’s wealthier countries to supporting the richest corporations and countries. In fact, many of the companies eligible for such funding have robbed citizens of their public services by avoiding paying their fair share of taxes for years. This is unacceptable.

IF LEADERS ACT NOW, THE LIVES OF HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF CHILDREN COULD BE TRANSFORMED

Children and young people will be repaying the cost of COVID-19 for decades to come. If this money is used to protect all of us equitably, we could turn a potentially disastrous situation into one where children are free, safe, and educated - and governments would be delivering the commitments and promises they have already made to their citizens.

To achieve this, governments must dedicate a fair share of funding to children who have been consistently excluded from public services and protection, in particular education and health, wherever in the world they may live.  

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OUR CALL TO ACTION:

We are calling on governments to take immediate action to protect the most vulnerable children now, and to prevent a child and youth rights catastrophe in the near future. This has to be a combination of new actions based on an emergency response to COVID-19, and actions to deliver some of the core Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - to which every government has already committed.

 

TO GOVERNMENTS OF HIGH-INCOME COUNTRIES:

We are calling for financial commitments worth $1 trillion to fund and deliver targeted interventions to protect the world’s poorest 20% of children from the short- and medium-term impacts of COVID-19. These funds should be used to:

 

TO GOVERNMENTS OF LOW- AND LOWER-MIDDLE INCOME COUNTRIES: 

We are calling for a fair share of public services and financial resources to children who live on $2 a day or less. This should be delivered in the following ways:

  • Using emergency aid financing from the World Bank and other multilateral institutions to ensure emergency healthcare services for poorer and rural communities for the duration of the global pandemic, and to allocate domestic budget to maintain accessible public healthcare to meet the SDG 3 targets by 2030.

  • Maintaining or providing reliable clean water in areas which currently do not have access to a regular supply for the duration of the global pandemic, and deliver infrastructure and maintenance to meet the SDG 6 targets by 2030.

  • Protecting the supply of food for all parts of their country throughout the duration of the pandemic.

  • Providing emergency financial support to families with no income throughout the duration of the pandemic and to strengthen or establish social protection schemes for the most marginalised children by 2025.

 

TO ALL GOVERNMENTS: 

No country will ever be able to provide good quality, sustainable public services and protection without receiving their fair share of taxes, but every year over half a trillion dollars is lost by multinational companies dodging their taxes. We are calling for international efforts to deliver global reform to tax systems, in order to enable low-income countries to fund medium-long term measures to prevent an escalation in the number of children entering child labour or exploitation and dropping out of school in the wake of COVID-19, particularly given the negative impact it has already had on low-income economies. This should be delivered in the following ways: 

  • Ensuring that any company which fails to pay its fair share of taxes in the countries in which it operates is ineligible for financing from COVID-19 bailout funds during and in the immediate period after the pandemic.

  • Ensuring all taxation systems are transparent, including by closing tax havens, by 2030.

  • Making progress towards a globally inclusive mechanism for setting tax regulations to end tax avoidance.

ACTION: HANDS UP FOR THE 1 IN 5!

We can make governments listen to our demands if we take action together. To help you do this, we've created an action pack with all the information you need, including tools to join our social action, Hands Up for the 1 in 5. 

Our campaign icon is a hand with a coloured thumb to represent the 1 in 5 (20%) most marginalised children and young people who must be prioritised by governments and decision-makers in their responses to COVID-19. The pack provides information, templates, and ideas to take part in the campaign, as well as ways to use your hand to demand action from your local decision-maker. 

 

CONTACT YOUR DECISION-MAKER

Your local political representative can take your demands to your national government - but we all need to put pressure on them to make sure they take action. You can download our template letters here to contact your decision-maker, and make your demands loud and clear!

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'WHEN WILL EVERY CHILD HAVE JUSTICE?' RALLIES 2019

Young people have a long and proud history of questioning power, and of refusing to give in until justice is achieved. Inspired by youth-led campaigns such as March for Our Lives, Fees Must Fall and Fridays for Future, student and youth activists from across the world met in Ghana, June 2019, and decided to join forces and stand together on the following same date to demand every child has justice. In schools, colleges, universities and communities they loudly and boldly asked the question “when will every child have justice?” by creating an iconic protest banner.

We also created a  toolkit that gives you more information about some of the world's most marginalised children, and  helps you to understand why we need to act to end this exclusion. It's also packed with ideas on what you can do in your community to get people involved in the campaign - from how to raise awareness, to how to create your own protest banner.         

Watch the video to see a selection of the rallies organised by young people across the world to demand their right to be free, safe, and educated. Rallies were held in Belgium, Brazil, Burundi, Chad, Chile, Germany, Ghana, India, Kenya, Liberia, Sierra Leone, United States and Zimbabwe ahead of Human Rights Day in 2019.