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June 29, 2007

Nicaragua. Tripartite agreement for eradication of child labour and improving rural life and education

The agricultural workers union in Nicaragua, ATC, has signed a Tripartite agreement with the government (Ministry of Labour)and the organisations of agricultural employers with the objective of combining efforts for the eradication of child labour in agriculture. The agreement was signed on June 12 as part of the World Day Against Child Labour in Agriculture.

According to data from the Ministry of Labour, there are 238,827 working children between 5 and 17 years old. The legal minimum age is 14 years old.

The signatories are committed to eliminate worst forms of child labour by 2015 and total eradication of child labour by 2020. They also agreed to promote strategies and programmes to improve the living conditions in the countryside, to eliminate the gap between urban and rural education and promote opportunities for young people to work in agriculture.

June 21, 2007

Declaration of Intent on Cooperation on Child Labour in Agriculture

Download Declaration

June 20, 2007

Pictures. WDACL in Kyrgyzstan

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Pictures. Signing Ceremony - WDACL in Geneva

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SIREL gives Latin American overview

To highlight the extent of child labout in the region, the IUF Latin America office issued a special edition of the regional information sheet, SIREL. Using information from the ILO, the bulletin gives a short analysis of agricultural child labour in Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay and Bolivia plus information on Central America and the Caribbean.

To see this issue of SIREL Download file

June 19, 2007

SPAIN: CC.OO. call on Nestle to check its supply chain

CC.OO. Food and Agriculture Union representatives in the Works Council at Nestle Spain head office have called on Nestle to commit to work with the unions at national and international level to eliminate child labour along the supply chain.

In a letter addressed to human resources management, the CC.OO. representatives call on Nestle to confirm that its food products do not involve child labour.

They also circulated the letter to all CC.OO. unions throughout Nestle Spain urging them to take similar actions.


Download the letter

June 18, 2007

ARGENTINA. UATRE joins forces to eliminate child labour in agriculture

UATRE within the National Registry of Rural Workers and Employers (RENATRE) together with the ILO, IUF, the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security have signed a Protocol of Intention for the Eradication of Child Labour in Agriculture" on June 12 in Buenos Aires.

Others in the partnership include the National Commission for the Eradication of Child Labour (CONAETI), the National Secretariat of Agriculture, Cattle, Fishing and Foods and the General Confederation of Labour (CGT).

The partner organisations commit to combine efforts and work on joint plans and projects that would discourage the use of child labour in the rural area and would guarantee children a happy life.

Download file

June 15, 2007

GHANA. “Take us to School for Better Future” said one of the children’s placards

The General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) in collaboration with the Ministry of Power and Employment, Employers’ Association and the ILO/IPEC marked the event on 12 June by launching a national campaign against Child Labour from 8 to 12 June. Children withdrawn from work were among speakers during the event.

Among the activities, a panel discussion was organised on the negative impact of child labour and the importance of education. The event has also highlighted the risks posed to children engaged in hazardous activities in the agricultural sector and efforts being made by the social partners and the civil society to eliminate the problem.

Ghana ratified the ILO Convention 182, the African Charter of the Rights of the Child and was the first country to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. GAWU is pushing the Government to ratify Convention 184.


Download African Chater of the Rights and Welfare of the Child

UGANDA. World Day March against Child Labour

Celebration of WDACL in Uganda started in Masindi District, about 200 km from Kampala with a 3 km march of school children including those withdrawn from labour, together with workers and guests.

The march ended in front of the Vocational Institute, where children and guests had a tour and watched the debate performance of four children debating for and against child labour in agriculture. The Vocational Institute was build within the framework of ELCT project and it provides training for children who were withdrawn from Child Labour in crop production, animal husbandry, carpentry, brick laying, etc. The local authorities in the District pledged to support the Institute and ensure that child labour is eliminated in the District.

ILO ACTRAV and ILO/IPEC participated in the celebration and provided every support including printing posters, t-shirts, caps and banners with the slogan: “agriculture without child labour”.

The Minister for Labour explained the National Child Labour Policy, acknowledging that Child Labour is one of the main sources of child abuse, exploitation and a potential threat to the health, safety, moral and psychological development of children. At the end of the ceremony, he awarded 7 ex-child labourers with a certificate of completing the two years training programme.

