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April 2, 2010

Campaign ‘Stop Child Labour – School is the best place to work’ launches worldwide petition

Eradicate all child labour
Get every child into school

Today the campaign ‘Stop Child labour – School is the best place to work’ launches a worldwide petition in the run-up to the Global Child Labour Conference in The Hague, The Netherlands which takes place on the 10th and 11th of May this year.
The petition urges for a major shift in the international approach to child labour. The conference in The Hague will focus on the worst forms of child labour. However, Stop Child Labour feels that time has come for a global action plan against all forms of child labour that keep children out of school and/or harm their health. Also employers have to guarantee not to make use of any child labour, including in their supply chain.

More than four out of five countries have now ratified both ILO Conventions that deal with the issue of child labour: the Minimum Age of Employment Convention (C138) and the 10 year old Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labour (C182). These countries are therefore ready to tackle at least all forms of child labour that are covered by both Conventions. The focus on the worst forms of child labour might have been useful when only a limited number of countries (58 in 1998) ratified the Minimum Age Convention, but that is not the case anymore.

Experience in e.g. South Asia and Africa informs us that when only children engaged in worst form of child labour are targeted they are still at risk of getting into other work. Focussing on all forms of child labour in an area and getting them into full-time education has shown to be more effective. Every working child takes away work from adults and depresses their wages. The international community is obliged by Millennium Goal 2 to get every child in school by 2015. This can only be achieved by eradicating all forms of child labour. A world without child labour and the right to education is something that we have promised to all children!

Stop Child Labour therefore calls on the participants of The Hague Global Child Labour Conference to discuss the need for a Global Action Plan against all forms of child labour. In June the International Labour Conference of the ILO in Geneva should then decide to develop such a Global Action Plan before the end of 2010 and implement it by 2016. National Action Plans by all ILO members and a binding commitment by employers not to engage in and/or benefit from child labour, should be an integral part of such a Plan.

The petition can be found here: http://www.stopchildlabour.eu/petition/: http://www.stopchildlabour.eu/petition/.

See also the Stop Child Labour website: http://www.stopchildlabour.eu/.

For more information:
Sofie Ovaa (Hivos): sovaa@hivos.nl or tel. 31-70-3765500, or
Gerard Oonk (ICN): g.oonk@indianet.nl or tel. 31-30-2321340