Martin Usborn

Children’s Rights

Dependent on others for their most basic needs, millions of children around the world are vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. Children wield AK-47s on the frontlines of combat, labor in dangerous gold mines and factories, and languish in detention centers with deplorable conditions. Armed conflict and humanitarian disasters can further compound their vulnerabilities, leaving them at heightened risk of trafficking and violence.

“The Fund has helped us eliminate child labour on rubber plantations in Liberia by direct, front-line advocacy.”
David Sackoh, Movement for Labor Rights and Justice, Liberia

Around the globe, we support activists—many of whom survived conflicts or abuse in their childhood, or have lost their own children—working to ensure that children are able to grow up in safety and stability so they can reach their full potential.

Our grantees provide immediate assistance to victimized children in the short term, while simultaneously targeting the numerous and complex root causes that render them vulnerable:

  • working to obtain the release of child soldiers and prevent further recruitment
  • providing rehabilitation for children affected by conflict, including orphans, former combatants, and young victims of sexual violence
  • training officials and communities to respond to cases of child trafficking
  • providing legal representation for children to ensure a fair trial and detention as a last resort
  • pushing corporations and governments to eradicate child labor
  • advocating for laws that ensure access to healthcare and education for all children, with special attention paid to issues affecting girls, such as female genital cutting (FGC)

Our investment in this work has contributed to major victories, including the passage of landmark children’s rights legislation in both Sierra Leone and Liberia, new police procedures aimed at combatting child trafficking in Pakistan, and locally-led negotiations resulting in the release of thousands of child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

For 25 years, Murhabazi Namegabe of grantee BVES has put his life on the line to protect children in one of the world’s most volatile countries — the Democratic Republic of Congo. Undeterred by the personal risk involved — he and his staff receive regular death threats — BVES has secured the release of more than 4,000 child soldiers and 4,500 girls enslaved by armed militias operating in eastern Congo.