Let's Improve Our World
Declaration Against Racism and Child Labor
Here is a wide-ranging declaration from the Global March Against Child Labour.
Every day children are born into a world where racism and discrimination limit their future choices. Children from minority and indigenous groups and from lower castes are denied the right to an adequate quality education and a happy childhood, solely due to their race, ethnicity, colour, caste, or social origin. Instead many have to work under atrocious conditions as bonded labourers, child servants and child prostitutes. These unfortunate children are caught behind invisible walls of ignorance, discrimination and hatred.
Racial discrimination and child labour perpetuate each other. The children of minority and indigenous communities are born into a vicious cycle of poverty in which they are forced to work since their parents cannot afford their education and depend on their extra income. Denied their right to education, these children are bound to stay illiterate and vulnerable unless we take action to break the cycle of poverty and provide them with an empowering education. These children, and in turn their own children, will all be victims of discrimination unless we face this challenge now.
We strongly feel that quality education for all children without discrimination is an essential way to eliminate racism and other forms of discrimination. Moreover, special emphasis should be given to the situation of minority children within the broader efforts to end child labour.
Therefore, the Global March Against Child Labour calls for:
** The world community to recognise that child labour and denial of education are vital links in the chain that perpetuates racism and discrimination
** Civil society to eradicate the belief among majority social, ethnic and racial groups that minority children are born merely to work
** ILO, UNICEF, UNHCHR and other UN Agencies to make the elimination of child labour of minority children one of their top priorities for action
** National commissions against racism and other forms of discrimination to address child labour among minority children as one of their key issues
** National programmes for the elimination of child labour to pay particular attention to protecting minority children from child labour and providing them with quality education
** Organisations fighting against racism and other forms of discrimination to make special efforts to prevent child labour and the denial of education to children of minority groups
** Governments and communities to make all possible efforts to ensure that the children of minority groups fully enjoy their right to quality education, including: addressing inequalities in funding, training, and support for schools in areas dominated by minority groups; addressing the issue of high drop-out rates among students from minorities; ending the use of corporal punishment in school, noting that it has been selectively used to suppress minority children; ensuring the full enforcement of compulsory education laws, noting that the non-compliance with these laws leaves minority children outside the education system; providing anti-racism training for teachers to ensure that no child is discriminated against at school; teaching all students to understand and respect racial, social, ethnic and religious differences; providing scholarships and financial assistance as needed to support the education of children from minority groups
** Governments to enact and enforce strict penalties to deter employers from using children of minority groups as a source of cheap labour
** Governments to take effective action to remove racism and bias among labour inspectors, and to appoint and empower representatives of minority groups as child protection officers to prevent the exploitation of minority children
** Governments and civil society to eradicate the practice of using children from minority groups as domestic servants, noting that it perpetuates a belief of superiority among children and adults of the majority group and feelings of subservience among children of the minority group
** Governments and civil society to inform all children of minority groups of their rights as children and human beings, and to establish effective mechanisms for them to defend those rights
** Governments to uphold their promise to provide rehabilitation, education and financial assistance as needed for children from minority groups removed from the worst forms of child labour
** ILO and UNHCHR to research and publish a report on the exploitation of children of minority groups as child labourers
** National census surveys and other research efforts to report on the exploitation of minority children as child labourers
** Media to investigate the economic exploitation of minority children and bring this issue to the attention of the public
** IMF and World Bank to be held accountable for their policies and actions that perpetuate child labour and lead to the exploitation of minority children
** Governments to give priority to promoting employment opportunities and the economic development of families of minority groups
** Governments to report annually on the per capita amount spent on education and social services for minority children, and to ensure that this is no less than the amount spent on children of the majority groups
** All governments and people to pledge that children from minority groups will enjoy their full rights as the children of one united human race
The Global March Against Child Labour represents over 2,000 partners in 140 countries.
What's your opinion on this declaration? Did it leave anything out, or did it say too much? What's the next step? Tell your views to The Progress Report:
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