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November 18, 2005

Campaign urges European Commissioner Michel
to take Action on the Eradication of Child Labour

On 22 November, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Mr. Louis Michel, will receive a petition signed by over 170 000 members of civil society from across Europe, urging him to actively combat all forms of child labour. Indian child labour activist, Shantha Sinha, Secretary Trustee of the M Venkatarangaiya Foundation (MVF) and holder of the Ramon Magsaysay Award 2003 for Community Leadership will present the signatures together with Monique Lempers, the international co-ordinator of the Alliance 2015 campaign Stop Child Labour – School is the best place to work.

There are currently over 246 million child labourers in this world. For these children access to their fundamental right to education will remain a distant dream if no concrete measures are taken to help them out of work and into school. The campaign urges the Commission to step up its actions to achieve the Millennium Development Goals – in particular MDGs 2 and 3. It stresses that to realize access to primary and secondary education for every child, its greatest obstacle, child labour, must be eradicated.

The campaign is extremely concerned that the proposed European Union Development Policy 2005 does not give due attention to education and that there is not one mention of child labour as an obstacle to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The campaign also urges Commissioner Michel to ensure that a strategy on child labour is included in the instruments for the implementation of the EU Development Policy and in particular in the thematic programme for human and social development.

Therefore, in the form of a petition, civil society calls on the European Commission to:

  • Create a coherent policy on the elimination of child labour linked to the provision of full-time, formal education for all children up to 14 years of age.
  • Ensure that European Union members work together to allocate at least 8% of Overseas Development Aid to formal primary education, including strategies to integrate all out-of school children into the education system.
  • Make provisions in Overseas Development aid to ensure that girls and young children from vulnerable groups (including those living in absolute poverty) are integrated into the formal school system.
The handing over of the petition will be followed by a short press conference and a photo opportunity.

When: 22 November at 16.30.
Where: VIP Corner of the Berlaymont, European Commission, Place Schumann.

Further Information:
The campaign is facilitated in Brussels by Europe External Policy Advisors (EEPA).
In case of any further questions or to arrange an interview,
please contact Maxi Ussar at, 02 238 5051 - 02 23 00 723 – 0476 039 055.

Background information:

The Campaign:
The campaign Stop Child Labour – School is the best place to work is a European lobby and awareness raising campaign inspired by successful programmes in the South. It is run by three Alliance2015 organisations (HIVOS, the Netherlands; Deutsch Welthungerhilfe, Germany; Concern, Ireland) in co-operation with the Federation of Dutch Trade Unions (FNV), the Dutch Teachers’ Union (AOb) and the India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN). The campaign is in the process of expanding to include NGOs from three more European countries (Italy, Denmark and Czech Republic).

The recommendations of the Stop Child Labour campaign to the European Parliament withg regard to its resolution on child labour can be found on:

Millennium Development Goal 2 & 3
Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education
Target: Ensure that, by 2015 children everywhere, boys and girls alike will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling

Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women
Target: Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education o later than 2015.

The European Parliament Resolution on Child Labour
The European Parliament adopted a resolution on the exploitation of children in developing countries, with special focus on child labour on 5 July 2005 (A6-0185/2005/P6-TA-PROV2005)0272). This resolution incorporates the campaign’s main principles. Notably it recognizes that any effective policy against child labour must combat all forms of child labour as stated in ILO Conventions 138 and 182, and must not be restricted to “worst forms” of child labour. Further, it recognizes that eradicating child labour and achieving universal education are inextricably linked and stresses that poverty is not an insurmountable barrier preventing poor children from enjoying full-time education, stating that “ending child labour does not depend on ending poverty first.” The full resolution can be found on:

India Committee of the Netherlands / Landelijke India Werkgroep - November 18, 2005