June 14, 2007

Netherland – Bondgenoten – making rural education a reality

FNV_Bondgenoten shop stewards on the union's International Solidarity Working Group have come up with a very original idea. After meeting with representatives of the Namibian Farmworkers Union (NAFWU) they decided to start an educational project - but not one that involves just papers and pens. They are sending an actual classroom!

The stewards got a 40 ft container free of charge. Then, with the assistance of a technical school, they had the container changed into a complete school classroom, with electrical lights connections, replaceable windows and sanitary facilities. The outside of the container has been painted in the NAFWU colours and the inside kitted out with school furniture.
It is just about to leave the Netherlands for Namibia.

June 13, 2007

Guest writer. Kaaronda Evalistus, NUNW’s General Secretary

The National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) is pleased to be associated with an idea as noble as this one. Child labour had grown over the past years and assumed unimagined global proportions estimated in 2005 at about 250 million children between the ages of five (5) and fourteen (14) of whom 120 million are said to have been employed on a full time basis. Whichever way one looks at it, child labour has the effect of depriving children their right to proper and sound physical, moral and intellectual development as they are coerced into taking adult responsibilities prematurely.

Namibia is of course no exception to the above as the rapidly increasing effects of HIV/AIDS take their toll on the many of her citizens, leaving many of the house holds headed by children. This situation is even worse for children in rural Namibia, all of whom are in subsistence agriculture. Child labour in Namibia is compounded by an acute lack of data, particularly on the size of it and its growth trajectories. It is generally clear that where poverty thrives, child labour equally thrives unhindered. A classical example that comes to mind is that of a small, as it were, a minority group called the San community or the Bushmen. Adult members of this Namibian community have for a considerable number of decades worked as cheap farm labourers on both commercial as well as communal agricultural farm lands in Namibia.

Given the meagre or starvation wages paid to them, they had to complement their household incomes by having their children join them as labourers for their bosses. This stark reality in our view is what characterises child labour in all countries where it exists. If at all there is a common denominator conspicuously present in child labour, poverty will take centre stage prominence!

In 1999 the Namibian government undertook a child activity survey with the primary aim of achieving the following amongst others:

• to establish the extent of exploitative labour involving children under the age of 18 years,
• to determine the causes, nature and consequences of such labour wherever it is found,
• to direct action programmes, analyse existing policies and programmes as well as identify policy gaps so as to formulate action programmes.

This survey came immediately after Namibia had ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children as well as the ILO Convention on Worst Forms of Child Labour in 1999. All in all the survey found that child labour was on the increase and that it was largely characterised by activities in which children are used such as theft, housebreaking, selling drugs, prostitution (streets, bars and truck stops), commercial agriculture especially in the production of charcoal in the northern parts of the country.
Despite the above findings and noble aims of the government’s survey, as a union we feel that child labour needs not be worse for it to be considered a problem or priority. It needs to exist and its existence must is and must be reason enough to fight it. It is in view of this and numerous other facts that the NUNW also in 1999 established its national committee on child labour to help add organised labour’s voice to the fight against this scourge. Children’s place is at home and or school and not in any less or more dangerous places of work such as mines, garment factories or agriculture where they could be exposed to hazardous dust and pesticides.

Finally, we wish to thank all involved for their relentless efforts aimed at bringing sanity to all unscrupulous capitalists and have them refrain from using child labour.

June 12, 2007

New partnership to tackle old challenge – eliminating child labour in agriculture

On June 12 2007, the IUF signed a Declaration of Intent to work together with 5 other international organizations on child labour in agriculture. The partnership, which is for at least the next five year, commits partner organisations to work together on promotion of the objectives and principles in the key ILO Conventions on child labour, as they relate to agriculture.

