Teenage Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg was awarded the International Children’s Peace Prize, given away by the Dutch KidsRight organisation for her contributions to raise awareness about climate change.
She shared the award with 15-year-old Cameroonian peace activist Divina Maloum, who was bestowed the honour for her peaceful struggle against the radical extremist group Boko Haram.
The prize was given away this year at the Hague by 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi, who is a renowned child activist himself.
Thunberg was not able to collect the prize in person as she was crossing the Atlantic by boat on her way to attend the international climate conference in Madrid, Spain. Thunberg doesn’t fly because of the negative impact that flying has on the environment.
However, she sent a message saying she was “incredibly grateful and honoured for this prize.”
“The climate crisis is the peace issue of our time,” said German climate activist Luisa-Marie Neubauer who picked up Thunberg’s prize on her behalf.
“We took on the streets for action and the truth is, today after one year of striking, the life of every child on this planet is threatened,” she added, criticising the inaction of world leaders on the issue.
Meanwhile, Maloum, in her acceptance speech said, “In Cameroon and Africa, when talking about peace-building, children are forgotten by the decision makers.”
“I invite my fellow children around the world to rise their voice,” she said, urging children across the world to raise their voice against violence.
What is the International Children’s Peace Prize?
According to its website, the International Children’s Peace Prize is given away to “a child who fights courageously for children’s rights.”
The prize was launched by KidsRights during the 2005 World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates at the Capitol in Rome, chaired by Mikhail Gorbachev. KidsRights is an international children’s aid and advocacy organisation headquartered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
The prize has been presented every year by a Nobel Peace Laureate.
It also awards a prize money of 100,000 euros, which is invested in projects linked to the causes supported by the winners.
Previous recipients of the award include Malala Yousufzai, a Pakistani schoolgirl who campaigned for girl education and empowerment.0