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Elimination of child labor pre condition to build healthy labor markets


Statement from Global March Against Child Labor on World Day Against Child Labor representing 2000 member organizations in 100 countries including ITUC and Education International representing the interest of the child laborers and the hardest to reach children worldwide.

Global March against Child Labor shares optimism over the progress made since the adoption of the international law to combat the worst forms of child labor in the last decade. An intense campaign led by Global March helped produce a unanimously adopted ILO Convention 182, on the Worst Forms of Child Labour, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.

But on the other hand the existence of millions of child laborers in extremely exploitive conditons is a proof that the international community has not dealt with this crime against humanity with a genuine sense of urgency and political will. The world leaders have failed their promises time and again in ensuring a better life with good quality education for the children specially girls, who have been the worst victims of child labour and illiteracy. Inspite of efforts made by ILO, trade unions and civil society organizations the issue of child labor could not acquire the priority in the global and national political agenda.

Millions of child victims of domestic work, slavery, trafficking and hazardous work are waiting for a decade to see the actual implementation of the fastest ever ratified international law for the elimination of the worst forms of child labor. It is time for an honest reflection. In the Convention, there was provision of the national level committees to support the national efforts, guide them and as an oversight comprising of social partners. These committees need to be constituted and strengthened to take on the task to meaningfully contribute in the national agenda.

ILO’s key effort in this was to build experience, technical tools and capacity within the ILO’s Decent work country programs to provide more active support in their efforts to mainstream child labour concerns in national development and policy frameworks, including human rights frameworks. Among these are the MDGs, the Country Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRSPs), the Education for All (EFA), Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and youth employment national action plans. Unfortunately the issue of child labor is largely missing from the education and poverty efforts and the best example of this is reflected in the disjointedness of the MDG’s framework. The MDG’s can not be realized in the absence of child labor elimination entirely missing out of the goals and monitoring indicators. In similar way, EFA FTI proposed Local Education Groups need to harmonize work on the ground for any measure of success.

IMF and the World Bank should not over emphasize the need for fiscal prudence and in the process overlooking the fact that the healthy labor markets can exist only with fair, decent work and by harnessing investment in providing good quality compulsory education and ensuring that all children are in schools. The new governance architecture of the IMF requires a credible oversight of its fiscal management policies to clearly avoide past mistakes when it relentlessy created barriers to governments’ ability to spend on social protection, bringing structural distortions increasing the number of child laborers. This led to the creation of unhealthy labor markets. The new governance structure requires participation of social partners.

“Global March demands to earmark at least $10 Billion immediately out of the fiscal stimulus assigned to IMF to protect childhood of millions. This must be spent on supporting a package of incentives to prevent children drop out from schools, eliminating child labor, cash transfers to families, investing in building the education infrastructure including training and hiring adequate number of teachers. This will contribute in building fair, healthy labor markets for the future”, said Mr. Kailash Satyarthi, the Chairperson of the Global March against Child Labor.

For further information

Sudhanshu Joshi
202 258 8873


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