On 12th June 2009 - World Day against Child Labour on the theme 'Give Girls a Chance – End Child Labour'
We recognise that:
India continues to have the world’s largest number of child labourers with many trafficked into labour. Large numbers of girls are deprived of their rights due to them being engaged in domestic child labour in third party homes and domestic chores in their own homes, childcare and agriculture. Girls are also sometimes forced into prostitution and pornography.
Pervasive discriminatory attitudes towards girls threaten their very existence in society. Those girls who make it into the world face illiteracy, anaemia, malnutrition, early marriage, violence and exploitation leading to violation of their rights at every stage.
Acknowledging the extreme gravity of the challenge, we call for urgent action to:
- Fully implement the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 including children in domestic labour along with the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 and the 2006 amendment thereof;
- Recognise as harmful and cease all those forms of work rendered by girl children at homes, on farms and in all other places of work, which deprives them of their right to education in full time formal schools;
- Ensure that girls are not married before the age of 18 years as specified by the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006; - Ensure legal rights so that all children, especially girls, participate in free, universal, quality education to escape poverty, realise dignity and freedom and play a full role as informed citizens;
- Implement special strategies for girls’ education to support those out of school and at risk of dropping out to come back and succeed in the formal schools. Ensure a safe child-friendly school and community environment for all children and especially girls;
- Increase community-based quality early childhood services to help girls and all children get the right start in life and be prepared to succeed in school and to ensure childcare for working mothers so that the girl child is not kept from school to take care of young children;
- Encourage and facilitate partnerships between and amongst government agencies, employers’ and workers’ and their organizations, and civil society to pursue convergent action;
- Invest wholeheartedly in education in full time formal schools for all children up to secondary education, with special attention to girls. This is indispensable for the attainment of all other rights of children;
- Ensure that the response to the current global financial and economic crisis includes prioritizing poor and vulnerable households to protect both the gains in education and slippage of children into child labour;
Every girl child has the right to survival, healthcare and education; to be protected from abuse and exploitation and to form and have her views considered. Every girl child has the right to grow up without discrimination.
Every child has the right to achieve her/his full potential, so we have the duty to value, respect and support them in achieving it. The development of the country depends on it.