18 August 2005, New Delhi - The Second Children’s World Congress on Child Labour and Education was officially launched around the world on 18 August. One year after the first Children’s World Congress on Child Labour in Florence, Italy, Global March Against Child Labour is organising the Second Children’s World Congress on Child Labour and Education in New Delhi from 4-8 September 2005. This congress is hosted by Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA).
The Chairperson of the movement, Mr. Kailash Satyarthi, Rajya Sabha Member B J Panda, Nandita Das acclaimed actress and social activist, representatives from Indian Partner organisation, Indian child delegates and participants of the Second Children’s World Congress along with other dignitaries are participating in the event.
More than 200 children, mainly former child labourers from Asia, Africa, Europe and America will participate in the Second Children’s World Congress. These children are representing not only 246 million children working as child labourers, but also the 115 million children who have never set a foot in school in their childhood. Majority of children participating in the Congress are former child labourers and those who have been denied a right to free quality education. These children not only tell the tale of exploitation, but also show the hope of a brighter and better future.
“Last year brought a great event to my life. I, together with several other children from Russia, were invited to take part in the Children’s World Congress on Child Labour, which was held in Italy! It was for the first time that I went abroad, for the first time in my life so many people from different countries listened to me”, says Renata Bogomolova from Russia.
Every child involved in child labour is a testimony to perpetration of a crime by a society run by adults and failure of the governments to provide good governance. It is this that drives Global March Against Child Labour to call children onto a common platform to decide their future. And therein lays the uniqueness of the Congress. Drawn from the most marginalized sections of society from different countries, these children provide richness of ideas to deal with the problems they have experienced and reach out to the rest of their brethren to root out the problem of child labour through advocacy and implementation of free quality education for all.
“While marching in over 100 countries in 1998 during the Global March millions of children categorically said ‘NO’ to child labour and the international community endorsed it by making a new international law. Despite 154 countries having ratified Convention 182, one in six children in the world today still works instead of attending school. So these children do not want to listen and believe in hollow promises of the world leaders any more. They demand action ‘NOW’,” says Mr. Kailash Satyarthi, the Chairperson of the Global March, reaffirming children’s role in applying pressure on policy makers to eliminate child labour and provide quality education. “The world cannot ignore the reverberations of the collective voices of the children when they gather in New Delhi this September.”
The Second Children’s World Congress is the platform for not just exchanging of views and experiences for the children but also a platform for ushering in change. These children are elected representatives of their peers from their respective countries and are leaders in their own right. Through the various child workshops during the Congress, the children would assert the kind of world they want as legacy.