ProNATs e.V. Association to support working children and adolescents
Final Declaration from the South and Central Asia Convergence of Working Children, Kathmandu, Nepal, 25th to 27th August 2005
Over 40% of the world’s population are children. Amongst them an estimated 350 million are working children, with 60% of these children working in the Asia and Pacific region. The situation of working children in South Asia is thus even worse. The conditions of working children are more or less common in all countries in South Asia and Central Asia.
We recognize that 2004 is a remarkable year for the working children’s movement in South and Central Asia, as well as strengthening the international movement of working children. In tackling the issue of Child Labor, we are increasingly taking the lead through series of meetings and discussions at national and international levels.
Sri Lanka and Tajikistan have joined our Asian Movement making even stronger.
As a result of 3 days of discussions and interactions, we have strengthened our Asian movement, with a special focus on South and Central Asia.
We believe we can face our challenges collectively with the strength of our past experiences and our united efforts. This has come to an enormous opportunity for us to share and learn how to confront the issues.
Kathmandu 25th -27th August 2005 declare the following resolutions that are agreed upon by the undersigned children’s representatives.
We think it is bad to eliminate child labor without appropriate alternative. Eliminating child labor completely. At the same time children involved in hazardous work like drug dealing, trafficking, pornography, prostitution, smuggling and children in armed conflict should be rescued and rehabilitated with proper alternative options as soon as possible. There should be defined laws and regulations should determine the timeframe for work-which should be protected by law.
Respectfully, paid work with minimum wage; and standard and equal opportunity of quality education without discrimination. However, we should not accept the most hazardous forms of work which is detrimental to our survival and development.
We recognize that it is not good quality education, violence and humiliation at school.
We recognized that the South and Central Asian Children common problems in our living and working children in this region have both good and bad experiences in our lives.
Amongst the good things that it brings to us is our livelihood and survival needs; and meet health support for self and family. Sometimes the work we do gives the skills and training. By working to learn to cope with the challenges and hostility. Work so gives us self dignity, feelings of solidarity, pride in resolving some of our family problems, for example, repayment of loans taken by our parents.
At the same time we find many painful experiences which are common to all working children in South and Central Asia. Shared some of those experiences. Many people are involved in hazardous work, many of them are at risk of meeting serious accidents and amputations. Because sometimes it brings more money to meet our extreme poverty and other times because no other options are available. Working children all over South and Central Asia are more exposed to abuse and abuse by adult employers. Street children face typical street hazards like being at the risk of false accusation of theft. Employers never look at the cause why children have to work. On top of this, economic exploitation; discrimination including gender discrimination; physical, sexual and mental torture and exploitation; and feelings of insecurity are common in South and Central Asia.
Although there are laws and acts on children and children in South and Central Asia, these are not always congenial towards children. We are never consulted while formulating laws and policies. In particular, children from the so-called ‘untouchable’ caste and ‘indigenous’ groups who comprise the majority of children, face extreme discrimination.
The laws are not clear to the uneducated community and some members of the law are not aware of the law.
However, in the given scenario we have the history of the movement and getting organized by ourselves in South and Central Asia. Some of the movements in South and Central Asian countries have become integral to the process of developing the children’s own movement throughout the world. Movements like Bhima Sangha, Bal Mazdoor Union, National Movement of Working Children in India, National Forum of Working Children in Nepal, National Forum of working Children in Bangladesh, PRWSWO in Pakistan, and National Working Children‘s Forum in Sri Lanka have been effective influencing the formulation of laws and policies. They have influenced and contributed effectively to generating like minded movements in other countries. Working children are getting organized in the regions.
We have been revisiting the history of the International Movements, so we have learned about the background and processes that started in Kundapur which has come to Kathmandu. We pay our solidarity to that long journey. We therefore share the values and principles of working children’s movements in which working children themselves are taking the lead and are committed to continue to be a part of them.
When we are back and we want to help other children to form their organizations, we want to make our national movements even stronger.
Children from National Working Children’s Movements:
National Working Children’s Movement, Bangladesh
National Movement of Working Children, India
National Forum of Working Children, Napal
National Committee on Working Children, Sri Lanka
Children Coming from Other Organizations:
Bhima Sangha, India
Bal Mazdoor Union, India
Pakistan Rural Workers Social Welfare Organization, Pakistan
Refugee Children and Vulnerable Citizens, Tajikistan
Kathmandu, 28 August, 2005.
Recommendations from participating children for future action
At the national level:
- At country level we should involve the community in solving our problems.
- The government must list and incorporate children’s views while formulating laws and policies.
- In each and every police station there should be a separate cell to deal with children‘s issues.
- Drama, rally, etc. INGOs and NGOs and international organizations should support us.
- To enforce the good aspects and remove the bad aspects of the laws.
- Promote skill development training.
- Promote Awareness on Child Rights among children.
At the Regional / international level:
- We need a very strong movement at the Asia level. Against whom all other forms of discrimination. A strong movement and a voice can be made against the laws of any kind, at the country level.
- So we should have a Secretariat in South Asia. There should be child representatives in each country. The representative can meet at regular intervals. So we want to develop a monitoring mechanism to ensure that the child leaders are working properly. When we are stronger then we will not discriminate against again, and we will spread the movement to other countries.
- At the country level a minimum but uniform standard for both informal and formal sector should be decided at national level.
- We want to lobby the SAARC Secretariat to take care of the issues and agendas of working children
- The Laboratory should be submitted to the Department of the Government for proper monitoring.
- We need more opportunities of such ‘Convergences’, where we can express our views freely and find solutions together.
At the International Level:
- We should connect ourselves with working children moments of other countries and solve our problems collectively. We are more likely to be stronger and more effective when we are concentrating our efforts collectively in a single voice / platform.
- So we want to draw adult support in fighting our problems.
- The discussions at the national level should be disseminated at the national level.
- There should be a rescue of children in hazardous working conditions.
- We need a strong forum at South and Central Asia through which we can confront our problems.
- To form an international child court / ombudsmen for working children.
- Child Labor Issues and to reflect our situation and context in its true sense for programs to be effective.
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