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Press Release

MEP pledges support for campaign to eradicate child labour in India

8 November 2004

ANDRA PRADESH, INDIA. Speaking at the International Conference 'Out of Work into School - Children's Right to Education as a Non-Negotiable' on Friday 5 November 2004, British Conservative MEP, Nirj Deva, pledged to propose financial support from the EU's co-operation with India for the eradication of child labour in that country.

The conference, which took place in Hyderabad from 2-5 November, was attended by more than 5000 delegates including an international delegation consisting of both high level politicians and child labour activists from Africa, Europe, Latin America and Asia. It was organised by the MV Foundation, (India), in collaboration with the 'Stop Child Labour - School is the best place to work' campaign.

The abolition of child labour and the eradication of poverty are key issues in India, a country which is home to almost half of the world's 250 million child labourers and one of the largest number of people living in absolute poverty.

Given the importance of these issues, one might have expected them to have featured in the discussions on the EU's relations with India, which took place yesterday at the 5th EU-India Summit in the Hague. Although the EU-India Strategic Partnership, which was presented by the European Commission on 16 June 2004 and which was discussed at yesterday's Summit includes references to the issue of child labour, it failed to link the EU's efforts in this area to the promotion of elementary education. Furthermore, the Joint Press Statement, which was released shortly after the Summit, included agreement to implement actions and dialogue in a number of areas but regrettably made no reference to either child labour or poverty eradication.

The EU must back up its rhetoric on the importance of education to the eradication of poverty through a coherent policy, which links the elimination of child labour with the provision of full-time formal education. Only by delivering on its promises will the EU fulfill its commitment to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

For further information about the MV Foundation
and the 'Stop Child Labour - School is the best place to work' campaign please go to:

Contact or
Tel: +32 2 230 07 32 or +31 703 76 55 00

The campaign "Stop Child Labour - School is the best place to work" is run by Hivos (The Netherlands), Concern (Ireland) and Deutsche Welthungerhilfe (Germany). It was launched in 2001 with the aim of influencing the governments of these countries as well as the EU to recognise the need to integrate the policy areas relating to education and child labour. The campaign is based on the successful approach of the MV Foundation, which has gathered so much support in the state of Andhra Pradesh that it has also been endorsed by the government of this state.

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India Committee of the Netherlands / Landelijke India Werkgroep - November 7, 2004