Home NewsInternational ILO charges governments to step up fight against Child Labour

ILO charges governments to step up fight against Child Labour

by Haruna Gimba

By Asmau Ahmad

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has charged governments to step up the fight against child labour, by supporting greater social justice.

Mr Gilbert Houngbo, ILO Director-General, made the call on Tuesday at the ongoing 111th session of the International Labour Conference, in Geneva, Switzerland.

The theme of the 2023 World Day against Child Labour is “Social Justice for All. End Child Labour,” he said.

According to him, what is happening with child labour is the very opposite of social justice.

“For the first time in 20 years, child labour is on the rise.160 million children, almost one-in-10 worldwide, are in child labour.

“What’s worse, half – 80 million – are in the most hazardous forms of child labour; that’s work with a real threat to their physical and mental health.

“But child labour rarely happens because parents are bad, or do not care. Rather, it springs from a lack of social justice,” he said.

Houngbo added that the antidote to poverty-driven child labour is decent work for adults, so they can support their families and send their children to school, not to work.

He said that decent work means ending forced labour, creating safe and healthy workplaces, and letting workers organize and voice their needs.

The ILO DG also said that, it means ending discrimination because child labour often affects marginalized groups.

ILO DG during the opening of the 111th Session of the Conference has called on all to make social justice a priority issue on the global agenda.

Houngbo, stressed the need to “systematically integrate the social agenda into all major international, regional and national” policies and actions to fight growing economic disparities.

Also, Mr Ezenwa Nwagwu, a Civil Society ally to the NLC and also a participant, said the call by the ILO DG is more than that of social justice.

Nwagwu said that there was need for the governments to do everything possible to mitigate child labour in the world and Nigeria especially.

According to him, the call is more than the social justice, the call is to end those statistics he reeled out because they are mind boggling.

“Almost 80 million children around the world are seen in hazardous working conditions, arising from the fact that their parents do not have decent work to take care their families.

“It is important that governments around the world create enabling conditions that makes work enjoyable,” he said.

Earlier, Mr Uche Ekwe, Head, International Relations of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) while making an intervention at the application of Committee of Standards meeting of ILO decried the increase in child labour and forced labour in Nigeria.

Ekwe said that organised labour in Nigeria is worried with the legal and administrative systems that allow perpetrators, handlers and sponsors of these crimes to get away with very light sanctions.

He said that the Committee must encourage, support and work with the Nigerian government with the inclusion of social partners to review and revamp existing pieces of legislation.

The 111th ILC which started on the June 5 will end on the June 16.

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