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United States Leadership in Child Labour Elimination Critical: Satyarthi


Speaking in Washington, D.C. in the United States Department of Labour and the Department of State organized one day conference on June 8th Mr Kailash Satyarthi said that the United States of America has been a strong global leader for many years in the global fight against child labour. This has been possible because of the role played by the government, the social partners, civil society and the people of America for their considerable efforts which have helped to move the international agenda forward. He thanked in this the leadership and commitment of Senator Tom Harkin. He also expressed his appreciation for the efforts of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Labour Hilda Solis for holding such an important event on the occasion of the World Day Against Child Labour. Earlier Mr. Satyarthi was introduced by the long time friend of Global March Barbara Shailor, Special Representative for International Labour Affairs, U.S. Department of State. Those present on the occasion were Sandra Polaski, Deputy Under Secretary for International Labour Affairs, U.S. Department of Labour, Gayle Smith, Senior Director for Relief, Stabilization and Development, National Security Staff Lionel Johnson, Vice President, Fleishman-Hillard, Rohan Patel, Policy Advisor to the Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Constance Thomas, Director, ILO-IPEC

He further acknowledged the statement of President Barrack Obama that “Global child labour perpetuates a cycle of poverty that prevents families and nations from reaching their full potential.” Global March has always maintained its focus on the triangular paradigm between child labour, poverty and education and he welcomed the President’s call for to commit ourselves every day to ending child labour in all its forms. “His words gave us renewed belief and motivation in realising that yes, we can rid the world of this terrible evil. But, he also made us realise that we cannot do this through a “business as usual” approach.” He reminded that the recent Global Report on Child Labour from the International Labour Organisation shows that although the number of working children is continuing to decline, that decline is slowing and especially in the more difficult sectors where child labour is most prevalent and damaging, particularly agriculture. He stressed the need to step up our work and, in this respect and recognized the vital role in this of US Administration as being global leader, by being bolder, more ambitious and more determined and courageous in its political commitment and support for this vital development goal. This is even more important in the context of the global economic crisis which is already having an impact on development aid budgets and therefore capacity to maintain vital programmes against child labour is urgent. The crisis is impacting severely on developing economies and we need to ensure that the progress made does not become lessened or undone.

The Global Monitoring Report on Education For All published earlier this year focuses on the plight of the world’s marginalised children – those who continue to be excluded from education systems and programmes in spite of the investment in EFA. Many if not all of these children will be child labourers.

In addition, there was the Global Conference in The Hague and the Roadmap 2016 that emerged as the conference document and which he hopes expects to be unanimously endorsed by the International Labour Conference in Geneva this month. The US is hosting the review of the Millennium Development Goals in September this year which will offer the international community the opportunity to ensure the inclusion of the child labour issue across key goals, particularly education, poverty and HIV/AIDS. Mr. Satyarthi also stressed the need for building a stronger alliance of countries such as India, Brazil, South Africa with knowledge and expertise of fighting child labour. He said that working together with them and the SAARC, African Union and ASEAN this fight can be won.


 Child Labor
 Child Labour
 World Day Against Child
 US Department of Labour
 US Department of State

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