The Declaration stipulates the underlying principles and the aims of the co-operation and the modalities for working together. Key commitments for IUF are:

  • Promotion of action for the elimination of child labour in agriculture, giving priority to children carrying out hazardous activities, with special attention to girls, children in hidden work situations, children migrating to work or migrating with their parents, and other groups of children with special vulnerabilities or needs;
  • Promotion of rural strategies and programmes aimed at improving rural livelihoods, and mainstreaming child labour concerns into agricultural policy making;
  • Promotion of actions to overcome the urban/rural and gender gap in education;
  • Improvement of occupational safety and health in agriculture as one of the ways of eliminating hazardous child labour;
  • Promotion of youth employment opportunities in agriculture and rural areas, including agricultural skills training;
  • Organization and/or participation in awareness raising campaigns against child labour in agriculture;
  • Support of national, regional and international meetings, seminars and fora and other activities to exchange information between participating agencies and their constituencies, institutions and countries.

The other organisations in the parnership are:

  • The International Labour Organisation (ILO)
  • Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)
  • International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
  • International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP)
  • International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), representing the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR);


Download the full text of Declaration of Intent on Cooperation on Child Labour in Agriculture.

Download the speech of IUF president Hans-Olof Nillson

Hans-Olof Nilsson, IUF President, Speech to Signing Ceremony WDACL

Director General, Deputy Director, sisters and brothers from the trade union movement around the world, representatives of governments and employers; of the ILO, IPEC and the other international organisations signing the Declaration today;
On behalf of the IUF, I welcome the decision of the ILO to dedicate this year's World Day Against Child Labour to elimination of child labour in agriculture. As the global trade union representing workers throughout the food chain we know only too well the scourge of child labour in many of our sectors.

Speakers before me have given you the statistics but I want to repeat again what to me is a shocking fact - that 132 million children work in agriculture – many of them doing things which are bad for their health, safety and education.
In the IUF we realised many years ago that we could not tackle the problem of child labour alone so we have been involved in several joint initiatives among them the Elimination of Child Labour in Tobacco Growing Foundation and the International Cocoa Initiative. Both of these bring together trade unions and companies to work on this crucial issue.
But frankly these are just drops in the ocean and so we welcome the initiative of the ILO to form a broad partnership of the international agricultural agencies to work together on child labour.
This World Day has to be just the starting point – elimination of child labour in agriculture requires a long-term, sustained commitment from this partnership, from governments, from employers, from trade unions and from civil society. So the five-year commitment in the Declaration is a good start but it can only be a start.
We need to ask many questions - why is child labour so wide spread in agriculture? What is the effect of cheap food policies on farmers and on workers? The idea of "buy one get one free" is attractive to many consumers but who pays the real price for such "special offers"?
It is another shocking fact that agricultural workers – those workers who produce the world's food often have the least resources to feed themselves and their families. Children work because their parents are poor.
We must also recognise that there is a decent work deficit in agriculture. In many countries agricultural workers are denied even the basic human right to belong to and be represented by a trade union. In Colombia, thousands if agricultural workers have died just for trying to exercise their basic human rights.
Improving living and working conditions for adults in agriculture is for IUF a key part of the struggle against child labour.
There are many issues to be dealt with – agriculture is a major user of migrant workers – in some case children themselves migrate to find work and in other cases they migrate with their parents. There is also child slavery and child forced labour in some crops. Priority has to go to eliminating these worst forms.
However there is also another worst form of child labour that is much more widespread. Farms and plantations are dangerous places – agriculture ranks alongside mining and construction as the most dangerous industries to work in. Agriculture is the industry with the most fatal accidents. Children are injured, maimed, even loose their lives because they live and work on farms. Improving health and safety on farms and plantations is a priority for IUF and we welcome the commitment within the Declaration of Intent on improving health and safety in agriculture. Governments who have ratified Convention 182 can compliment this by ratifying Convention 184 on safety and health in agriculture.
I come from a union of food workers in a wealthy country - we do have some child labour
but not in the factories where my members work. But it is not acceptable to us as food workers that the things we are processing are grown with child labour – the IUF will use the strength its affiliates have along the food chain to press major food and beverage companies to ensure that there is no child labour in their supply chains. This means admitting that there might be a problem and committing to work to eliminate it not just walking away from suppliers.
Finally, as a father myself of girls, I must insist that special attention is given to girl children who face the double burden on working in the home and in the fields and who are most often deprived of education. Guaranteeing all children have access to good quality free education in rural areas will encourage parents to send children to school and will ensue that children keep going – this is a challenge to many governments in developing countries but is a challenge that must be met if we are to attain the Millenium Development Goals and also ILO's own targets of elimination of worst forms of child labour by 2015.
Today marks the start of a revitalised effort to eliminate child labour in agriculture. The IUF welcomes this effort and will work in the new partnership to help achieve this.
Thank you.

