Asunción 2015

Final declaration of the IX Meeting of the Working Children and Youth of Latin America and the Caribbean (MOLACNATs), Asunción, Paraguay, 01 to 07 March, 2015

"We, the working children and youth of Latin America and the Caribbean, greet with joy and fraternity all the peoples of the world, especially all working children and youth, on the occasion of the IX Latin American Meeting in Asunción-Paraguay. MOLACNATS (Movimiento Latinoamercano y del Caribe de Niños y Niñas y Adolescentes Trabajadores) is now more than 35 years old and currently includes movements from nine countries. During this time, we have fought for our rights and maintained our continuity by passing on experiences between adults, young people and children and from generation to generation.

As part of our meeting, an International Forum on "Childhood and Work, Two Nodes in Deep Change" took place on 2 and 3 March at the Ibero-American University. Here we had the opportunity to debate, exchange life experiences and find time for a critical assessment of our work.

We appreciate the struggle of our compañeras and compañeros in the Bolivian movements for a new law for children and youth that recognises us as workers and gives us more security against exploitation. However, in our critical evaluation we have also found significant gaps in the law. We hope that these will be eliminated in the implementing provisions with the participation of working children and young people.

A representative of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) took part in the international forum by video link at our invitation to a respectful exchange. As he did not respond to our questions and suggestions, we do not see any progress in the dialogue we expected, but we continue to strive for it. We reject the ILO concept of "child labour" because it focuses exclusively on exploitation and thus creates confusion. We demand that our right to work in dignified conditions be recognised.

We also welcome the participation of the Rapporteur on the Rights of Children and Youth in the Ibero-American Commission on Human Rights. We are particularly pleased that she has not equated child labour with exploitation and has called for a differentiated approach.

We also welcome the participation of social organisations, public and private institutions, as well as students and staff from different countries who have joined the struggle for the rights of working children and youth (NATs) in Latin America.

During the meeting we analysed, debated and finally designated CONNATS in Paraguay as the new secretariat of MOLACNATS for the next three years (2015-2018). It consists of four working children and young people, an exclusive secretary and an adult staff member. CONNATS is a grassroots movement of working children and young people that constantly participates in the political process in Paraguay by participating in joint actions of all movements of the popular sectors.

In accordance with our strategic planning, we have drawn up an action plan for the next three years (2015-2018). It includes specific tasks that we will implement during this period. Accordingly, we will continue to fight for the promotion and defence of the rights of working children and young people, and to work for a society characterised by equality and respect for human rights, based on the principles of "buen vivir" (good life).

We congratulate the compañeras and compañeros from Ecuador that their organisation Ecuavyfnats (organisation of Ecuador which stands for the strength and virtues of working children and youth) is now a permanent member of MOLACNATs. We emphasize that since 2008, Ecuavyfnats, as a social movement, has already been committed against programmes for the "complete elimination of child labour" and has supported and defended the rights of working children.

We strongly ask why the criminalisation of youth, poverty and social movements, especially of farm workers, does not stop.
In the case of Paraguay, we call for an end to the expropriation and expulsion of agricultural workers and join their demand "No land, no work, no life".

We accuse that in Argentina, as in other neighbouring countries, children and young people from poor areas continue to be stigmatised and killed by the police. In particular, we emphasize our solidarity with the students and teachers in their struggle for justice for Johana Chacón, 15 years old, who was abducted and made to "disappear" in 2012. We hope with them to find her alive again.

In the case of Mexico, we join the protests against the murder of our thirteen-year-old brother José Luis Tlehuatle Tamayo by the Puebla State Police, which has remained unpunished to this day. The government refuses to comply with the recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission of Mexico and to initiate effective judicial proceedings. In accordance with a proposal made at the solidarity event at the "Museum of Remembrances", we are participating in the campaign to support the case through letters to Mexican embassies around the world. We reiterate our wishes and commitment to Mrs. Elia Tamayo, the mother of José Luis, who attended our meeting, to her family and to the compañeros accompanying the case in Mexico.

"¡Los NATS lo dicen y tienen la razón, SÌ al trabajo DIGNO y no a la explotación!"
"The NATS say it and they are right, yes to work with dignity and no to exploitation!"

"¡Alerta, alerta, alerta que camina, los NATS organizados por América latina!"
Watch out, people - it will go on, the organized NATS for Latin America!

Updated: 14.12.2020