Kailash Satyarthi will lead Bharat Yatra against child sexual abuse and trafficking

I refuse to accept that the innocence, smiles and freedom of our children can keep getting stripped and raped. These are not ordinary crimes. This is a moral epidemic haunting our nation. -Nobel Peace Laureate, Kailash Satyarthi

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Bhopal: Nobel Peace Laureate, Kailash Satyarthi, is embarking on a historic Bharat Yatra to spearhead the fight against child trafficking and child sexual abuse across the country.


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Satyarthi’s yatra is the manifestation of his belief in ‘Surakshit Bachpan-Surakshit Bharat’ (Safe Childhood-Safe India).

The yatra will flag off from Kanyakumari on 11 September, from the Vivekanand Memorial, commemorating the anniversary of the great spiritual leader Swami Vivekanand’s famous address in Chicago, USA, in 1893. It will pass through 22 states and union territories. It will cover a distance of 15,000 Kms over 35 days. Starting from Kanyakumari in the South, the Yatra will pass through western India.

Guwahati will lead the yatra from the eastern part of the country, while Srinagar will flag off the northern stretch. The culmination of the Yatra will be in Delhi, the national capital, on the 15 October.

Kailash Satyarthi has been campaigning for the freedom, safety and security of children across the globe for the past 36 years. He has led the historic Global March Against Child Labor in 1998 that prompted the ILO to pass international conventions against the worst form of child labor, in addition to the Shiksha yatra in 2001, after which the Right to Education was included as a fundamental right in the Constitution of India. As a prolific thought leader, he has been playing a catalytic role in influencing social and political policies of our country. He won the Nobel Peace prize (2014) for his continuous efforts and struggle for the rights of children.

Announcing the Bharat Yatra with the parents of the survivors, Kailash Satyarthi said: “Today, I declare a war on child sexual abuse and trafficking. Today I am announcing Bharat Yatra, the biggest movement in history to make India safe again for children. I refuse to accept that the innocence, smiles and freedom of our children can keep getting stripped and raped. These are not ordinary crimes. This is a moral epidemic haunting our nation.”

As the architect of some of the largest civil body movements for a cause in the last four decades, Satyarthi’s lifelong mission is to eradicate all forms of violence against children.

Satyarthi and his foundation KSCF have been preparing the ground for several months to launch the Yatra in September. As part of this ground work, Satyarthi has travelled the length and breadth of country meeting citizens, faith leaders, employees and corporates, Parliamentarians, social organisations among others, all of whom have pledged their whole-hearted support to the Bharat Yatra, terming it as a necessary fight for the cause of the country and its children.

Recently Satyarthi met parliamentarians in Delhi to apprise them of the issue of child trafficking and child sexual abuse and seek their support in spreading awareness against the menace. Last month he spoke with and inspired over 500 LinkedIn employees in Bangalore, about the need for corporates such as LinkedIn to take a strong stand for the future of the country. He has been meeting with several faith heads in New Delhi and across the country.


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The curtain raiser to this march in Delhi, saw the launch of the video for the Bharat Yatra, which highlighted the appeal of children across the country to unite and fight for their freedom, safety and security. The campaign is expected to reach out to 1 crore stakeholders in the country.
Bharat Yatra will mark the launch of a three-year campaign against child rape and child sexual abuse which is aimed at increasing awareness and reporting of the cases, strengthening institional response, including medical health and compensations, ensuring protection for victims and witnesses during trials and increasing convictions of those facing trial for child sexual abuse in a time bound manner.
During the curtain raiser event for the Yatra, there were families of victims of trafficking and abuse who narrated the emotional and physical trauma they had to endure because of the misdeeds of a few. The families pledged their support hoping that it would bring about the revolution, the country needs to sustain its fight against the exploitation of children.

World News: Samsung Heir Gets Prison Sentence

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New York/Seol: Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong was sentenced Friday to five years in prison for giving millions in bribes (Korea Times) to ousted South Korean President Park Geun-hye and her confidante.

Lee was also found guilty of concealing overseas assets and perjury in a trial that resulted in sentences for four other Samsung executives, reports NYT.

According to Financial Times, Lee was expected to take over the electronics giant from his ailing father. Samsung overtook Apple as the world’s most profitable technology company last month after posting quarterly profits of $9.9 billion, but the ruling threatens to damage the reputation of South Korea’s largest company and marks a turning point for the country as it it pushes back against its mighty conglomerates.

News analysis by Council on Foreign Relations

“This was closely watched by the public here because giant, dynastic conglomerates—or chaebol as they’re called here—dominate the economy in South Korea,” Elise Hu writes for National Public Radio.