ILO Cooperative Branch (EMP/COOP). Partnership with cooperatives to combat child labour

“Cooperating out of child labour” is the initiative of ILO Cooperative Branch (EMP/COOP) and the International Programme for the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) to partner with the Cooperative Movement to tackle the issue of child labour around the world.

A report will be issues later this year identifying the changes to cooperatives as well as some current good practice that ensures that cooperative supply and production chains are child labour free. The report further suggests some ways for cooperatives to more effectively address the issue. It underlines the act that the Cooperative Movement, guided by its values and principles and commitment to combat poverty, and encouraged by the market which increasingly awards economic success to business with ethical practices, is ready to take a stand.

EMP/COOP and IPEC have also jointly produced a fact sheet highlighting the issue of cooperatives and child labour for World Day for Action against Child Labour to be celebrated on 12 June.

Although much work remains to be done to enable the 218 million boys and girls currently under the age of 18 who are victim of child labour, the initiative aims at engaging cooperatives as socially responsible enterprises.

The an effort to take this initiative forward, the Cooperative Branch and IPEC have partnered with the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) to take the initiative forward.

Invisible to some, significant to millions!

Many underestimate the size of cooperatives, their membership and the jobs that they have created and maintained. Did you know that:

• Cooperatives provide jobs to over 100 million people worldwide, 20% more than multinational
enterprises.

• There are more than 800 million members of cooperatives.

• The 300 largest cooperatives have a turnover similar to the GDP of Canada.

• 1 in 4 people are members of cooperatives in the United States; 1 in 5 in Kenya and Malaysia; 1 family
in 3 in Japan, and 1 in 2 people in Singapore.

• Cooperatives in New Zealand are responsible for 22% of the GDP; in Brazil 16% and Vietnam nearly
9%.

• In Switzerland, a consumer cooperative is the largest employer outside the public sector, while in
Colombia it is a health cooperative.

• Cooperatives hold high market shares: 99% of milk production in Norway; 90% in Uruguay and 75% in Poland.

Cooperatives are improving livelihoods in all of the countries mentioned, plus many more!

“Cooperatives provide more than 100 million jobs worldwide”

Source: ILO EMP/COOP News, No.1, June 2007

FRANCE. CFE CGC Agro calls for action on child labour in the food supply chain.

The National Federation of Agriculture and Food, CFE CGC, is making sure the French press is aware of WDACL. The union has send out over 900 press releases, is fixing interviews with national and regional TV stations as well as using its internal bulletins to keep members up to date.

And the message press is clear - children must be protected against economic exploitation and must go to school (Article 32 of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child).

CFE CGC Agro is also calling on big agro-food companies to put in place a code of good practices aimed at eliminating child labour along the food supply chain.

“The Federation is also looking at the idea of a logo that would be shown on European food products, testifying that the children are not economically exploited and that they can follow a scholarship allowing them to climb the social ladder," explains CFE CGC Agro President Bernard Boulery.

CFE CGC Agro has already sent a letter to the Ministry of Agriculture requesting an appointment to discuss child labour issues. The union also contacted the big retail companies in France and asked for meetings.

For more information go to:
www.agrocfecgc.com.

June 11, 2007

ITUC supports the World Day Against Child Labour in Agriculture

The ITUC supports the World Day against Child Labour in Agriculture on 12 June 2007 and welcomes the Declaration of Intent on Cooperation on Child Labour. According to a recent ILO report on child labour the vast majority of working children are found in the mostly invisible and under-regulated agricultural sector. In agriculture, more than 132 million boys and girls are working long hours in hazardous circumstances.

