Nairobi, May 13 (IPS) – Children washing clothes in the river, begging in the streets, street vendors, walking kilometers for water and firewood, their little hands scrambling for tables Larger hands, experienced to pick coffee or tea, or as child soldiers are familiar sights in Africa and Asia.
Children’s rights experts at Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation reiterates that the tolerance and normalcy of child labor, many children working in hazardous conditions and circumstances, and indifference have hindered progress towards the abolition of child labour.
Other warnings cover more child labor across sub-Saharan Africa than the rest of the world combined. The continent is currently lagging far behind its collective commitment to end all forms of child labor by 2025.
The International Labor Organization estimates that more than 160 million children are in child labor globally.
How to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 8.7 and the eradication-focused International Program on Elimination of Child Labor by 2025 will be the theme of the 5th Global Conference on Elimination of Labour. children will be held in Durban, South Africa, from 15 to 20 May 2022.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to open the conference. He will share the stage with the President of the South African Development Community (SADC) and the President of the Republic of Malawi Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, ILO Director-General Guy Ryder, and the President of Argentina Alberto Ángel Fernández Pérez (virtual).
“There are many drivers of child labor in Africa, and many of them are linked,” said Minoru Ogasawara, Chief Technical Advisor for Action to Accelerate the Elimination of Child Labor in Supply Chains application in Africa (ACCEL Africa) at International Labor Organization (ILO) told IPS.
He talks about the high percentage of children working in agriculture, which is closely related to poverty and family survival strategies.
Ogasawara says that rapid population growth has put significant pressure on public budgets to maintain or increase the level of services needed to combat child labor, such as education and social protection. .
“Therefore, calling for a substantial increase in funding through official development assistance (ODA), national budgets and private sector contributions aimed at child labor and other causes,” he commented. its roots”.
UNICEF says about 12 per cent of children aged 5 to 14 engage in child labor – at the cost of their childhood, education and future.
Of the 160 million child laborers worldwide, more than half are in sub-Saharan Africa and 53 million are out of school – 28% of the 5 to 11 year olds and another 35% of the 12 to 14 year olds, according to the findings. The most recent global estimates of child labor by UNICEF and the ILO.
Against this grim backdrop, Nobel Peace Prize laureates keynote speakers Kailash Satyarthi and Leymah Gbowee and former Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven will speak at the conference, which is expected to offer perspectives on how and why why children are still subjected to some of the worst, most severe forms of child labor such as bonded labor, domestic help, child soldiers, drug trafficking and sexual exploitation for their own purposes. commercial purposes.
Satyarthi has taken the lead in mobilizing global support for this effect.
“I am working in collaboration with several other Nobel laureates and world leaders. We are asking for the establishment of an international social protection mechanism. During a pandemic, we calculate that $53 billion annually could ensure social protection for all children in all low-income countries, as well as pregnant women.” Satyarthi emphasized.
“Increasing social protection, access to free quality education, health care, decent adult employment opportunities and basic services together create an enabling environment to reduce household vulnerability to child labor,” emphasized Ogasawara.
He pointed to the urgent need to introduce and/or rapidly expand social security and other social protection measures appropriate to the informal economy, such as cash transfers, school feeding, subsidize direct education costs and health care insurance.
The need to emphasize the need for a transition from school to work and to “target children from poor households, increasing access to education while reducing the need to combine schooling” with the employment of children below the minimum working age”.
In the face of these lack of social protection safety nets, an estimated 9 million more children are at risk of child labor by the end of the year, and a further 46 are likely to increase, the International Labor Organization says. million child laborers.
Against this backdrop, the fifth global conference is an opportunity to evaluate the progress made in achieving the goals of SDG Goal 8.7, to discuss good practices being implemented by the parties. around the world and identify gaps and urgent measures needed to accelerate the abolition of both child and forced labour.
The ILO says the timing is critical as there are only three years left to achieve the target of eliminating all child labor by 2025 and just eight years to eliminating forced labor by 2030, as the Target Set Sustainable Development (SDG) Target 8.7.
The conference will also be actively attended by young survivors advocates from India and Africa. They will share first person accounts and their life experiences in sync with the core topic of the discussion.
The conference will also take place in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, amid concern and concern that ending child labor is becoming less important on the international agenda as the world copes with the pandemic. impact of the pandemic. This could reverse many of the gains made in the fight against child labour, forced labor and child trafficking.
This is the first book in a series that IPS will publish during the 5th Global Conference on Elimination of Child Labor from 15 to 20 May 2022.
Report of the United Nations Office IPS
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