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May 4, 2006

The ILO is aiming too low

For most children the end of child labour is not within reach

The Stop Child Labour (SCL) campaign* expresses disappointment at the International Labour Organization (ILO) Global Report ‘The end of child labour: within reach’ published today. The report excludes hundreds of millions of children that work as domestic and agricultural labourers. As these ‘invisible’ children work at home and are unpaid they are not calculated in the official ILO statistics.

Monique Lempers, international coordinator of the Stop Child Labour campaign, said that “in order to reach the internationally agreed targets of all children in school by 2015 these groups (domestic and farm labourers) must be accounted for and enrolled in formal fulltime education.”

The SCL campaign also criticises the ILO action plan in the report for its narrow focus on the worst forms of child labour. While we agree that the worst forms must be abolished SCL worries that this report holds out no hope for the millions of children trapped in other forms of labour.

SCL however does welcome the inextricable link confirmed within the report between the eradication of all forms of child labour and the need to enroll all children in fulltime formal education.

“We believe that the right of every child to education and protection from child labour must be enforced. This is the responsibility of all governments around the globe” continues Gerard Oonk, SCL senior policy advisor.

The report also fails to bridge the gap between its own convention C.138 regarding the minimum age of employment (15) and the international goal of five years of primary education by 2015 (Millennium Development Goal 2). This can result in children leaving school as young as eleven and therefore vulnerable to exploitation in the labour market.

The full report of the ILO is available on

A short background to this release can be found on

For statement by Indian anti-child labour activist Shantha Sinha presented at the launch of the ILO report:

Campaign website:

International contacts:
Monique Lempers and Gerard Oonk 00-31-30-2321340

* ‘Stop Child Labour – School is the best place to work’ is a consortium of the Alliance2015 organizations Hivos, Concern, DWHH, PIN, Cesvi and Ibis in co-operation with the India Committee of The Netherlands, the Dutch Federation of Trade Unions (FNV) and the Dutch Teachers Union (AOb).