Pope Francis on November 16, 2018, received — in private audience in the Vatican –, Indian Nobel Peace Prize recipient Kailash Sathyarthi, defender of children. He shared the 2014 Nobel Prize with young Pakistani Malala Yousafzai. The Pontiff also received yesterday in the Vatican Henrietta Fore, directress of UNICEF. The United Nations Universal Children’s Day will be observed on November 20.
Kailash Sathyarthi, 64, former electrical engineer and Professor, is the Founder of the Save the Children Movement — Bachpan Bachao Andolan — to fight against sexual abuse, of which children are victims, and against other forms of exploitation. The Kailash Sathyarthi Children’s Foundation and Good Weave International collaborate to this end.
After his visit to the Vatican, Sathyarthi posted three “Tweets” @k_satyarthi.
He expressed first of all his “gratitude” to Pope Francis for his “total support” and his request for a “United Nations binding agreement against the sexual abuse of children online matched by a global Task Force and a free international telephone line to offer complete support to victims.”
He also mentioned that he shared with Pope Francis his concern about the sexual abuses committed by priests and hoped that the meeting of the Presidents of Catholic Episcopal Conferences — called by the Holy Father for February 2019 — will be able to establish a “road map” in order to impede such crimes. “It will be a practical meeting,” responded the Pontiff, reported the same on his Twitter account in English.
After his visit, Sathyarthi made an appeal to religious leaders so that not only institutions are exempt from these crimes, but that members of these religions “engage constructively in the protection of children.” “We must assure that sexual abuse or exploitation must never touch the most vulnerable children.”
With his team, he has succeeded in liberating some 87,000 children, victims of forced labor in India, and from slavery and trafficking.
In 1998 he led the Global March against the work of minors — a March of some 80,000 kilometers in 103 countries.