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Mandela, Annan, Gates urge world to "Say Yes" for children

Mandela, Annan, Gates urge world to "Say Yes" for children

An unprecedented global pledge campaign on behalf of children - led by an array of international personalities such as Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan and Bill Gates - begins today in London and numerous other locations worldwide.

Called "Say Yes for Children," the campaign will reach every part of the globe to rally people behind ten overarching principles to protect and promote child rights. More than a simple sign-up campaign, the effort will focus on the serious issues children face today and is intended to galvanize action at all levels of society, from political leaders to ordinary citizens.

"Here is an opportunity to let leaders throughout the world know that we expect them to act, sooner rather than later, to ensure the rights of every child," said former South African President Nelson Mandela. "And to each one of you who is hearing about this campaign, I remind you of your own power and obligation to make the world a better place for children."

The 10 principles of Say Yes build on the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the most ratified international human rights treaty ever, and the 1990 World Summit for Children, where nations committed themselves to specific goals for children and young people. The goal of Say Yes is to build a groundswell of support that will push leaders to live up to these commitments at September's United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Children.

"The Special Session will indeed be a special moment in history - a time for world leaders to commit themselves to specific actions to help the children of the world," said UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. "Say Yes for Children is an opportunity for all of us to show them the way, and to give visibility and a voice to the children who need it most."

The 10 principles are the following: leave no child out; put children first; care for every child; fight HIV/AIDS; stop harming and exploiting children; listen to children; educate every child; protect children from war; protect the earth for children; and fight poverty: invest in children. They were developed by the Global Movement for Children, a broad-based coalition of organizations and individuals dedicated to children's rights and well-being.

Founding organizations include the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), PLAN International, Save the Children, Foundation, World Vision and the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee.