WASHINGTON: Harvard University's prestigious 'Humanitarian of the Year' award has gone to Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi, in recognition of his continuing contribution to the cause of children's rights and abolition of child slavery.
Satyarthi is the first Indian to get this honor.
"I humbly accept the award on behalf of millions of left-out children, for whose rights we strive to work for. Let us all pledge together to eradicate child slavery from the world," the activist said in his acceptance speech yesterday.
Each year, the Harvard Foundation presents the award to people whose work and deeds have improved society and been inspiring to people.
Satyarthi recently succeeded in getting child protection and welfare-related clauses -- which aim to end slavery, trafficking, forced labour and violence -- included in the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, "Even developed countries, including the Unites States, have hundreds of slaves who are forced into labour, pushed into sex trade or trafficked into domestic labour. Undocumented immigrants, people in the margins of the society are pulled into a circuit of slavery," Satyarthi said.
In the past this honor has been given to luminaries like Martin Luther King Sr., Secretaries-General of the United Nations: Kofi Annan, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Javier Perez de Cuellar, and Ban Ki-moon; Nobel laureates: Jose Ramos-Horta, Bishop Desmond Tutu, John Hume, and Elie Wiesel; Ethel Kennedy, R C Gorman, artist and ThorbjornJagland, head of the Nobel Peace Prize committee.