Los defensores de los niños

LONDRES – La reformadora social británica, Eglantyne Jebb, puntualizó alguna vez que el único lenguaje internacional que el mundo entiende es el llanto de un niño. Casi un siglo después de que Jebb fundara Save the Children, el Premio Nobel de la Paz de 2014 fue concedido a Malala Yousafzai, la activista de diecisiete años que desde hace tiempo lucha por el derecho de las niñas a la educación, y al oponente al trabajo infantil, Kailash Satyarthi. De este modo, el Comité del Premio Nobel  recompensó la lucha mundial de los derechos civiles contra el tráfico de menores, el trabajo infantil, el matrimonio de menores y la discriminación de niñas.

Ante los conflictos recientes y en curso en Siria, Irak, Gaza y en Sudán meridional, que han acabado con muchas vidas jóvenes, el Comité del Premio Nobel actuó con base en razones de peso para exponer el sufrimiento de niños. Las escuelas, que tendrían que haber sido como santuarios, se han convertido en objetivos militares. Miles de niños en Siria e Irak han sido obligados a hacer servicio militar. A pesar de los esfuerzos de los organismos de socorro de las Naciones Unidas, la masacre del verano creó un millón más de niños refugiados.

La vulnerabilidad de los niños quedo totalmente expuesta hace seis meses cuando el grupo terrorista Boko Haram (cuyo nombre significa “la educación occidental es un pecado”) secuestró a 276 niñas-estudiantes. Aun si las niñas secuestradas regresan a sus hogares sanas y salvas, como estipula la tregua entre el grupo terrorista y el gobierno de Nigeria, sigue habiendo 15 millones de menores de catorce años en todo el mundo que son obligados a trabajar, a menudo en ambientes de explotación terribles. Adicionalmente, 10 millones de jovencitas en edad escolar son obligadas a contraer matrimonio, mientras que a alrededor de 32 millones de jovencitas se les niega incluso el derecho a la educación elemental.

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