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Partnership with Global March

We have been successful in building a worldwide movement against child labour and in favour of education. We are proud of our major accomplishments in the adoption of a new international law to stop the worst forms of child labour, as well as its ratification in 154 countries. Child labour and education are now a global agenda, but the story is far from over. As you are reading these worlds there are 250 million children toiling as labourers with two-thirds of them languishing in the extreme forms of labour exploitation, slavery, trafficking, and prostitution. Last year we rescued a dozen young Nepalese girls, trafficked, enslaved and abused in an Indian circus. Bhavna (name changed) was one who had lost all sense of childhood, freedom and joy at 13 years of age. The bright young girl blames her mother’s illiteracy and ignorance, for putting her thumb impression on paper, which she could not read while Bhavna was being trafficked some years back. Bhavna wishes that this should not be repeated in the lives of generations to come, but she feels it is too late for her to learn to read and write, as she is no more a child. This is the saga of millions of boys and girls across the world not only in the southern countries but also in the industrialised world.

 

Over 15,000 organisations- NGOs, unions, religious bodies, youth organisations, development organisations, etc, supported the physical Global March to happen in 1998. Of them about 2000 became core partners of Global March worldwide coalition. Through this worldwide coalition arose a global voice against child labour that has played a pivotal role in lobbying with governments.."

As thousands of Global March partners and supporters as well as civil society and state actors are putting their efforts to stop exploitation of children, an environment of hope is created. This has also resulted in dreams and demands from amongst the child labourers. The young domestic worker Ashraf from India wants to fly in the skies as a pilot. Mexican flower seller Cynthia dreams of becoming a manager in a corporation, while South African Jerry when given a chance to learn soccer, dreamt of playing for his national soccer team. How such dreams of millions of young victims of servitude, trafficking and other worst forms of labour exploitation will come true. Who will help them to turn into leaders of tomorrow and in writing their destinies with their own hands, if not you and me?

 

Over 15,000 organisations- NGOs, unions, religious bodies, youth organisations, development organisations, etc, supported the physical Global March to happen in 1998. Of them about 2000 became core partners of Global March worldwide coalition. Through this worldwide coalition arose a global voice against child labour that has played a pivotal role in lobbying with governments and international organisations for policy change on child labour and education. Partners and supporters have been Global March’s greatest strength in putting the issue of child labour on the forefront of global agenda. The huge support base of Global March has been instrumental in collation and sharing of knowledge on child labour and education for all. These and many more advantages of Global March membership have sustained the Global March worldwide coalition.

 

However, there are many new and urgent challenges in front of us. First among them, is to maintain the momentum and pressure on the governments and parliaments in each country for a genuine and speedy implementation of the ILO Conventions to combat child labour and also the successful application of the Dakar Framework of Action on Education For All, especially to provide free, quality and compulsory education to all children. Secondly, the critical qualitative participation of civil society in the planning, implementation and monitoring of these international instruments and treaties has to be ensured. Thirdly, to bring a strong component of child labour eradication in the realisation of the Millennium Development Goals. Many of you may be aware that all governments of the world, rich or poor, have pledged to achieve the goals of poverty eradication, universal primary education, gender parity in education, reduction of child mortality, improved maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS and other diseases, ensuring environmental sustainability, and developing global partnership for development by 2015. The heads of the states of 189 countries would attend the MDG summit scheduled for late September. However, if child labour is not addresses properly and seriously none of these goals would be realised, therefore, Global March must play a key role in this regard. Finally, most of the governmental, inter-governmental and non-governmental efforts on child labour eradication, education for all and poverty alleviation are happening more or less independent of each other. Global March has developed the theory of Triangular Paradigm and has successfully brought the international actors on these issues onto two round tables in 2003 and 2004, and has made them agree to institutionalise their collaborations. This has to be translated into action at local, national and international levels.

 

In this context, the International Council of the Global March movement has decided to go for a partial formalisation of the movement in a constitutional framework of membership-based organisation. It is needless to elaborate more on the importance and urgency to meet all these challenges as a strong and cohesive movement; therefore I call upon you to become a real and true partner and leader as a Global March member.

Kailash Satyarthi... the seeker of truth
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