Youth leaders worldwide host an online reality-check on the unequal global response to COVID-19 during the 75th UN General Assembly.
"Young people have the right to make demands from our leaders. We are not just statistics. We are this world's future. We deserve more." Anisha Agarwala, 100 Million US youth activist
Just 0.13% of the world's financial response to COVID-19 has been allocated to multilateral appeals that support the most marginalised children and their families. This response is immoral, unjust and will cause an unprecedented child and youth rights crisis in the wake of the pandemic. Yet if world leaders commit to ensuring a #FairShare4Children, just 20% of the first 'economic stimulus package' for the 20% of children living on $2 or less a day, over 70 million lives could be saved.
Today, youth and student leaders demonstrated their anger at this injustice by hosting 'Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is', an online reality-check on the unequal response to COVID-19, during the 75th UN General Assembly. This event formed part of the united youth call for Justice for Every Child, which aims to prevent a child rights catastrophe happening as a result of the global pandemic. Almost 1000 people participated or have watched the event so far.
The statistical and financial evidence makes plain to see that the most vulnerable children have been left behind in the international response to COVID-19. But youth activists are witnessing for themselves the reality of the devastation caused by governments failing to protect the most marginalised communities from the worst impacts of the pandemic. They have seen increased poverty, hunger, violence, and expoitation - and they demand action.
Edgleison Rodrigues, a youth activist and member of the 100 Million Brazil national youth committee expressed his frustration about the lack of support for young people despite the increased violence that young people are enduring. "Every kind of violence continues happening during this pandemic. We need to fight against all violence that affects children, and this battle should be a commitment of everybody: civil society, governments, and companies."
Latin America has been hit hard by COVID-19, and in countries like Peru, where huge amounts of the population work in unprotected, informal employment, extreme poverty is hitting children hard. Maria Alejandra Chinchay Cáceres, a youth activist with 100 Million Peru, demonstrated that children are already being forced into the worst forms of child labour as a direct result of the pandemic. "In Puno region, almost 18,000 students have dropped out of education. At least 76% did it due to economic reasons. It has been reported that former students are leaving their homes to work in the mines."
Former child labourers, children on the move, national and international student leaders, community youth activists, and young people with disabilities - from across Asia, Africa, Europe, North America and Latin America - were united in their call for immediate change in the attitudes and priorities of their governments. Their biggest fear is that a lack of action will result in the loss of an entire generation of young people - not from the virus itself, but from the lack of care for their protection from the impact of the pandemic.
Sebastian Berger, VP of the European Students' Union and 100 Million Trustee summed up the united resolution of young people: "Calling out this injustice is a global imperative. We will continue to stand together until justice for every child is served."
The full list of speakers during the event:
Kailash Satyarthi - India - Nobel Laureate and Child Rights Activist
Kerry Kennedy - USA - Human Rights Activist
Maisha Reza - UK - Chairperson, Commonwealth Students' Association
Peter Kwasi Kodjie - Ghana - Secretary General, All Africa Students' Union
Sebastian Berger - Austria - Vice President, European Students' Union
Ewelle Williams - Liberia - 100 Million Youth Activist
Ashura Michaels - Kenya - 100 Million Youth Activist
Manahil Nazir Ahmed - Pakistan -100 Million Youth Activist
Omondi Eric - Uganda - 100 Million Youth Activist
Krati Maheshwari - India - 100 Million Youth Activist
Edvardas Vabuolas - Lithuania - OBESSU Committee Member
Alanna Mangueira - Brazil - 100 Million Brazil Youth Board Member
Amar Lal - India - Child Rights Lawyer & 100 Million Trustee