Children’s Day is celebrated in 145 countries and has several names: Children’s Day, World Children’s Day, International Children’s Day or International Children’s Day. In more than 40 states, including China, parts of the USA and many Central and Eastern European countries, International Children’s Day is celebrated on June 1.
Against the background of today’s International Children’s Day, we ask business leaders in an interview what they think about children’s rights and the shaping of the future for the smallest children in the country. We have asked Josip Heit, CEO of GSB Gold Standard Banking Corporation AG, for an interview.
Mr. Heit, do you consider children’s rights to be sufficiently recognized in society on their holiday today?
Josip Heit: “What occupies or frightens children in Germany has unfortunately not been an issue in politics with regard to the coronavirus pandemic. Children are regarded as carriers of the virus, for their protection they are ousted from public space, contact is only allowed with their parents. Children in care are denied even that. Schools and kindergartens close from one day to the next, playgrounds are closed, soccer training is not allowed. Informed in a child-friendly manner, the youngest citizens are not officially informed, which I find not only sad, but also a great pity, especially as we must not forget that today’s children are tomorrow’s taxpayers!”
Mr Heit, should more children’s rights be incorporated into the law and, above all, more sustainably into the Basic Law?
Josip Heit: “Let me report on a recent event: In mid-May the Bundestag debates for the first time on the situation and rights of children in the Corona crisis. Unusually, because it is unprecedented, Annalena Baerbock of the Greens begins her speech: Dear 13 million children and young people in the country! We have you in our sights!
However, as gratifying as this is, I must point out that at present only a few municipalities and federal states have written children’s rights and participation rights into their municipal constitutions. Schleswig-Holstein is considered a role model in this respect. Twenty-nine cities and municipalities are participating in the “Child-friendly Community” initiative, including the city of Cologne and the Berlin district of Berlin- Pankow with over 400,000 inhabitants.
But Potsdam, Wolfsburg, Hanau, Regensburg and Weil am Rhein are also involved. Children’s parliaments, youth offices, mayor’s offices for children – it is above all about participation and urban development that gives children space, I see a lot of room for improvement there, although it is of course a fact that Chancellor Angela Merkel with her excellent policy only recently eased the difficult situation of families with children by introducing extended emergency care in all federal states.”
Mr Heit, today is International Children’s Day, what do you think should be done for children?
Josip Heit: “The GSB Gold Standard Banking Corporation AG, has donated 95,000 Euro for Easter 2020, in April, which will exclusively benefit children. With this I wanted to set an example in the currently murderous coronavirus crisis and underline the responsibility of business for children, children whom we can welcome as workers and employees after their school education.
Nevertheless, there is still much to be done for our entire society. I am personally affected by the fact that children in refugee camps and starving regions of the world are suffering even more than usual because of the corona crisis. Over a billion children cannot go to school and many lose their only warm meal a day. Yesterday, a spaceship named “Dragon” of the company “SpaceX” flew into space. Whoever can accomplish this can no longer simply accept that 70 million children in developing countries have to
slave under exploitative conditions. That is modern slavery. They work all day on plantations for just a few cents for our coffee or bananas instead of being allowed to go to school. There needs to be a rethink here.
That is why we need to increase food aid for survival. Children need a future – that is our task as adults in a society which can only continue to exist on our planet if children one day become adults too, but in order to become adults you need our help, which is why I say clearly and unambiguously for the protection of the smallest members of society: There must be no child labour, no matter where on our globe!” Website: GSB Gold Standard Banking Corporation AG (https://www.gsb.gold/en)