The ITUC is carrying forward the historic struggle of the international trade union movement to eliminate forced and child labour and to ensure that every child can go to school. The ITUC is thus supporting the International Cocoa Initiative and the ongoing efforts of the IUF in combating child labour. It rejects arguments that child labour is inevitable, economically beneficial, socially acceptable, or to the advantage of the children concerned and their families. Especially in agriculture child labour is often perceived as “family solidarity”. Culture and tradition on family farms make it often difficult to perceive that children can be exploited in such setting. ITUC is calling on its members to campaign together with ITUC and IUF against child labour in all its manifestations, in the informal as well as in the formal economy - through universal public provision of free, compulsory, quality education and income support; by building public awareness and commitment; by campaigning for ratification of ILO Conventions 138, 182, 29 and 105 and their respect by employers including in their supply chains; and by maintaining pressure on international organizations to ensure that trade, economic, and financial policies support the elimination of child labour instead of pushing children out of school and into work.

The International Trade Union Confederation was founded in November 1, 2006 and represents 168 million workers in 153 countries and territories and has 304 national affiliates. It shall strive for the universal respect of fundamental rights at work, until child labour and forced labour in all their forms are abolished, discrimination at work eliminated and the trade union rights of all workers observed fully and everywhere. (www.ituc-csi.org).

International Organisations join efforts to tackle child labour in agriculture. ROME – 12 JUNE 2007

World Day Against Child Labour in Agriculture

Activities in Rome, 12 June 2007

8:30 Registration participants and journalists at FAO headquarters, Rome

FAO/IFAD/ILO organized event: Child Labour in Agriculture (Red Room, Building A, 1st Floor)
(Audience: International community, Permanent representatives of the UN, staff of Rome based agencies; Language: English, with Italian segments, no translation)

9:00 FAO Welcome address, Assistant Director General, José María Sumpsi Viñas

9:05 Welcome address by IFAD Representative

9:10 ILO Welcome address, Claudio Lenoci, Director ILO-Italy (or delegate)

9:15 ILO/IPEC DVD film on Child labour in agriculture

9:25 “What is child labour in agriculture?”: Eve Crowley, FAO Senior Officer; Furio Camillo Rosati, ILO/UNICEF/World Bank Project “Understanding Children’s Work”

9:35 Child labour testimony: Calvin Miller, FAO Senior Officer

9:45 Children’s debate “Child labour in agriculture must be eliminated, despite the obstacles”: St. Stephen’s School. Positive: Gideon Loevinsohn, Veronica Lopez da Silva; Negative: Barbara Johnson, Astrid Barsk

10:15 “A threat to my life and my future: a child’s perspective on child labour”, winner of the Best secondary
school essay

10:20 Teatro Ippocampo Performance on Child Labour: “Lavoro minorile nella pesca ‘Muro Ami’

10:40 Discussion

FAO/IFAD/ILO - organized Press Conference on Child Labour, especially in Agriculture (Iran Room, B-016) (Audience: International and Italian Media: Language: English and Italian)

Moderator: Nicholas Parsons, Director, FAO Communication Division

11:00 José María Sumpsi Viñas, Assistant Director General, Department of Agriculture and Consumer
Protection, FAO: Joint FAO/IFAD message “Eliminating the worst forms of child labour in
agriculture is a harvest for the future”

11:05 Alain Giorgio Maria Economides, Director General Development Cooperation, Italian Ministry of Foreign
Affairs

11:10 Questions and answers

12:15-14:00 Documentary Film on Child Labour in Agriculture (Red Room, Building A, 1st Floor)

ILO-Rome/Ministry of Social Solidarity/Ministry of Labour and Social Security-organized Congress and Roundtable on Child Labour in Italy: Scenarios and New Challenges (Red Room, Building A, 1st Floor) (Audience: Italian Government, ILO, FAO, IFAD, International community, select Italian media; Language: Italian)

14:30 Welcome address by Mr Claudio Lenoci, Director ILO Rome

14:45 Welcome by Eve Crowley, Gender, Equity and Rural Employment Division, FAO

14:50 Welcome by IFAD Representative

15:00 Address by Anna Maria Serafini, President of the Parliamentary Commission for Childhood

15.15 Round table between the Government and Social Parties on Child Labour
Moderator: Lucia Ferrari, RAI TG 3

Participants:
• Cecilia Donaggio, Undersecretary of State, Ministry of Social Solidarity
• Antonio Montagnino, Undersecretary of State, Ministry of Labour and Social Security
• Gaetano Pascarella, Undersecretary of State, Ministry of Public Education