“The verdict in the Samsung case will be significant in determining what progress chaebol reform will make under President Moon Jae-In, who was elected in May after a populist campaign centered on loosening the grip of the country’s family-run conglomerates,” Shelly Banjo writes for Bloomberg View.

“His prison sentence now leaves Samsung without a leader called Lee for the first time. The vacuum is particularly pronounced because Samsung in February disbanded its Future Strategy Office—sometimes called the conglomerate’s ‘control tower’—after it was implicated in the case,” Anna Fifield writes for the Washington Post.


Former Thai Leader Missing Ahead of Verdict

Former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is believed to have fled the country ahead of a verdict in a corruption trial reports BBC. Yingluck is accused of mismanaging a rice subsidy scheme and faces up to ten years in prison.

CFR’s Joshua Kurlantzick discusses what’s at stake in Yingluck’s trial.


Uzbekistan Moves to Freeze Assets of Former Leader’s Daughter

Uzbekistan’s prosecutor-general asked Russia to freeze real estate assets belonging to Gulnara Karimova, according to available reports. Daughter of late Uzbek President Islam Karimov. Karimova, charged with theft of $1.5 billion, has reportedly been under house arrest since 2014.

AFGHANISTAN: Gunmen attacked a Shia Muslim mosque in Kabul, during Friday prayers, according to AFP/AP. A police spokesman said a suicide bomber also detonated himself inside the mosque. The number of casualties was not immediately known.


UN Urges U.S. Coalition to Pause Raqqa Siege

The United Nations called on the U.S.-led coalition against the self-proclaimed Islamic State to suspend its assault on Raqqa to evacuate an estimated twenty-five thousand civilians, according to a BBC report.

CFR’s Gayle Tzemach Lemmon reported from Raqqa for PBS NewsHour.

ISRAEL/PALESTINE: White House senior advisor Jared Kushner met separately on Thursday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in a bid to restart peace talks, according to a VOA report.

Medical Charity Reports Rampant Looting in South Sudan

Armed groups have looted and destroyed two dozen medical facilities operated by the medical charity Doctors Without Borders over the past eighteen months, reports VOA.


U.S. Reviewing Sending Weapons to Ukraine

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said during a visit to Ukraine that the United States is “actively reviewing” sending arms there in the face of threats from Russia, according ot VOA. Mattis called such weaponry defensive saying Ukraine is “not an aggressor,” according to New York Times.
CFR’s Charles A. Kupchan writes in the Washington Post that giving Ukraine lethal weapons would be a mistake.

RUSSIA: Income inequality in Russia has increased more sharply than in other former communist states in Eastern Europe and in China, according to a new study. The report from a U.S.-based research firm estimates that assets held by Russians abroad (RFE/RL) is equal to those of all Russian households domestically, according ot VOA.

Credit: CFR, NY

13 die in Dera violence

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Panchkula: After the CBI court convicted Baba Sacha Sauda chief Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh in a 2002 rape case today afternoon, his followers went on the rampage, pelting stones and vandalising and torching vehicles.

There are reports that at least 13 persons have died and 200 injured in today’s violence

Police fired in the air and also lobbed tear gas on the protesters. The violence that flared up at Panchkula, had spread across towns in Haryana, Punjab, and Rajasthan. Even in Delhi, two empty train bogies were set on fire at Anand Vihar.

Dera Sacha Sauda chief convicted in rape case; followers go on rampage; set ablaze 2 railway stations

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Chandigarh: The CBI Special Court today convicted Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a 15-year old rape case.

The quantum of punishment will be announced on Monday (28 August). The verdict was delivered by CBI Judge Jagdeep Singh.

The Dera chief has been taken into custody by the Haryana Police.

The sexual exploitation case was registered against Dera chief in 2002 by the CBI on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The Dera chief was accused of sexually exploiting two female followers.

Earlier today, even as Haryana Police, along with central forces was busy driving away the Dera followers who had come to Panchkula over the last couple of days defying prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC to express solidarity with the sect chief and the accused in the rape case, the Army especially called out at Panchkula and Sirsa, took up its position since morning today. The Army also conducted a flag march at Sirsa during the night.

After the verdict, violence has been reported from Panchkula’s Sector-4, where Dera followers vandalised vehicles and the Police had to burst tear gas shells and use water canons

In Punjab, a Power house at Sangrur, Balluana village railway station, situated near Abohar in Bathinda district, and the Railway station at Malout were set ablaze by angry mobs this afternoon. following violent incidents, curfew has been imposed in Ferozepur, Mansa and Bathinda.