World needs to turn plans to end child labour into urgent action

Published on International Labour Organization ILO, by ILO chief Guy Ryder, during Third Global Conference on Child Labour, October 10, 2013:

“More than ever our focus must be on action and results as well as process,” says Guy Ryder at the end of the Third Global Conference on Child Labour … //

… “You made the link between the fight against child labour and the need to move forward on the Decent Work Agenda, implement fundamental principles and rights at work, prioritize employment creation, in particular for youth, extend measures of social protection and strengthen the rule of law and judicial systems. What we need now is to translate this link into urgent action,” said Ryder during the conference’s closing session. 

The ILO chief said that clear lessons emerged from the plenary sessions that demonstrated a growing understanding of what needs to be done to eliminate child labour in a sustainable way, and that not only governments but also other actors – workers’ and employers’ organizations, businesses and civil society – are taking up their responsibility and showing increasing leadership (see the Brasilia Declaration) … //

… Earlier in the day, the delegates heard from former President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil. President Lula said that the international community has the duty to give child workers, especially those trapped in its worst forms, the hope of a better future. “We’ve just over two years to meet the 2016 Hague target and we need the political courage to adopt the required measures”, he said.

He recalled that he himself worked as a child worker to help support his numerous family, and that later as President he saw first-hand Haitian children chewing mud cakes to trick hunger. “The map of child labour across the world correlates with the map of hunger and poverty, and so the first task if we are to step up the fight against child labour in its worst forms is to coordinate wealth redistribution policies around the world”.

President Lula mentioned the amount that has been spent in rescuing the world’s financial system since the start of the financial crisis in 2008/9, as the well as the cost of the Iraq war, and remarked that the eradication of child labour is not a matter of a lack of resources but rather of “political will and of [leaders] being shamed into meeting this challenge.”

“The greatness of a country is measured by its ability to protect its children,” he concluded.
(full text).

(The first task if we are to step up the fight against child labour is to coordinate wealth redistribution policies around the world – Luis Inácio Lula da Silva).

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