Global March Against Child Labour: From Exploitation to Education
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Global March Against Child Labour
Global March Against Child Labour - From Exploitation to Education
Child Laborers Question MDGs at UN Summit
New York, Sept 13, 05
Senator Christovam from Brazil and Kerry kennedy, Human Rights activist from New York

Twelve year old Suman, a former child slave now turned into anti slavery youth activist questioned the genuineness and honesty of the world leaders converging in New York on 60th anniversary of the United Nations. He said that since childhood he has heard about the commitments made to the children but none has yet been fulfilled resulting into half his life he remained as child slave. He expressed the view that child labor perpetuates poverty from one generation to another. Suman has presented the Delhi Declaration which came out of the Second Children's World Congress on Child Laborers held in New Delhi, India last week a unique gathering of 200 former child laborers and youth activists from around the world.

David a fifteen year old child from Peru who used to work as rag picker for four years in Lima shared his life as a child slave together with Rebecca a fourteen year old former car washer turned child activist. They profoundly demanded that child labor elimination is the first step towards achieving education & empowerment and is the only solution to end poverty.

Ad Melkert Dutch Executive Director from The World Bank and Kailash Satyarthi with children

In a rare gathering of world leaders, liberated child slaves jointly voiced for the immediate elimination of child labor as it is the biggest impediment in the realization of any of the eight development goals. They met at a round table discussion on Child Labor Education and MDGs at New York coinciding with the 60th Summit of the United Nations on September 13, 05. The event was organized by the Global March Against Child Labor together with Global Campaign for Education, Child Labor Coalition of United States and International Center on Child Labor and Education from Washington D.C.

Speaking on the occasion Mr. Kailash Satyarthi said that United Nations has achieved the rare distinction of failing the children of the world numerous times, how ever the most significant occasion has been the 1950's UN Declaration on Human Rights which included right to education as a fundamental right, 1990 the UN Child Rights Convention which guarantees putting and end to exploitation and injustice on all children of the world, the Jomtien Declaration 1990 which committed Education for All by 2000. Now it has failed in realization of one of the most important MDG as well as, one of the six Dakar goals on education to bring gender parity in education by 2005. Mr. Satyarthi warned that if the UN does not act now then it will loose its moral ground for existence.

Senator Christovam Buarque, the former Education Minister in the Lula Government, Brazil and initiator of the first income transfer programme for compensating family of child laborer to attend full time school (Bolsa Escola) demanded three dimensional action, reinterpreting the education goal with interlinking child labor, debt swap for education with income transfers programme for mothers of children withdrawn and brought to school, and children and youth involvement and leadership in the fight against child labor. Mr. Ad Melkert, Dutch Executive Director at the World Bank and former Dutch Minister of Social Affairs, Labor and Employment, expressed optimism in the increasing partnership amongst Governments, civil society participants and inter governmental institutions. He strongly advocated that none other than child labor is a cross cutting issue in tackling poverty, illiteracy, infant immortality, environmental degradation or other MDGs. He therefore urged all the Governments to incorporate child labor as integral component of the MDG's. Other distinguished speakers present on the occasion were noted human rights activist Kerry Kennedy, Head of ILO Human Rights Programme Lee Sweptson, Regional Representative of International Confederation of Free Trade Unions Raj Shekharan.

All the Speakers were of the firm opinion that the MDGs and child labor are intimately linked. The links are mostly straightforward and tend to run both ways. Poverty and lack of education provision constitute the principal common grounds. Indeed, it is poverty associated with social injustice and social exclusion that is most closely related to child labor. The absence of child labor from the MDG framework is a regrettable omission that needs to be corrected with a sense of urgency if the intent is to achieve the MDGs.

Global March Against Child Labour - From Exploitation to Education

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