Dear members, partners and supporters,
Greetings from the locked-down New Delhi!
Hope you all are keeping safe and are trying to follow all precautionary measures outlined by the World Health Organisation and your Health Ministry, amidst the COVID-19 crisis. These are indeed unfathomable and very challenging times for all of us and currently, it is Global March Against Child Labour’s highest priority to ensure that all our staff, colleagues, members, partners and the Board are taking all measures to protect themselves, their families and communities. In the midst of such a global health crisis, it has become very clear that healthcare for all is a non-negotiable human right and therefore must be enjoyed by each and every citizen of this world, irrespective of social status, income, ethnicity, class, group, gender or age.
Given that many governments across the world have ordered for a complete or partial lockdown of cities and rural areas as a measure to combat this deadly virus, it has also rendered vulnerable populations at the maximum risk to this pandemic; especially those in low incomes, homelessness, in slums, daily wage workers, migrant labourers, refugees, orphaned youth, people with disabilities, the elderly, women and children. Like many other health emergencies, COVID-19 is also said to be impacting men and women differently, worsening the gender inequalities and discrimination faced by marginalised groups including girls and women. As a collective movement, we would like to express our solidarity to those affected the most and reaffirm our commitment to support you and other network members in this joint fight against this viral health calamity.
Whilst we are working from the protection of our homes, we are also constantly worrying not only about the child labourers, but all those children and their families who are living on the margins without proper sanitation and healthcare facilities. As a responsible civil society member, we, therefore, encourage all our members to work alongside your governments, communities and other stakeholders in the implementation of the measures stipulated to combat this problem and also contribute in sanitation and hygiene awareness. Wherever required, take initiative or contribute in providing for relief materials as well as psychosocial and emotional support to the children and their parents. Even though we are practising physical distancing, let us not refrain from connecting socially and emotionally with people through technology and other means.
Knowing that COVID-19 has already disrupted the global economy and the on-going work of the governments in combatting socio-economic issues such as child labour, human trafficking, modern slavery; the researchers at Delta 8.7 suspect that it will further heighten the risk of already exploited, increase the risk of exploitation, including child labour and disrupt response efforts.
We, therefore, encourage you to propose realistic solutions and recommendations to the government, to ensure that the impact of economic slowdown, shutting of businesses and schools and halt in cash flow amongst citizens; do not push more people into the cycle of poverty, exploitation, hunger, unemployment, out of school. We also hope that you will be able to present solutions for the protection of the ones already in exploitative condition, along with making the governments accountable for the lack of preparedness in the situation of global emergency.
As we mourn all those who have lost lives and applaud the efforts of those who are on the frontlines, let’s continue moving forward with positive resolve, optimism and a sense of togetherness in these grave times; leaving behind stigma and prejudices towards any community or population group. To ensure we all keep motivated and encouraged, we are happy to hear your thoughts, solutions and recommendations around this and discuss it within the network. Please feel free to share anything related to the said- above at firstname.lastname@example.org
We are in this together. Let’s fight it with the spirit of ‘human rights first’.
Stay safe, stay protected and take care.
Global March Against Child Labour Family