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“Raise your voice whenever you see a child in distress”

Kailash Satyarthi’s Homecoming Address

14 December 2014, New Delhi

Soon after arriving from Oslo after being conferred with the Nobel Peace Prize, Kailash Satyarthi addressing the media at Constitution Club of India said “I have no words to express my gratitude to my country and countrymen. Whatever I am today is because of you and the great culture, traditions and values of my motherland, India. We know that there are millions of children across the world who are victims of exploitation and violence. In spite of all the progress and technological advancement that we have been able to make, the painful paradox that stares in our face is that children are still compelled to lose their childhood and their future. I always say that a single child in danger anywhere means that the whole world is in danger everywhere. If a girl in any village, town, city or anywhere for that matter is not able to walk around freely then the world is not civilised enough.

I have had the privilege to work with many people. Today in India and the world, I see change and hope knocking our doors. All we need is to listen to this reckoning and act now. The most important thing that I have imbibed from the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, is that he has successfully been able to transform a political movement into a social movement. Likewise, friends, I urge all of you to transform the compassion for children into a global movement. Today, we need to globalise compassion.

I am grateful to India’s vibrant democracy that gives space to each and every one to raise a voice. I cannot thank our judiciary enough for pronouncing landmark judgments upholding children’s rights. I am also grateful to the media which has always acted independently and promptly to bring to the fore the issues concerning children of our world. The greatest credit for this honour today goes to the blessings of the mothers and fathers whose children we have been able to rescue and restore. 

Today the Nobel Peace Prize brings along with it tremendous moral responsibility on me and every citizen of my country. For the sake of the most vulnerable and deprived children and for the sake of God, I appeal to you to raise your voice whenever you see a child in distress. Child labor, sexual abuse, trafficking, slavery, denial of education and the insecurity under which the children reel are all violence. I request you to shed your silence and neutrality. I call upon the polity, the governments, the trade unions, the teachers unions, the businesses, NGOs and all other stakeholders across the world to stand up for the rights of the children.

Friends, it gives me great pride in saying that today the world is recognising the real power of India. We need to come together in creating an India that is more prosperous, more knowledgeable and high on morals. The core value of our soul is ‘Vasu deva Kutumbakam’. We believe that the whole world is our family and now is the time for this family to march ahead and make this world much safer, happier and peaceful for all children.”