Representatives of Workers and Trade Unions:
o Valeria Fedeli, Secretary General FILTEA Textile Sector, CGIL
o Sergio Betti, Segretario Confederale CISL
o Stefano Mantegazza, Secretary General UILA, Food and agriculture Sector - UIL

Representatives of Employers and Farmers Organizations
o Giorgio Usai, Confindustria
o Riccardo Giovani, Confartigianato
o Basilio Mussolin, Confcommercio
o Confagricoltura

16:45 Discussion

17:00 Conclusions


International Organisations join efforts to tackle child labour in agriculture. GENEVA - 12 JUNE 2007

Scenario for the World Day against Child Labour 12 June 2007
Child Labour in Agriculture

I. Signing ceremony
13.15-14.30, Palais des Nations, Geneva, Room XVII

II. Release of Balloons
14.45-15.30, Place des Nations, Geneva


I. Signing Ceremony

Context

• World Day against Child Labour, is observed worldwide on 12 June every year with supporting events and activities around that day. World Day against Child Labour is intended to serve as a catalyst for the growing worldwide movement against child labour.

• The theme of World Day against Child Labour 2007 is the elimination of child labour in agriculture. Worldwide, agriculture is the sector where by far the largest share of working children is found — nearly 70 percent. Over 132 million girls and boys aged 5 to 14 years old work in crop and livestock production.

• The ILO has made special efforts to enhance its work to reach children working in agriculture. On 12 June 2007, representatives of the ILO and five international agricultural organizations will sign a Declaration of Intent on Cooperation on Child Labour in Agriculture to inaugurate a new strategic partnership. The signing of this Declaration is the result of a consultative process, started more than 18 months ago, to develop policy coherence on child labour in agriculture among these organizations, and to plan for joint field and programmatic activities.

Signing Ceremony

A signing ceremony will be held to launch the new international partnership between ILO and key international agricultural organizations, including agricultural employers' and workers' organizations.

Prior to the signature of the Declaration, representatives of the partner organizations will make statements to highlight the contribution each organization can make to the joint effort to tackle child labour in agriculture. The objective is to present the key messages developed jointly by the six organizations for the partnership and the way forward for the coming years.

The event will be facilitated by Mr. Kari Tapiola, Executive Director of the Standards and Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work Sector of the ILO and the Director-General is asked to represent and sign the Declaration on behalf of the ILO.

Speakers at the Ceremony

• Employer Vice-Chairperson of the Governing Body

• Worker Vice-Chairperson of the Governing Body

Representatives from the Partner Organizations

• International Labour Organization,

• Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO),

• International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD),

• International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR),

• International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP - representing farmers/employers and their organizations), and

• International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF - representing workers and their organizations).

Others to be present at the table are:

• ILO IPEC Director
• Two children holding bundles of wheat

Detailed scenario of the Signing Ceremony

13:15 –Introductory Statement by Kari Tapiola, ILO Executive Director of Standards and Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work Sector [if the Director-General only can be present for the signing]
13.18: Statement by the spokesperson for the Employers Group
13.22 Statement by the spokesperson for the Workers Group
13:26 - Showing of ILO DVD Tackling Child Labour in Agriculture
13:36 – Kari Tapiola invites the representatives of the partner organizations to make their statements
13:38 – Statement by representative of FAO
13:43 – Statement by representative of IFAD
13.48 – Statement by representative of IFPRI
13:53 – Statement by representative of IFAP
13:58 – Statement by representative of IUF
14:03 – Songs of the children against child labour
14:08 – Facilitator invites representatives for signature of the Declaration of Intent on Cooperation on Child Labour in Agriculture (children sing songs against child labour)
The Director-General [or his representative] signs on behalf of the ILO
14.23 – Wrap-up by Kari Tapiola, and invitation to all to join the public event on the Place des Nations, with school children releasing balloons to celebrate World Day Against Child Labour.
14:27 – Songs of the children against child labour

StreetNet International joins trade unions calling for the implementation of ILO Convention 182

Many thousands of children struggle to overcome hunger and poverty. The majority of working children who are engaged in labour, both paid and unpaid, have few or no opportunities for development and face an uncertain future. Organising in the informal economy can improve the live of parents and help abolish child labour. Education for children is a priority.

