To mark the start of Anti-Bullying Week 2012, UK charity BeatBullying is mobilising hundreds of thousands of young people from around the world, together with celebrities, politicians, charities, businesses and communities to launch The Big March 2012, the world’s first global virtual march for children’s rights.

Beatbullying is calling for people around the world to support The Big March 2012, which will take place on 1st March 2012: from Manchester to Mumbai, from Naples to New Orleans, from Jerusalem to Johannesburg, and from Budapest to Brasilia.

Predicted to last up to two days, the march will culminate with the delivery of a petition to the United Nations Building in New York; asking the United Nations to explicitly enshrine ‘bullying’ in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). This will help to protect children all over the world from the pain and distress of bullying and harassment. If successful, it will be the first time that the Convention has been updated in over 10 years.

Governments and world leaders who have ratified the Convention are bound to it by international law and are therefore obliged to introduce and implement measures and legislation which serve to protect children. The addition of ‘bullying’ to the UNCRC will give weight and legitimacy to the demands of children, families, schools, and communities who want to build a world where bullying is unacceptable.

The Big March 2012, builds on the success of 2010’s award-winning campaign that saw a million parents, teachers, young people, celebrities and MPs sign up to support the UK campaign. Beatbullying delivered a petition to a virtual 10 Downing Street, asking for the Government to protect children and young people from all forms of bullying and harassment. It resulted in an offline deputation with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, where Beatbullying delivered its recommendations.

With over 135,000 supporters already signed up to The Big March 2012, including celebrities as diverse as Katherine Jenkins, Twiggy, Sir Michael Parkinson, Jedward, top girl band The Saturdays as well as Beatbullying ambassadors Pixie Lott and Aston Merrygold, Beatbullying anticipates over two million avatars, all representing actual protesters, taking the world wide web by storm by the time the march commences.

UK brands and charities such as Nominet Trust, Barry M, Robinson Fruit Shoot, Orange and Girlguiding UK have already been joined by global organisations, including Facebook, Universal Music, Stardoll and Habbo, with Beatbullying anticipating the support of numerous more international brands, business and third sector groups to allow The Big March 2012 to make a stand on their websites next year.

Emma-Jane Cross, CEO of Beatbullying, said:

“Violence amongst young people across the world is at epidemic levels. We have a child protection crisis on our hands, and we have a duty as global citizens to unite and insist that world leaders, politicians, communities and families stand up and take action.

“Thousands of young people have taken their own lives as a direct result of being bullied. This must stop.

“I believe that every child has the right to a life that is safe, dignified and free from violence and bullying.

“We’re asking for the support of parents, teachers, young people, businesses and communities from all corners of the globe on The Big March 2012.

“Together we can make a difference to children’s rights with the largest globally connected digital take over the world has ever seen.”

Aston Merrygold, Beatbullying ambassador, said:

“Making someone feel scared or threatened is disgusting but bullying happens the world over and it is wrong.

“I never thought I would be affected by bullying but I was, and as a Beatbullying ambassador I know how important it is that young people get the support available at CyberMentors.org.uk and know that they are not alone.

“Bullies mustn’t get away with it. We need to make sure the world’s children are safe from bullying and abuse, so this year I’m taking part in Beatbullying’s The Big March 2012, to stop bullying around the world for good – join my avatar and march with thousands of others on the world’s first global virtual march.”

With more corporate, charity and celebrity partners set to be announced, organisations interested in partnering with The Big March 2012, can get involved by contacting the charity directly on 0208 771 3377/ hello@beatbullying.org, and those who want to create their own avatar to join the march on the 1st March 2012, can sign up at www.beatbullying.org/bigmarch.

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