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Child labour activist Satyarthi brutally attacked


Child labour activist Kailash Satyarthi brutally attacked

Brussels 15 June 2004 (ICFTU Online): The ICFTU has protested strongly to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after Kailash Satyarthi, leader of the Global March Against Child Labour, was brutally attacked by the owners of a circus which was allegedly involved in the exploitation and mistreatment of hundreds of children. District authorities are reported to have "connived with the circus owner" in connection with the attack.

According to a spokesperson for the Global March, the owners of the Great Roman Circus, which is currently in Colonelganj in Uttar Pradesh, attacked Mr Satyarthi and his colleagues with knives, iron rods and pistols when they visited the circus to protest. Mr. Satyarthi's son and a foreign photo-jourmalist, whose camera was destroyed, were among those beaten up.

It is thought that Mr. Satyarthi, who sustained head injuries, loss of blood and a fractured leg, remains in danger, amid threats issued by the circus owner that he plans to "eliminate" the renowned opponent of child labour. He is currently in hospital in Lucknow, and is reported to be in a stable condition.

Acting on the complaints of 11 parents, 4 of whom accompanied him, Mr. Satyarthi had approached the district administration about the alleged abuses at the circus, but, according to the Global March, the representatives of the administration "connived with the circus owner to offset the exercise".

Mr. Satyarthi is widely respected around the world for his outstanding work as Chairperson of the Global March Against Child Labour, in which the ICFTU is involved, and for his leadership in the Global Campaign for Education. This attack comes one month after the close of the Children's World Congress on Child Labour, which took place in Florence, Italy. The congress was organised by the Global March, which acts as the umbrella for groups involved in child labour advocacy around the world.

In his letter to the Indian Prime Minister, ICFTU General Secretary General Guy Ryder pointed out that "as a member of the International Labour Organisation, India has an obligation to uphold fundamental ILO principles, including the abolition of forced labour and the elimination of child labour."

Links to: Children's World Congress: Child labour far from being eradicated: http://www.icftu.org/displaydocument.asp?Index=991219271

Global March on Child Labour: http://www.globalmarch.org

Link to ICFTU letter to Indian Prime Minister: http://www.icftu.org/displaydocument.asp?Index=991220142

The ICFTU represents 151 million workers in 233 affiliated organisations in 152 countries and territories. ICFTU is also a member of Global Unions: http://www.global-unions.org


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