Kailash Satyarthi, Chairperson, Global March against Child Labour received the 25thInternational Alfonso Comín Award. For the efforts to end child labour, condemning systems that require children to work, both at the global, national and regional levels, and exerting pressure to achieve political changes and jointly developing policies and actions to achieve a unified response to child labour, illiteracy and poverty.
The 25th International Alfonso Comín price-giving ceremony took place on 18th November 2008 in Barcelona, Spain. Ignacio Ramonet, Director of Le Monde Diplomatique Chief Guest of the ceremony said that there are 218 million children who are being exploited trafficked as child soldiers, child labour, prostitutes across the world but yet there are people like Kailash Satyarthi who are building this hope and who are there to acknowledge the problem and have shown the solution to world that the change is possible. This award is an effort to highlight such efforts.
Maria Lluïsa Oliveres, Director of the Foundation Alfonso detailed the work of the Foundation in these 25 years, with a special mention to the meaning for the Foundation of those 25 prizewinners. All of them are the testimonies of real life, of limit situations, of victims of the injustice who fight tireless for a more just and human world. "It was been a privilege met them and the fact they want to share with us their reality" said Mrs. Oliveres reading the verdict of the jury:
"International Alfonso Comín Award XXV edition to
Global March Against Chaild Labour
For its efforts to end child labour, condemning systems that require children to work, both at the global, national and regional levels, and exerting pressure to achieve political changes and jointly developing policies and actions to achieve a unified response to child labour, illiteracy and poverty.
Global March works to mobilise public opinion against the broader injustices contributing to child labour, urge States to ratify and enforce existing laws and put pressure to use national and international resources to support education for all children.
After receiving the award Mr. Kailash Satyarthi recalled that Global March Against Child Labour is a movement born out of hope and the need felt by thousands of people across the globe - the desire to set children free from servitude. The march, which started on January 17, 1998, touched every corner of the globe, built immense awareness and led to high level of participation from the masses. This march finally culminated at the ILO Conference in Geneva. The voice of the marchers was heard and reflected in the draft of the ILO Convention against the worst forms of child labour. The following year, the Convention was unanimously adopted at the ILO Conference in Geneva. Today, with 169 countries having ratified the convention so far, it has become the fastest ratified convention in the history of ILO. A large role in this was played by the Global March through our member partners.
"We must change attitude," Kailash Satyarthi explained, and then spoke of "the impoverishment of human solidarity" schooling for a child costs 380 U.S. dollars per year, bringing a man to war, 23,000. "With one and a half days of military expenditure could solve the problem of education, which is key weapon to fight against exploitation," he said.
About the Award
The Alfonso Comín Foundation grants an international award every year to individuals or groups of people who have been prominent in their struggle for justice, freedom, peace and human rights. Over the years the award has been given to the Nicaraguan People through its Chancel lor Miguel d'Escoto (1984), Father José Mª de Llanos S.J. (Madrid) engaged in the struggle on behalf of the poor (1985). It was also awarded to Nelson Mandelawhen he was still in prison and received on his behalf by a family member and the representative of the African Congress in Europe (1986). Other recipients have beenLeonardo Boff (Brazil), liberation theologian (1987), the Palestinan People, and as a worthy representative of its cause, the former mayor of Nablus, Bassam Al-Shaakaa (1988), the University of Central-America in San Salvador and its rector Ignacio Ellacuría S.J., murdered in El Salvador together with five Jesuits and two women ten days after receiving the award in Barcelona (1989),Alexander Dubcek, Prague Spring leader (1990), the innocent victims from the Irak People during the so-called Gulf War (1991), Pedro Casaldàliga, bishop of São Félix do Araguaia, Mato Grosso, Brazil (1992), the Bosnian city of Tuzla and the editors and employees of the Oslobedenje newspaper in Sarajevo (1993), the displaced children of the Sudan war (1994). Abbé Pierre (Paris), founder of Emaús Ragpickers (1995), Salima Ghezali, Algerine chief editor of the weekly, "La Nation" (1996),Vandana Shiva, Indian scientist committed to the ecologist and feminist movements of her country (1997),Sola Sierra, chairwoman of the Association of Families of the Detained-Disappeared of Chile (1998), the Kurdish people (1999), the "Andalucía Acoge" Pro-Foreign Immigrant Federation (2000), the Landless Workers' Movement (MST) of Brazil (2001), The Jerusalem Link(2002), Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) (2003), SOA Watch (2004), Chema Caballero (2005), Gregorio López Raimundo and José María Díez-Alegría (2006) and the Iraqi Maha Al-Hadeethi(2007). The International Alfonso Comín Award is a prestigious award both nationally and internationally.