We, the world movement of working children and adolescents from Africa, Asia and Latin America, can look back on the experience of many years of organisation of working childhood.
We have gathered in the city of Berlin for our second world meeting with the aim to consolidate our world movement, think about and analyse the social, economic and political situation in which millions of boys and girls of the world are in and propose actions and alternatives that honour a working childhood and improve their situation.
Children and youths (up to the age of 18) from Africa, Asia and Latin America have joined together in our movement. We live in rural and urban areas where we are employed in various occupations. We work e.g. as shoe-cleaners, merchants, street vendors, rubbish collectors, domestic workers, agricultural workers, factory workers, in workshops or we do the daily house work at home. Furthermore, we create forms of dignified work deriving from our organisations that make it possible for us to show society political, economic and social relationships that are just and solidary.
We value our work and view it as an important human right for our personal development. We oppose every kind of exploitation and reject everything that hurts our physical and moral integrity. In our lives our work allows us to resist with dignity the economic, political and suppressing model that criminalizes and excludes us and continues to worsen the living conditions of ourselves, our families and our communities.
With our organisation we practice protagonism and fight for our recognition as social actors so that our voices be heard in the whole world. This we do out of self-motivation. We demand from governments to take our interests into consideration in their laws and create a worthy and just society with us.
We are part of a social movement that is fighting for a worthy and just world, we demand our protagonist participation in decision processes and fight against the causes of poverty and for the full recognition of our rights and our cultural and ethical values. Furthermore, we are against all kinds of discrimination. We want to make possible the happiness of a childhood, that, together with adults and the whole society, finds its way to create a large house for everyone out of this world.
We oppose all policies that the current neo-liberal system forces upon us. They plunge our countries into poverty by privatising basic services such as health care, education and leisure and they destroy our cultures. We denounce the large multinational companies that view children only as consumers, not as living spirits and transformers of society. We are against all policies, measures and decisions that create and perpetuate exploitative child labour. We oppose all wars and aggressions that children experience in the world and which bring about death and pain to millions, just as we worry about the destruction of our environment.
We refuse to participate in actions that are against dignity and life as a highest value. We want adults to view us as persons and as social actors who are important for constructing a planet that is free from all aggression because we see ourselves as ambassadors of hope and dignity.
We denounce the policies of the ILO that aim at abolishing children’s work. The ILO has failed to understand the realities of working children and the viable alternatives to exploitative labour. We want to discuss with international child-rights and labour organisations so that they recognize our solution proposals for our problems as well as our organizational process. For this reason we also denounce the organisers of the “Global March Against Child Labour” because they are undermining our dignity as working children and jeopardizing our rights. They are trying to create confrontation with boys and girls from the same reality as ours.
With our second world meeting we reaffirm our will to continue constructing a world movement, that not only fights for, defends and promotes the rights of working children, but of children in general.
We thank the adults and organisations that believe in us, stand aside us, promote with us our rights and share with us our desire for happiness and our hope for a better world.
YES TO DIGNIFIED WORK – NO TO EXPLOITATION
BECAUSE WE ARE NOT THE PROBLEM BUT PART OF THE SOLUTION
SO THAT OUR VOICE BE HEARD IN THE WHOLE WORLD
Berlin, May 2nd 2004
Signed by the representatives of the world movement of working children and adolescents.
Feleciano Ignacio Sambimbi; Angola
John Phiri; Zimbabwe
Sandra Avoce; Benin
Jean Marie Nkurunziza; Rwanda
Sophie Amelia Faye; Senegal
Awa Niang; Senegal
Tambaké Tounkara; Guinea
Gilbert Maurice Ouedraogo Zoewendsaongo; Burkina Faso
Awa Kangaye; Niger
Antonio Infanda; Guinea-Bissau
Anuj Chowdhuri; India
Raju Kumar; India
Manjula Muninarasimha; India
Salah Uddin Master; Bangladesh
Feroz Nasir Ahmed; Afghanistan
Shankar Dahal; Nepal
Saranchimeg Bayaraa; Mongolia
Enkhjargal Myagmarsuren; Mongolia
Angie Rocio Diaz Plazas; Columbia
Lina Paola Martinez Reyes; Columbia
Lisandro Cáceres Guevara; Peru
Jacy Jussara Ore Paima; Peru
Jhon Ricardo Botello; Bolivia
Valera Yajaira del Carmen Silva; Venezuela
Jaqueline Valeria Saint Anne; Chile
Joel Aquino; Paraguay
Pura Limpia Concepción Gonzalez Zayas; Paraguay
Edwin José Pérez García; Guatemala
Raúl Pérez Rivera ; Mexico
Mari Cruz Pérez Ortiz; Mexico