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Watch UNICEF Communication Specialist James Elder's interview with Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
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Archbishop Desmond Tutu on Helping Children
Host: You’re watching UNICEF television.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu today spoke out against the suffering of children across the globe. Put forward his ideas for building a more just world for children and shared a special message for the people of Haiti. The Nobel Prize winner visited UNICEF to launch a new UNICEF and Harvard University book on why any successful transition from war to peace must ensure that children have a place and a voice in proceedings.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu: Children have to be involved. What do they want to see? Help them to reintegrate into their community. What are the things that happened to them which could have been prevented? What actually did happen? It is important that we know in order to be able to bring the right charges against those criminals who abuse their—that they did.
I am appalled at the things that we others have done in turning the world into a hostile place for children. We turn children into child laborers. We turn children into child soldiers. We’re trafficking children and we use children as sex slaves. That is not the total picture. There are organizations such as UNICEF and others who try to ameliorate and make better the situation of children.
The three most important things that world leaders could do to change the situation of children are provide the resources for children to be inoculated, all children to be inoculated; provide the resources for children especially girl children to get to school. When the women are educated then development tends to happen more quickly.
The third thing I would say is make it impossible for all adults to turn children into slaves. The people in Haiti, to say to them the world cares, something awful happened to you, the world did not turn away from you. The world is one thing to help you recover. You have a chance to rebuild your beautiful country and the world is there wanting to help.
There are beautiful things that do in fact happen. Let me just take one very quickly. A friend of ours was in Haiti when the earthquake happened. She was in a meeting, actually she works for the UN and she had left her son by himself at home and she was worried. She walked and her friend said, “No, you can’t. It’s dangerous.” But she walked and called to someone who was riding a taxi. And she said, “Please can you take me to such and such a place?” And he said, “Yes.” And she took off her wrist watch to say, “I don’t have any money on me but here is my watch. I will pay with it.” And this man said, “No. I will take you home. You’ll pay me later.” Isn’t that lovely?
Host: That was Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Unite for children.