New Delhi: 88 Nobel Laureates and World Leaders, as part of Laureates and Leaders for Children, issued a statement calling for the world’s governments to unite and prioritize the world’s children during their lockdowns and in the aftermath.
Founded by 2014 Nobel Peace Laureate, Kailash Satyarthi, who has fought tirelessly for decades against child labour, slavery and trafficking, Laureates and Leaders for Children highlights challenges faced by the world’s most vulnerable children and advocates for solutions.
“We, the Laureates and Leaders for Children, demand that the most marginalized and vulnerable children are not forgotten by governments during this grave crisis and beyond. We must act now or risk losing an entire generation.” – Kailash Satyarthi
COVID-19 has exposed and exacerbated pre-existing inequalities in our world. The virus, restrictions placed on the majority of the world’s population, and the aftermath will have a devastating impact on the most vulnerable.
The pandemic’s public health emergency is set to exacerbate the exploitation of children. Trapped in homes to escape the virus, children are at greater risk of sexual abuse and domestic violence. As restrictions are lifted, children will be trafficked, forced out of school and into labour, bearing the burden of sustaining their families.
If, for once, our world gave the most marginalised children and their families their fair share – 20% of the COVID-19 response for the poorest 20% of humanity – the results would be transformative. One trillion dollars would fund all outstanding UN and charity COVID-19 appeals, cancel two years of all debt repayments from low-income countries, and fund two years of the global gap to meet the SDGs on health, water and sanitation, and education. More than ten million lives would be saved.
We call on leaders of the G20 to take additional action beyond their own borders for those who urgently need coordinated international aid. We also call on all G20 leaders to honour existing global health commitments.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Most Reverend Archbishop Desmond Tutu
HRH Prince Ali Al Hussein
Rigoberta Menchu Tum
Laureates and Leaders for Children is an initiative of the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation. The full statement, an accompanying video and signatories are here.