International Children's Peace Prize

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Indian boy wins world peace prize

A 14-year-old Indian boy has been awarded the International Children's Peace Prize for leading a campaign against child labour and child slavery.

Om Prakash was forced to work as a farm labourer for three years.

After he was rescued, Om set up a network that aims to give all children a birth certificate as a way of helping to protect them from exploitation.

Om was awarded the $100,000 (£53,000) prize organised by a Netherlands-based group at a ceremony in The Hague.

Om suffered the fate of millions of children. At the age of five, he was taken away from his parents and for three years he worked in the fields.

He was given two meals a day, was regularly beaten and never paid.

This is our right - that (adults) have to listen. This is children's rights. And if they are not abiding with that right, we will work harder to make them hear
Om Prakash
After he was rescued, Om campaigned for free education in his native Rajastan. He then helped to set up a network of what are known as "child friendly villages".

These are places where children's rights are respected and child labourers are not allowed.

Om also worked to ensure children are given birth certificates. He says such registration is the first step towards enshrining children's rights, proving their age, and helping to protect them from slavery, trafficking, forced marriage or serving as a child soldiers.

India, which has more than 12 million child workers, introduced a new law in October banning children under 14 from working as domestic servants or on food stalls.

Concert

The peace prize, now in its second year, is organised by the Netherlands-based group, Kids Rights.

Om was awarded his peace prize by former South African President FW de Klerk, who with Nelson Mandela won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

Speaking through an interpreter, Om reminded adults that they have a duty to listen to children.

"This is our right - that they have to listen. This is children's rights. And if they are not abiding with that right, we will work harder to make them hear."

A free open-air concert in Amsterdam's Dam Square was being held on Sunday evening to honour Om and his message.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/south_asia/6164134.stm

Published: 2006/11/19 22:47:10 GMT

© BBC MMVI

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