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Kailash Satyarthi (born 11 January 1954) is an Indian children's rights activist. He has been active in the Indian movement against child labour since the 1990s. So far his organization, Bachpan Bachao Andolan, has freed over 80,000 children from various forms of servitude and helped in successful re-integration, rehabilitation and education.
Satyarthi has campaigned worldwide on social issues involving children. He has been involved with the Global March Against Child Labor and its international advocacy body, the International Center on Child Labor and Education (ICCLE), which are worldwide coalitions of NGOs, teachers and trades unionists, and also the Global Campaign for Education. In addition, he established Rugmark (now known as Goodweave) as the first voluntary labelling, monitoring and certification system of rugs manufactured without the use of child-labour in South Asia. This latter organisation operated a campaign in Europe and the USA in the late 1980s and early 1990s with the intent of raising consumer awareness of the issues relating to the accountability of global corporations with regard to socially responsible consumerism and trade. The impact and success of this initiative created a ripple effect across global production and supply chains.
Satyarthi has highlighted child labor as a human rights issue as well as a welfare matter and charitable cause. He has argued that it perpetuates poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, population growth and other social problems, and his claims have been supported by several studies. He has also had a role in linking the movement against child labor with efforts for achieving "Education for All". He has been a member of a UNESCO body established to examine this and has been on the board of the Fast Track Initiative (now known as the Global Partnership for Education).[clarification needed]
He is largely accredited for enactment and adoption of national and international legislations, treaties and conventions as well as the constitutional amendment on child labour and education.
Satyarthi lives in New Delhi, India. His family includes his wife, daughter, son and a daughter in-law along with colleagues and umpteen number of children that he and his organization have rescued.
Kailash Satyarthi has been the subject of a number of documentaries, television series, talk shows, advocacy and awareness films. He has also been extensively reported in magazines and news items. Satyarthi's contribution has been recognized through several international awards. These include:
- 2009: Defenders of Democracy Award (US)
- 2008: Alfonso Comin International Award (Spain)
- 2007: Medal of the Italian Senate (2007)
- 2007: recognized in the list of "Heroes Acting to End Modern Day Slavery" by the US State Department
- 2006: Freedom Award (US)
- 2002: Wallenberg Medal, awarded by the University of Michigan
- 1999: Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Award (Germany)
- 1995: Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award (US)
- 1985: The Trumpeter Award (US)
- 1984: The Aachener International Peace Award (Germany)