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Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi plans campaign for child rights

MINNEAPOLIS, US: Seeking to globalise compassion, Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi plans to launch a major initiative that will enlist support of other Nobel prize winners and world leaders for the cause of neglected and abused children.

'The Laureates and Leaders Initiative for Children' will be initiated by the Kailash Satyarthi Children's Foundation which aims to bring Nobel laureates from all disciplines and not just the Peace Prize winners as well as world leaders together to use their "moral authority" for children's rights and fight against child slavery and trafficking.

Satyarthi, 62, who shared the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize with Pakistani girls' rights activist Malala Yousafzai, 18, is also working on an ambitious '100 million for 100 million campaign' that will bring together 100 million youth from across the world to channelise their energy for fighting for the rights of the nearly 100 million children who are left out and are denied basic rights like education and proper healthcare.

Satyarthi said he plans to launch the '100 million for 100 million' campaign by end of this year.

"I aways believed in globalising compassion. This time I want to engage an entire generation. We should not waste the energy, enthusiasm, eagerness and the idealism of our youth," Satyarthi told PTI in an interview here.

In the city to headline the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Forum, he said the energy of the youth should be harnessed and channelised for the betterment of the 100 million young people who do not have the same opportunities to grow and learn.

"They must feel that they have some moral responsibility and obligation towards the 100 million children and youth left out,"

Satyarthi said he wants to launch the 100 million campaign along with 'The Laureates and Leaders Initiative' which will be a global campaign based in India.

Explaining his reasoning behind the initiative, Satyarthi said after he won the Nobel prize, he realised that while the intellectual and academic knowledge of Nobel winners in other disciplines such as chemistry, physics, literature, economics and medicine had been utilised to advance human history, their "moral authority and outreach" had "not been utilised and harnessed for children."

In his conversations with other Nobel laureates about child slavery and education, Satyarthi felt that these Nobel winners, who had been so dedicated to their individual disciplines, can also contribute tremendously for the advancement of child rights.

"I started talking to them to join an initiative of laureates from all disciplines and not just the peace prize winners, as well as some of the world leaders like former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Former Brazilian President Luiz Lula da Silva," he added.

"I wanted to bring those forces closer for the cause of the neglected, abused and exploited children," he said adding that he is in contact with several global leaders and laureates and President of India Pranab Mukherjee would be the patron of this initiative," he said.

The Laureates and Leaders would be a new initiative and platform of moral power for the betterment of children along with the 100 million for 100 million campaign, he said.

While Laureates and Leaders will be initiated by Satyarthi's foundation with support from other individuals and institutions, the 100 million campaign would be a partnership initiative that will engage universities, youth student organisations and teachers associations to build global citizenship.

"The idea is to build this campaign to advance the value of global citizenship among young people. Nearly 100 million children are left out and are denied their basic rights, freedom, education and healthcare, Satyarthi said.

But there are 100 million young people across the world who are full of energy, enthusiasm and have tremendous idealism and hunger to prove themselves and do something for the good of the society and the world," he added.

The campaign would primarily use social media for the purpose of sensitising people, building awareness about causes, petitioning, creating demands on governments and international community and asking corporates to ensure no child labour, child slave or trafficked youth is involved in their supply and production chains.

It will also bring citizens together to be petitioners, change makers and leaders for those 100 million children left out. Through the campaign, students, teachers and the youth can join to pressurise the government through peaceful demonstrations to prioritise children in their policies, schemes, programs and budgetary allocations, he said.

"We are also trying to build the value of non-violence and peace together with global citizenship in young people," he said.

The Forum provides an important international platform focusing on the work of the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, as well as leading peacemakers and peacebuilders.

Over the course of the three days, Satyarthi will join leaders and experts on issues related to child slavery in conflict and commercial sexual exploitation.

The forum will also host dialogue sessions led by members of Satyarthi's organisation 'Bachpan Bachao Andolan', the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Asset India Foundation.

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