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India Launches Liberation Caravan (Mukti Caravan) Against Child Labour

India Launches Liberation Caravan (Mukti Caravan) Against Child Labour

The launch of Mukti Caravan

Kailash Satyarthi (Chairperson of BBA & Global March), I.P Anand (Employers' representative ILO Governing Board), Simon Steyne (Worker member ILO Governing Body and ILO Workers' Group spokesperson on child labour, Global March IC Member), Ravi Prakash Verma (MP) and N. Adyanthaya (Vice President INTUC and Worker member ILO Governing Body)


Harjot Kaur, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Labour And Employment

Shahid Meezan, Director, Minister of Labour and Employment

Simon Steyne and Kailash Satyarthi flagging off Mukti Caravan

Children of Bal, Balika and Mukti Ashram performing

New Delhi, 10 October 2006 - Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Global March Core Partner in India) flagged off a liberation caravan at Shram Shakti Bhawan, New Delhi jointly with Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India and ILO, as part of its month long, nation-wide campaign “From Work to School”. Ms. Leyla Tegmo-Reddy, Director and ILO Country Representative, India, Ms. Victoria Rialp, Head of Child Protection Unit in UNICEF, Shri Ravi Prakash Verma, the Member of Parliament, Mr. Shahid Meezan, Director in Minister of Labour and Employment, Ms. Harjot Kaur, Deputy Secretary, Mr. Simon Steyne, Worker member of the ILO Governing Body and ILO Workers’ Group spokesperson on child labour, Mr. IP Anand, employers’ representative in ILO Governing Board, Mr. N Adyanthaya, Vice President, INTUC and Worker member, ILO Governing Body, Mr. Kailash Satyarthi, the Chairperson of Bachpan Bachao Andolan & Global March Against Child Labour, civil society representatives and a large number of former child labourers and activists were present on the occasion.  

The Mukti Caravan is a mobile campaign of former child labourers trained in folk art and street theatre. They will not only raise awareness and sensitize the people, but will also create enabling environment for effective enforcement of the notification. The Mukti Caravan would travel from Delhi to Mumbai and on the route, would organize on the spot activities, to mobilize and sensitize people against the heinous offence of employing children and denying their rights to education.   

BBA chairperson Kailash Satyarthi welcomed the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement expressing Government’s resolve to eliminate child labour as a major step forward in recognition of the “invisible” slavery of the child domestic labourers and a movement to end all forms of child labour by the government. Bachpan Bachao Andolan is committed to join all the forces, especially with Government in realizing the objectives. Satyarthi called upon the Government to ensure effective implementation of law by empowering and training the labour inspectors to verify and identify the child labourers in the houses and other places. The law does not permit them to do so. Kailash Satyarthi also asked for a coherence policy and action between various government agencies and schemes including Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Mid Day Meal scheme, NCLP, Indus etc. to enforce effective law enforcement and rehabilitation of children. The Government must also seek cooperation of all stakeholders in providing rehabilitation and education to children.  

As per Government figures, 185,000 child domestic labourers and another 75,000 children in dhabas etc. out of total number of 12.59 million child labourers exist in the country. However, non-government figures claim that 60 million children are employed full time, including 10 million in dhabas and another 10 million children as domestic help workers.  

Simon Steyne brought greetings from the international trade union movement. He stressed that the struggle against domestic child labour was at the top of the agenda of the ILO Workers’ group and it was important to recall that girls were the majority denied freedom and education in this type of illegal work. He welcomed the Indian Government’s notification and echoed Kailash Satyarthi’s view that without effective, universal coverage of well-trained and child –friendly labour inspection, the law could not be properly enforced. Education was a human right for every child and was also the key to sustaining more equitable development in India’s booming economy. He called on all actors to join the alliance to make the law work for the children and the nation.