David Beckham will ask world leaders to end abuse and violence towards vulnerable and disadvantaged children when he speaks at the United Nations next week.
The former footballer and married father-of-four, who is a goodwill ambassador of Unicef, said a recent visit to Cambodia had moved him to take action.
The 40-year-old star explained: “When I visited Cambodia with Unicef earlier this year, I spent time with children and young people who have experienced terrible violence and abuse often at the hands of the people who were supposed to protect them.
“Their stories were deeply distressing and as a father it is devastating to think that any child should have to suffer like this.
“After listening to these incredibly brave children and hearing about the abuse they have endured, I want to make sure that world leaders act to protect children from danger. Every child, especially the most vulnerable, should be safe.
“That’s why I am going to travel to the UN this September, to make sure that children’s voices are heard and that the world comes together to stop violence against children.”
Beckham, who launched his children’s charity 7: The David Beckham Unicef Fund, has already backed a letter signed by 18 child survivors of violence, including those in South Sudan, Iceland and Pakistan.
He will issue a plea to ask leaders to put children at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals – the new 15-year development agenda that will be adopted at the United Nations General Assembly this month.
The former England footballer, who is married to Victoria, continued: “In February, when I launched my new fund with Unicef, I made a promise to speak out for the world’s most vulnerable children and to help shine a light on the issues affecting them.
“It is shocking that every five minutes a child dies as a result of violence. Children are being abused in their homes, schools and communities and this has to stop.
“I hope others will join me to call on world leaders to put children at the heart of the new goals and commit to ending violence against children.”