Free forum on children's rights marks 'World Day Against Child Labour'

7 June 2013

A free public forum at the University of Sydney on Tuesday, held to mark the World Day Against Child Labour, offers a sobering reminder of how much we take for granted the simple joys of childhood.

Carrying the Torch for Children brings together a panel of people committed to improving the lot of the millions of children still being subjected to forced labour, exploitation, abuse, child marriage, female genital mutilation and trafficking. They will discuss how governments and individuals must continue working to improve the welfare of children.

This Sydney Ideas event is part of the One Just World Q&A series on global poverty and development. The forum will argue for the universal right to a childhood - the right to play, the right to grow, the right to be heard and the right to be protected from harm - a right far from reality for many. More than 50 years after the United Nations adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, too many people face a childhood marked by abuse, exploitation or are simply forgotten.

Panellists at Carrying the Torch for Children are leading ambassadors for the rights of children.

Marta MaurĂ¡s is Vice President and Member of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. An independent consultant in social policy, human rights and international relations, she has held an association with UNICEF for almost 40 years. Her many achievements include leading key changes on the adoption of child rights and introducing modern management practices as UNICEF Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean from 1992 to 1998.

Justin Dillon is founder and CEO of Made In A Free World, an NGO committed to ending modern slavery through awareness campaigns, consumer advocacy and business solutions. His 2008 movie CALL+RESPONSE revealed there are more slaves today than ever before in human history. He also founded the website and app Slavery Footprint which allows consumers to visualise how their consumption habits are connected with slavery.

Guna Vincent is a founder and adviser at Mahalir Sakthi, an Indian NGO commiteed to empowering children and women in the most disadvantaged communities, particularly the Dalit, in the slums of Madurai, Tamil Nadu. 'Dalits' are the name of those born into the bottom rung of India's caste system. Mahalir Sakthi is committed to ending the cycle of poverty, discrimination and exploitation faced by most Dalit people.

ABC Four Corners senior reporter Liz Jackson will moderate the panel. She joined the ABC in 1986, as a reporter on ABC Radio National. She has presented weekly magazine and specialist programs including radio documentaries from Somalia, Cambodia, Russia, Georgia, and Pakistan. Liz has won three Logie Awards for Outstanding Coverage of Public Affairs, seven Walkley Awards for covering issues including Indigenous issues and social equity, and two human rights awards.

The panel will be introduced and welcomed by Dr Arathi Sriprakash from the University's Faculty of Education and Social Work. Dr Sriprakash has extensively researched educating children in rural Indian primary schools.

Whether you're working to alleviate child poverty or just have a personal commitment to making the world a better place for all our children, Carrying the Torch for Children promises to illuminate your views on how we can protect some of our most vulnerable citizens.

Event details

What: Carrying the Torch for Children, a One Just World forum

When: 6 to 7.30pm, Tuesday 11 June

Where: Seymour Centre, corner of City Road and Cleveland St, Chippendale

Cost: Free

Book now online

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