TV & Radio
World's children demand action on poverty from G8
Sun Jul 3, 2005 6:26 PM BST
By Jeremy Lovell
(Photo) Children from some of the world's poorest nations made a plea to the leaders of the richest countries as they prepare for their Scottish summit -- act now to end child prostitution, child labour and trafficking. In this picture, Girls carry water from a well at a village in southern Niger, July 2, 2005. The worst drought in years has left 3.6 million people short of food in the West African country. Already counted among the poorest of the world's poor, Niger's farmers simply cannot afford to buy what is still on offer. Their children, in ones and twos, are beginning to die, for want of a few cents worth of food. Poverty is killing them. As the Group of Eight industrialised countries meet in Scotland next week to discuss ways to help Africa, Niger's emaciated children provide a case study of rich world inaction. REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly
DUNBLANE (Reuters) - Children from some of the world's poorest nations made a plea to the leaders of the richest countries as they prepare for their Scottish summit -- act now to end child prostitution, child labour and trafficking.
"Now is the moment to help poor children because we have suffered too much. I want the G8 leaders to make it stop. It is time to listen to the children," 17-year-old Assiatou Drame told reporters on Sunday.
A refugee from Sierra Leone now living in Guinea, Drame told a news conference at the C8 Children's Forum she had never been to school and had had to work all her life.
Setting out an agenda for the leaders of the Group of Eight industrialised nations, the boys and girls from Africa, Asia and Latin American were joined by others from Europe at the small Scottish town of Dunblane.
Actor Ewan McGregor, an ambassador for the United Nations' Children's Fund (UNICEF) which organised the C8 Forum, praised their passion and involvement.
"Their experiences and opinions of issues like war, poverty and the rise of HIV/AIDS gives compelling and real evidence of why we all need to call on the G8 leaders to make child poverty history," he said.
"They are the ones who will inherit the results of the decisions the G8 leaders are going to make. They are the ones we need to listen to," he added.
The leaders of the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Canada, Italy, Japan and Russia meet amid tight security in Gleneagles, some 40 miles (65 km) northwest of Edinburgh from Wednesday to Friday next week.
Prime Minister Tony Blair, the current G8 president, has made tackling global warming and ending the triple curse of debt, disease and poverty in Africa the key goals of the summit.
TRAPPED IN POVERTY
The Live 8 rock concerts and a march by 200,000 people through the Scottish capital on Saturday to support the "Make Poverty History" campaign have shown the G8 leaders how much people have taken the issue to heart.
One child dies a preventable death every three seconds somewhere in the world, according to UNICEF.
Some 180 million children are trapped in the worst forms of child labour, 1.2 million are trafficked each year and two million are involved in the sex industry.
Some of the stories the children swapped with each other were harrowing.
Paola Rospigliozi, a 17-year-old, said poverty was so rife in her native Bolivia that mothers sometimes hired out their babies to other women so they could use them to beg on the streets, or they sold them into prostitution or for organ transplants.
Aminata Palmer, a feisty 11-year-old from Sierra Leone, said she had witnessed first hand the exploitation of children in her country which is ranked by the United Nations as the poorest in the world.
"We want to see an end to child exploitation. That is why we are here," she said. "I want to say to the G8 if you fail to react we will never forgive you."