The International Labor Rights Forum congratulates Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai for winning the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of their struggle against the oppression of young people and exploitation of children for their labor, and for the right of all children to education.
Seventeen-year-old Malala is an incredibly inspiring role model for young women everywhere with her fearless advocacy against the Taliban's efforts to deny women an education.
Kailash Satyarthi, a long-time member of ILRF’s Board of Directors, is a global leader in the movement to end child labor and child slavery. He calls child labor a crime against humanity, a development disaster, and a black spot on the face of the entire human kind and laments that the pace in ending child labor is too slow. He emphasizes the importance of social dialogue and the need for all actors to work together to end child labor.
"The corporations are most responsible. We all know that children are the cheapest source of labor. Children are most vulnerable physically and mentally for exploitation. They cannot form their unions, they cannot go to the court of law. And that's why they are exploited. The corporate sector must be honest in admitting the very fact that large numbers of children are enslaved, sold and bought like animals, and working in their supply chains," Kailash said on the World Day Against Child Labor last year.
Accepting the award today, he said: "We are demanding to the international community that the recognition of child slavery must be incorporated into both the millennium development goals and sustainable development goals."
"I have been very strongly advocating that poverty must not be used as an excuse to continue child labor and exploitation of children. Child labor perpetuates poverty. Child labor creates poverty. If the children are deprived from education, then they are bound to remain poor for the whole of their life. So it's a triangular relationship between child labor, poverty and illiteracy. And I have been trying to raise and fight all of these things together," Kailash said in an interview with NDTV today.
ILRF supported the original march against child labor that Kailash led in 1998, and remains a dedicated supporter of his organization, the Global March Against Child Labor. Through this work, Kailash has brought together people of all walks of life and backgrounds toward the one goal of ending child labor. We think it's especially fitting he is honored together with a child rights activist from Pakistan, showing that concerns for human rights span the interests of people divided by global politics and conflicts.
We congratulate Kailash and commend his bold vision for mobilizing all actors – governments, civil society and corporations – in the fight to end child labor everywhere.