Millie Bobby Brown tells UN summit about toll taken by bullies

UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Millie Bobby Brown addresses a global summit at United Nations Headquarters in New York on 20 Nove
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Millie Bobby Brown addresses a global summit at United Nations Headquarters in New York on 20 November 2019, joining children and young people the world over in demanding action to protect and promote child rights. 20 November has long stood as an important day for the rights of children — and advocacy for those rights — globally. In 1954 the United Nations established Universal Children’s Day (UNICEF’s World Children’s Day), designating 20 November as an annual day for the promotion of international togetherness, the fostering of awareness among children worldwide, and a platform to push for the improvement of the welfare of all children. On 20 November 1959, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. Thirty years later — and thirty years ago — on 20 November 1989, world leaders made a further historic commitment to the world’s children by adopting an international agreement on childhood – the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Since its adoption, the CRC has helped improve the lives of millions of children through the progressive realization of rights and fulfilment of obligations enshrined within the Convention and its Optional Protocols. Children across the world have been recognized as individual holders of those rights inherent to the human dignity of all people. Children have equally been recognized as having the right to special protections and safeguards from those that constitute the duty-bearers in their lives and communities. The commemoration of CRC at 30 is a moment for bold action to ensure we leave no child behind, and to support every child to reach their full potential in fulfilment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Millie Bobby Brown and David Beckham have called on world leaders to uphold children’s rights.

The stars, who are Unicef Goodwill Ambassadors, hosted a global summit at the UN headquarters in New York.

Stranger Things actress Brown, who at 15 is Unicef’s youngest Goodwill Ambassador, spoke about an issue that is “very personal to me. Something that so often goes unnoticed – but causes real suffering. Bullying.

“Like David, I’ve been very lucky in my life. I take nothing for granted. But I also know what it feels like to be vulnerable,” she said.

David Beckham
David Beckham addressed a global summit at UN headquarters (Unicef/PA)

“At school, I was bullied by a group of students. I remember feeling helpless. School used to be a safe place. Now I was scared to go.

“I was lucky. With the help of my friends, family and people around me, I was able to overcome these negative feelings and take my power back.

“But millions of children aren’t so lucky. They’re still struggling in the darkness. Wrestling with fear. With insecurity.”

Brown said: “Bullying and online threats are never harmless. Never just words. It puts children’s mental health at risk. It causes stress.

“And in the most extreme cases, and in areas around the world where conflict and violence are daily threats, it can lead to self-harm. Sickness. And even suicide.”

“In my role as Goodwill Ambassador, I will continue talking about this issue wherever I go.”

Speaking on World Children’s Day, she called for “real change… policies, programmes, laws and investments that keep children safe.”

Beckham, 44, said in his speech:  “As leaders, as public figures, as parents, and of course, as human beings, we must do more to protect children’s dreams. Because the future doesn’t belong to us.  It belongs to children.”

UN member states have been asked to align themselves to a Global Pledge promising to renew their commitment to the Convention On The Rights Of The Child and implement child rights fit for the 21st century.

Unicef’s executive director Henrietta Fore said: “Around the world, children and young people are taking the lead and demanding urgent action on the issues they care about, like the climate crisis, the rise of mental illness and the lack of opportunities.

“This World Children’s Day provides world leaders with a momentous opportunity to heed these calls and recommit to the rights of every child, now and for future generations.”

More information on Unicef UK’s World Children’s Day is at


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