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Satyarthi on Children Day eve: Save childhood

PTI 14 Nov 2014, 7:11:55 AM IST

New Delhi: Calling child trafficking the ‘worst form' of human rights violation, Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi made a strong appeal to ‘save the childhood' of every child.

On the eve of the 125th birth anniversary of the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, celebrated nationwide as Children's Day, Satyarthi said it is imperative that the society takes care of the right to education, health and freedom of every child.

"Child trafficking is the worst form of human rights violation. It makes me cry when children are taken away and sold cheaper than cattle," he said.

NHRC Chairperson Justice KG Balakrishnan, who also spoke during the interaction organised by NHRC during its two-day National Seminar on Prison Reforms, said that the society is in ‘complete denial' on the issue of child labour.

"The fact that large number of child labourers continue to work in factories and elsewhere do not seem to affect us. All these we completely deny," he said.

Noting that it was only in the beginning of the 1990s that the concept of child rights came to exist, Satyarthi said that it was otherwise couched in the package of "charity".

"When I started working during the initial eighties the concept of child right didn't even exist. There was no child labour law in India until 1986. Although it was only after the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) came into effect that the concept made a shift from charity to rights," the Nobel Peace Prize winner said.

Terming it as a period of ‘paradigm shift', he said that it was then that the discourse on child labour and rights were beginning to be viewed from the "human rights prospective".

60-year-old Satyarthi, was on October 10 named for this year's Nobel Peace prize along with Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai. He has been working for child rights for over 30 years through Bachpan Bachao Andolan, the NGO which is credited with freeing over 80,000 child labourers across India.