deplorable condition is not the doomed fate of children
Soraya Shahabi, Chair Person if Children First
undeclared and unofficial all out war across the world millions
of children have fallen victims to wars, poverty, greed and
profiteering, hunger and disease, religion and backward customs
has declared that currently around 250 million children are
forced to work simply to feed their families and themselves.
International Labour Organisation (ILO) has stated that in
China alone over 13
million children between the ages of 10 and 14 are forced to
work. ILO also reports that each year 10,000 children are sold
into slavery in western and central Africa. In Avery Coast the
price of child-slave to work on the farms is
between $50 to $75.
children in Nepal, 25% in Bangladesh, 44 million children in
India, 12 million in Nigeria and 200,000 in Thailand are part of
the work force in world.
according to the press, 25% of family income is generated by
Millions of children are exploited in the sex trade and are
annual turnover from children sex trade is estimated at $5
International Food Agency has announced that over 300 million
children are suffering from hunger.
million children are suffering from AIDS.
extend of children abuse at the hands of the clergy men within
the Catholic church establishment in America and Europe brought
to light this year has shocked the public.
year over two million child-girls are genitally mutilated in
Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Somali and Sudan.
Djibouti and Somali 98% of girls are mutilated and this barbaric
custom is practised in 28 countries.
have confirmed that in the past decade over 30 million children
have suffered injuries in various forms.
120 million children mostly in the “ third
world countries” are deprived of primary education.
International has reported that annually hundreds of girls and
women fall victim to “honour killings” in Pakistan.
to all these are numerous cases of children suffering from post
war incidents including land mines and unexploded bombs.
This is a man made world. This
is the world made for children not by God or through fate. This
dreadful reality is avoidable. This world is a killing field for
children but not their doomed destiny. Fate, natural disasters
and God are irrelevant. One such a case is the massacre of
children in Iraq. Hundred of thousands of children have perished
as a result of a deliberate and conscious implementation of a
United Nations resolution. The economic sanction of Iraq in its
first ten years has taken the lives of 500,000 of children under
the age of 5 years.
Another such a case is the
religious and honour killings. The verdicts for such murders
have already been issued. Nasir, a fourteen year old boy, and
Shamim, a ten-year-old girl from Pakistan are two victims of
these backward beliefs. Amnesty International in a Press release
issued last November reported that Nasir and Shamim were killed
at the hands of their relatives apparently for seeing Nasir
drying his shirt while Shamim was asleep nearby.
Above examples and statistics
paint a picture of a world that is built on greed, profiteering,
exploitation, suppression, discrimination and religion. The
architects of this world are the capitalists and their states.
The first victims of this world are its most vulnerable members.
Children deserve a better, more prosperous and humane world.
This world needs to be put right.
We, the participants of
Children First’s conference in Stockholm, Sweden, strongly
deplore all forms of economic, sexual, military, emotional and
religious abuse of children in all parts of the world and
resolve do our utmost to put an end to this abhorrent form of
human destruction and exploitation.
We call upon all concerned and
progressive organisations, institutions, political parties and
individuals to join our ranks and
together fight against all aspects of child abuse. Defending the
rights of children is the first step towards defending human
rights. We hold governments and ruling parties and the United
Nations responsible for the current inhumane condition and its
The way a
society treats its children is the most telling testimony to
Its humanity and liberty. Children
must come first above any national, economic, political,
ideological, and religious considerations and
This conference is a small step towards reaching a collective
commitment and finding effective ways of achieving it.
Children First, 5 – 6 September
2002, Stockholm, Sweden