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July 20, 2005

Campaign 'Stop Child Labour' welcomes resolution European Parliament

The European Parliament calls upon the European Commission to help abolish child labour. This can be achieved by including strategies to get working children into formal education in all education programmes financed by the EU. The European Parliament also requests the Commission to urge UNESCO, the World Bank, the IMF and Unicef to do the same. In addition the Parliament recommends legal action against EU-based importers using child labour or violating other fundamental labour rights.

The campaign ‘Stop Child Labour – School is the best place to work’ welcomes the European Parliament’s new report on child labour in developing countries. The European Union and its member states now spend hundreds of millions on education programmes in developing countries. These programmes often lack effective strategies, such as transitional education, to get children out of work and into school. It is often argued that child labour is an inevitable consequence of economic poverty. The European Parliament disagrees, stating that ‘’poverty does not have to be an insurmountable barrier preventing poor children to stop working and enjoy full-time education when appropriate actions are taken: ending child labour does not depend on ending poverty first’’. Ample evidence from India and other countries indeed shows that poor children can and do attend formal full-time education when given the opportunity.

In February the campaign ‘Stop Child Labour’ brought together a large number of NGOs and trade unions working on child labour and education to agree on a common position towards the EU. This common position and a number of recommendations were presented to the Greek EU rappporteur Mr. Manolis Mavrommatis and the Dutch shadow rapporteur Max van den Berg. Quite a few recommendations are reflected in the EP resolution, including a focus on the eradication of all forms of child labour as well as the interlinkage of abolishing child labour with the realisation of other fundamental labour rights.

Like ‘Stop Child Labour’, the Parliament believes that companies have an important role to play in combating child labour. It asks the Commission to support EU importers who are willing to accept independent child labour monitoring of the products they purchase. The Parliament also urges the European Commission to make compliance with core labour standards, including child labour, a precondition in its purchasing and contracting policy. Moreover it expects the Commission to make child labour and other core labour standards a permanent element in bilateral consultations.

The report of the European Parliament and the Common Position Paper on child labour and Education can be found on:

For further information contact:
Monique Lempers (Hivos): +31(0)70376 55 00 or Gerard Oonk (ICN):+31(0)302321340

The campaign is a joint initiative of Hivos (Netherlands), Concern (Ireland) , German Agro Action, AOb, FNV Mondiaal (Netherlands), India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN). Hivos is a member of

India Committee of the Netherlands / Landelijke India Werkgroep - 21 juli 2005