We, the representatives of the organisations of working children and young people from nine Latin American countries (Bolivia, Peru, Argentina, Ecuador, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Guatemala and Paraguay), met in the city of Asunción from 12th to 18th August 2018 to celebrate the Xth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Meeting of the Working Children and Youth of Latin America and the Caribbean At this meeting, under the motto "United in the struggle for the protagonism and protection of working children and all other children", we discussed the situation of Latin American children and young people, especially working children, together with our companions, and communicate the following results:
- In Latin America and the Caribbean, there have been significant regressions in the rights of the entire population, especially working children and young people, since the arrival in power of governments with pronounced authoritarian characteristics and no sensitivity to the social reality of those of us who inhabit that continent.
- For years, the struggles of social movements have been winning rights and achieving public policies that enable the unprotected sections of the population to obtain better living conditions, but we run the risk of losing these rights and remaining without protection in the unequal situation in which we live.
- We are concerned and alarmed by the significant increase in poverty and corruption in recent years. This is worsening the living and working conditions of our families and of ourselves as working children and young people, with the result that many of us will not be able to have a plate of food and access to our rights.
- Within the framework of our X. Meeting, we held an International Seminar on Protection Systems and Experiences of Involvement of Child and Youth Organisations at the Ibero-American University of Asunción on 14 August, where we were accompanied by prominent local and regional leaders in the field of childhood and youth. We understood that these systems are important for the protection of rights in the different countries and that it is necessary to fight to make them work well. That is why we say that they must include the voices, views and proposals of the organisations and movements of children and young people in the different countries and highlight their protagonism so that they are not just bureaucratic bodies that do not respond to the reality of the countries.
- We see that in Bolivia progress has been made in public policies and in the participation of the social sectors to guarantee their rights. For example, we have also succeeded in adopting a law on children and young people which recognises working children and young people. However, this law was declared unconstitutional and thus erased what our organised comrades had achieved. We therefore call on the Bolivian authorities to rectify this situation. We expect the social movements in this country and throughout Latin America to support us in this struggle.
- We are concerned that the new government of Paraguay is criminalising young people by offering them barracks in response to poverty, thus violating its commitment to fulfil the rights of children and young people.
The delegations of the countries represented at our meeting are vigilant and in constant mobilisation for our rights. We demand that governments and their policies do not fall behind the rights recognised in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
We reaffirm that we continue to fight for the full exercise of our rights, which must be guaranteed by States.
For these reasons, we have decided to continue the Secretariat of the Latin American and Caribbean Movement of Working Children and Youth in Paraguay for the period 2018 - 2021.
- Argentinia: La Veleta y la Antena de Mendoza, La Asamblea Revelde de Buenos Aires and Casanova en Movimiento de Buenos Aires.
- Bolivia: National Union of Working Children and Adolescents of Bolivia - UNATSBO
- Columbia: Organization of Working Children and Adolescents of Colombia - ONATSCOL
- Mexico: Melel Xojobal-AC from Chiapas and the Organization Comunalidades Vida y Dignidad from Mexico City.
- Guatemala: Organization of Working Children and Adolescents - ONNATs
- Peru: National Movement of Organised Child Workers of Peru - MNNATSOP
- Ecuador: Ecuador Virtues and Strengths of Working Children and Adolescents - ECUAVyFNNATs
- Venezuela: Regional Coordination of Working Children and Adolescents - CORENATs
- Paraguay: National Coordination of Working Children and Adolescents - CONNATs