Nobel Peace-prize winning rights campaigner Kailash Satyarthi is to receive the Harvard Humanitarian of the Year Award, the first Indian to be selected for the honour.
The annual award by the prestigious Harvard University is given to an individual whose works and deeds have served to improve the quality of lives and have inspired us to greater heights.
The award ceremony is scheduled to take place on Friday, at Harvard University.
Previous winners of the honour include former UN Secretary Generals Kofi Annan and Boutros Boutros Ghali; South African rights campaigner Desmond Tutu and the Jewish writer and activist Elie Wiesel.
Mr Satyarthi’s charity Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save the Childhood Movement) is credited with rescuing more than 80,000 enslaved children over the past forty years.
His work recently has focussed on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s)one of which is to end modern-day slavery.
Although slavery is illegal everywhere, almost 36 million people are believed enslaved worldwide – many of those in India.
Mr Satyarthi took his message to the United Nations in New York last month and this week called on governments to allocate adequate budgets and design suitable policies to achieve the SDG’s.
“Freedom has always been considered a matter of human rights, but for the first time it has been acknowledged that without freedom there can be no development.
“Governments should now prioritise child-centred development goals and devise more holistic policies interlinking education, trafficking, slavery and child labour and violence against children because they are all connected.”
The UKAsian spoke to Mr Satyarthi earlier this year to talk about his journey and what remains to be done.
Here’s the video of that encounter: