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Liberian Teenager: Keita Inspires his nation wins International Children's Peace Prize

Lydia Smith/Jos Garneo Cephas
Liberia's latest  International Peace Prize Winner, Abraham Keita
Liberia's latest International Peace Prize Winner, Abraham Keita

(’s Abraham Keita, a 17-year-old activist has been awarded the 2015 prestigious award of the International Children's Peace Prize.

From ‘West Point’, one of Africa’s biggest slump communities in the heart of Monrovia City, Liberia, Keita was presented with the award for demanding justice for child victims of violence and for successfully campaigning for the Liberian parliament to adopt a children's law.
"Together with my peers I have successfully lobbied for children's rights laws, but the now need to be put into practice”, Abraham said on receiving the award.

"Children worldwide are still exposed to violence and injustice while thugs often so 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."

The International Business Times quoted Abraham Keita at a ceremony held in the Hague,  November 9, 2015 when he received the prize from Leymah Gbowee, a Liberian who in 2011 won the Nobel Peace Prize for her non-violent struggle for the safety of women during the country's peace-building process.

The International Children's Peace Prize is an initiative of Kids Rights and has awarded for the 11th consecutive year. The previously International Children's Peace Prize was given to Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai.

Since 2008, Abraham has played a prominent role in the Liberian Children's Parliament, organizing peaceful demonstrations and petitions, and lobbying successfully for children's participation to be funded directly from the national budget.

He also pushes for free quality primary and secondary education for all children.

Keita has also pushed the Liberian government to pass national legislation on children's rights. In 2012, Liberia became one of the first African countries to adopt comprehensive laws for children, the Children's Law, incorporating both the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and the African Charter.

Master Keita was nominated by Desmond Tutu, a patron of charity KidsRights and the prize. Ten inspiring children have who won and received the prize; they include Nkosi Johnson, who fought for the rights of children with Aids, and Yousafzai, who won the  International Children's Peace Prize in 2013 before going on to win the Nobel Peace Prize a year later.

Yousafzai is one of many to congratulate the 17-year-old on his award, saying: "We are happy to welcome Abraham Keita to the Youngsters. Together we will continue the fight to improve children's rights and advocate for an immediate end to violence against children."

Since its inception, the Children's Peace Prize has grown to become the international recognition for children standing up for their rights and has inspired over one billion people worldwide.


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