Arab Nationalism HARVEY: The global march against child labor was born in a conversation that I had with Kailash Satyarthi– the very charismatic leader of the move to bring children out of bonded labor in India– the head of the South Asian Coalition on Child Servitude. KAILASH: We have ample proof that the children are being used as slaves. They are bought and sold. They are tortured. They are confined to workplace.
They are not able to leave their jobs. HARVEY: These are kids working in brick kilns, working in farms as a part of bonded farm labor, working in granite quarries; kids in sexual slavery, or being trafficked across national or state boundaries for sexual purposes. Those are the kinds of kids that this global march is an effort to highlight. MARCHERS: Global March! HARVEY: So we decided that the global march was a way by which we could bring international pressure to country after country. This was not just a simple protest. Along the way, organizers met with community groups like this one to try to link local concerns with the Marchs broader goals, which resonate with people in Thailand. Theyre still reeling from the collapse of their currency.
SULAK: Economic growth must take human dignity, human rights, environmental balance, into consideration. In the wake of Thailands financial crisis, Buddhist Scholar Sulok Sivaraksa, like many activists, sees growing poverty in human rights terms. SULAK: We have more prostitutes than monks. We have child laborers. We destroy our environment.
The people in Bangkok itself, 20% live in slums. And many people dont even live in the slums, they live under the bridges and so on and so forth. And yet people feel these are not human rights issues. The Global March is just one new cross-border tactic–an illustration of how globalization from above leads to a globalized resistance from below. KAILASH: But in the case of children, in the case of poor people, they have no calculations of their profit margins.
They always think of their compassion, their love, sharings, taking care of each other. So that is the real globalization. So I believe that we have to learn from those children how to globalize the world. Whether we learn from innocent children, worldly business leaders, or concerned human rights activists, one thing is clear, globalization is here to stay. In a world that is becoming more connected and interdependent, a curious collection of politically strange bedfellows has begun to coalesce in a search for solutions to complex global challenges. In the process, they are discovering some surprising things about this world– and about themselves.
Amnesty Internationals Pierre Sane. PIERRE SANE: We do not expect business to become a human rights defender. We know that if business adopts a human rights language and behavior, it will be as a means to the long-term objective of securing greater and greater profits. For us, human rights is an end, its an absolute. So there is a journey that we can go together. There is some tactical alliances that we can develop.
GOULDING: Its perfectly possible to have a two-track approach to this where some people very properly focus on the business engagement issues and others focus on the human rights agenda. Many companies in the global marketplace are trying to become what they call global corporate citizens, and some even say human rights are now part of their business principles. Shell Oil’s Alan Detheridge DETHERIDGE: Companies like Shell have a role to play in promoting human rights. Not just the rights of its staff, not just the rights of contractors who work for us, but promoting rights more generally, and certainly within the communities in and amongst whom we operate. As corporate leaders grapple with how to respond to human rights challenges, human rights activists are abandoning their traditional focus on abuses by governments. They are now confronting the many impacts of globalization that we have explored in this report.
GAY MCDOUGALL: There’s been an explosion of human rights organizations all around the world that are now in touch with each another, and are now beginning to talk more and more about common problems, common strategies. It’s no longer just the question of a human rights organization that focuses solely on the problems in their country. But theyre seeing the link between the problems in their country and problems across borders, regionally and internationally. Both Globalizations proponents and critics, see the fight for human rights as a major challenge. HORMATS: I think there has been a lot of improvement in human rights around the world. This is not to say that there is perfection and it’s not to say there are no problems. But I think one of the great benefits that globalization has provided the world is improvements in human well being. THABO MBEKI: Well, I think there is a very good thing that is happening in the whole international economic debate.
Theres issues of poverty, of a better life, of equity. Those issues are coming back onto the agenda even of the international corporate world. A movement away from merely what governs our decisions and behavior is the bottom line and that’s it. NADER: This is global trade without global law, without global democracy. And if you have global trade and investment dominated by a few giant corporations, who pit one country against another without a rule of law, youre going to have increasing pressureboth in the first world and in the thrid world standards of living and standards of justice.
TUTU: I hold to the view that this is a moral universe. Goodness matters as it did forever in the past. It will continue to do so. Truth matters. Corruption matters.
I mean weve seen, weve seen why some of the financial institutions in Thailand, Indonesia, have gone under. It’s been basically, ultimately, that they have flouted ethical rules, not so much just financial rules. It has been ethical rules. I have no qualms myself. I have no deep anxiety that we are suddenly going to become an amoral society because of globalization. Still questions remain: Will globalization advance democracy and human rights, or will corporate power triumph above all else? And, how can we as citizens of the world get involved and help provide solutions? C. HUNTER-GAULT: In this era of globalization, these are not academic questions but flash points for continuing debate.
A debate that will determine the values that will shape the world of the 21st Century.