Children in the midst of neo-liberal globalization: issues and challenges
The peoples of the world continue to suffer from the impacts of neoliberal globalization. The imposition of anti-people policies such as trade liberalization, deregulation and privatization has turned the life of peoples around the globe very desolate.
Resource grabbing has resulted to massive displacement and increased landlessness condemning peasants, indigenous peoples and farm workers into further poverty and hunger. It has led to the invisibility of workers brought about by very low wages, lack of social protection, unemployment and underemployment and the lack of job security. All these have exacerbated poverty of the very people who keep our world running: the workers and the peasants. Austerity measures implemented by different states have targeted social services leaving the people without land and jobs and with little or no access to health and education services.
Children are not exempted from hunger and poverty, and are in fact the most vulnerable to the devastating effects of neoliberal dictates. Plunder of the world’s resources destroys the lives and livelihood of indigenous and peasant communities, including their children who are forced to engage in labour or enslavement as trafficked child workers.
Wars of aggression and militarization instigated as means to fully realize neoliberal interests in an area or an entire country have victimized millions of children. The wars of aggression have claimed the lives of thousands of children. Children of peasants, indigenous peoples, workers and urban poor have also become targets of repression. For many communities, the protection of their children and the lives of their families are foremost among the many considerations, and these situations make them more vulnerable to displacement.
Who will inherit the world? If children survive all these attacks, what world will they inherit?
Advocates for children’s rights and welfare recognize the crucial role of protecting and defending children against destructions and deaths. Children have participated and should continue to participate in actions against environmental destruction, for children’s rights protection and against the impact of neoliberal policies. Children should be part of social movements working to foster a peaceful and decent life.
The future of children should also propel us to continue to organize and mobilize to resist neoliberal globalization. The working class has persevered in defending their motherland against heightening attacks to their lives and livelihoods. Along the way, international solidarity has been forged between movements and nations aspiring for freedom from the claws of imperialist domination.
The International League of Peoples’ Struggle, a formation of anti-imperialist organizations and institutions from different parts of the world, is strong in its resolve to safeguard children’s lives and protect it from intensifying imperialist attacks. The commission 9 of the ILPS is steadfast in the cause to defy the claws of imperialist domination as it poisons and kills children.
The commission 9 resolves that:
- a. It shall institute a mechanism, such as a working group, a secretariat or ad hoc committee that shall lead, coordinate and strengthen the commission;
- b. It shall help in the expansion of the ILPS membership to include organizations and institutions working for children’s rights and welfare and stand firm against neo-liberal globalization and imperialist greed;
The commission further commits itself to the following specific resolutions:
- a. Document, gather and consolidate information on the violation of children’s rights and conduct research on the displacement of children, child labor, militarization of education and military attacks on schools and communities, among other issues affecting children on the regional and global level;
- b. Regular updates and information sharing on different children’s issues and concerns by instituting a communication system, through an e-mail group and social media page of the commission where available resources and information on/of the commission such as an e-brochure, materials on the impacts of land, rivers/ seas and resource grabbing to children all over the world, and a regular annual newsletter;
- c. Hold a conference or a consultation on a regional or international level on child labor, mining and the impact of development aggressions to children including displacement, militarization of education and military attacks on schools and communities, among others;
- d. Declare the first Saturday of every December as a global day of action for children’s rights and welfare and to highlight children’s participation in the struggle for genuine peace, justice and democracy and liberation against economic and political attacks;
- e. Plan a global advocacy/campaign every year until the next ILPS assembly on the socio-economic, political and cultural issues affecting children around the world specifically on issues related to land, rivers/seas and resource grab which gravely affect children and communities;
Part of the global advocacy/ campaign plan is supporting the local campaigns on:
- Ending militarization of education and military attacks on schools in the Philippines, rescinding the Department of Education memorandum 221 series of 2013 and junking of the Oplan Bayanihan, a counter-insurgency program which targets children and civilian communities;
- Calling to stop lumad killings, pull out military troops in lumad schools and communities, disband para-military groups formed and supported by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and end plunder of resources in Mindanao, Philippines;
- Resisting militarization of communities in the Mekong region to plunder the land, river/sea and other resources for extractive industries, hydropower plants, Special Economic Zones that result to the displacement of peoples from the region;
- Supporting Voice of the Children in its continuing campaign to raise awareness and advocacy and to help eradicate the issue of Statelessness/ undocumented children in Malaysia.
Participants to the ILPS Commission 9 workshop:
- All Nepal Women’s Association, Nepal
- Amihan Federation of Peasant Women, Philippines
- Clt, Hongkong
- Center for Women’s Resources, Philippines
- Children’s Rehabilitation Center, Philippines CODES, Viet Nam
- CONTEND, Philippines
- FREN, The Netherlands GABRIELA Australia, Australia GABRIELA Philippines, Philippines GABRIELA Youth, Philippines Ibon International, Philippines
- IP Alliance, Cambodia
- Kabiba Alliance for Children’s Concerns, Philippines Kaboronyogan, Philippines
- Mekong Youth Assembly Project, Thailand Migrante Melbourne, Australia
- Migrante Canada
- Parents Alternative on Early Childhood Care and Development, Philippines Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concerns, Philippines
- Voice of the Children, Malaysia