During the 100 Million Global Youth Meeting, participants from youth-led organisations agreed the following statement to commemorate the Day of the African Child and demand governments act on their commitments to all young people to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals.
We, the participants from Africa, Europe, Asia and South America, attending the 100 Million campaign meeting in Accra, Ghana, wish to join the rest of the International Community to commemorate the Day of the African Child.
We recall that on June 16, 1976, nearly ten thousand black students from Soweto, South Africa, marched the streets to protest the poor quality of their education. Their peaceful demonstration was met with brutality from the security forces resulting in the shooting of many innocent, defenseless and unarmed students.
And during the two weeks’ protests that followed, dubbed the Soweto Uprising, more than a hundred children and young people were killed, and thousands of others sustained injuries.
The Organisation of African Unity (OAU) now African Union (AU) declared the Day, in 1991, as the African Child Day to pay tribute to victims of the Soweto Uprising and recognise the courage of students who marched for their rights.
More than 4 decades later, 262 million children are still out of school, being denied their basic right to education. This remains unrealised because of lack of access and ancillary issues such as violence or chaos existing in the country.
We also stand in solidarity with our fellow students and young people around the world who continue to face imprisonment, exile and violence for standing up for their rights and academic freedom.
We, recognising the transformational power of education, strongly urge governments to take a critical review of the current state of achieving SDG 4 by 2030 and pay special attention to ensuring the most vulnerable have access to free and quality education.
Lives were lost on this day 44 years ago; lives are still being lost today for a right that is not yet realised. How many more lives are we willing to lose before we implement change?
June 16 2019, Accra, Ghana
Peter Kwasi Kodjie – All African Students’ Union (AASU)
Angel Mbuthia – All African Students’ Union (AASU)
Robert Napier – European Students’ Union (ESU)
Edvardas Vabuolas – Organizing Bureau of European School Student Unions (OBESSU)
Winnie Nyandiga – Commonwealth Students’ Association
Moustapha Younous – National Students’ Union of Chad (UNET)
Ashlegh Pfunye – Zimbabwe National Students’ Union (ZINASU)
Francklin Roméo Sawadogo – National Youth Council of Burkina Faso
Ciara Fanning – Irish Second-Level Students’ Union (ISSU)
Gerald Musabanganji – Burundi National Students’ Union
Frederikke Veirum Høgsgaard – Danish National Union of Students (DSF)
Ana Júlia Ribeiro – 100 Milhões Brasil
Frida Romero – 100 Millones Perú
Dorina Diesing – Bread for the World Youth
Al fayed Tchagnao – World Association for Orphans (WAO)
Amar Lal – Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA)
Daniel Altman – European Students’ Union (ESU) & Global Campaign for Education (GCE) Youth Representative