Resolution 5: Child labour
The First International Congress of StreetNet, NOTING:
1. That there are instances of children working as street vendors, either independently or assisting parents who are street vendors, informal market vendors or hawkers;
2. That many of these children are working to augment low incomes earned by the adults in their families;
3. That on occasion these children’s work keeps them out of school and prevents them from developing their skills and abilities to the best of their potential;
HEREBY RESOLVES
1. That StreetNet supports ILO Convention 138 and Recommendation 146 of 1973 on the Minimum Age, and Convention 182 and Recommendation 190 of 1999 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour;
2. To unconditionally support the rights of all children to attend school, to encourage informal market vendors, street vendors and hawkers to ensure that their children complete their schooling, and to promote opportunities for their further education;
3. To unconditionally support the promotion and exercise of equal rights for girl children, and to fight against any form of discrimination against the girl child;
4. To work for the increase in incomes for adult street vendors, informal market vendors and hawkers as the best means of eliminating the need for children to work to augment the incomes of adult family members;
5. To promote the establishment of secure and affordable child care centres for pre-school children of street vendors, market vendors or hawkers close to their places of work operating appropriate hours for them to be able to fully utilise such centres. Where possible, such child-care centres should be integrally linked to town or market plans;
6. To promote urban planning approaches which incorporate facilities for the care of the pre-school children of street vendors, informal market vendors and hawkers.
PROPOSED: CNTG and Eastern Cape Alliance of Street vendors
SECONDED: FEDEVAL

LESOTHO. National Union of Hotels, Food and Allied Workers (NUHFAW) support Day of Action

The majority of population earn their living in the subsistence farming and stock rearing. The predominant practice has hitherto been for the boys aged 4years upwards to herd life stock suffering a number of retarding factors in the moral and spiritual development such as being exposed to harsh climatic conditions: torrential rains snow blizzards etc. and worst still being able to attend schools. Thus perpetuating vicious circle of poverty due to lack of acquiring functional skills for subsistence and improvement of quality of life.

High rates of unemployment and underemployment have contributed markedly to child labour. High proportion of Basotho males worked in the Republic of South African mines. But the restructuring of the mining industry in South Africa has resulted retrenchments of significant basotho mine workers. Children have been withdrawn from schools in to labour market so as to supplement family incomes.
The other element is the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS infections and has claimed its toll: 30% of the economically active population i.e working population aged between 18 and 49 years, leaving the children and elderly people exposed to vagaries of poverty. Children have been forced to find employment to support both elderly and sick people. The emergence of child-headed has forced most children to fend for themselves to support their siblings.
Lesotho being an ILO member state is bound to observe the declaration of the fundamental principles of Human rights and the fights at work. In addition the Lesotho has ratified the two core ILO conventions viz Convention No. 138 on minimum age and Convention No. 182 on elimination of worst forms of child Labour and therefore see to it that the principles enshrined in these instruments are realized both in Law and Practice.
It should be noted that Lesotho has ratified the United Nations Convention on the rights of a child. And the United Nations Covenant on economic Social and Cultural Rights.

INTERNATIONAL CONTEXT
Another special feature of agriculture is the extend to which child workers form a major part of the work force in many countries. The ILO report 1996 report that 20 developing countries put a proportion of economically active children aged 5-14 years in farming, animal husbandry. As this emphasizes: “ the implications of this figures is clear, if the majority are located in developing countries and large number of children from the ambit of protective legislation “ many children are killed, injured, or fall ill as a result of their work.
It was emphasized in 2006 at the International Conference that “ Unless a concerted effort is applied to reducing child labour in agriculture, it will be impossible to achieve the ILO goal of the elimination of child labour in the 2016”.
A second edition of the ILO report indicate that over 132 Million children age 5 – 14 years work in agriculture – up to 70 per cent of working children.
The children are exposed to dangerous work and toxic pesticides, work long hours, some times in extreme temperatures and can end trapped in forced or bonded labour. As a result working children generally are out of schools.
SOLIDARITY SUPPORT
As Lesotho does not represent a large portion in commercial agriculture, but processed food products are consequently taking a large scale of in many sectors.
It is therefore NUHFAW’s effort, calling upon all employers to whom NUHFAW has Collective relationship to commit to work with NUHFAW at National and International level to eliminate the child labour along their supply chains. As a result of weight of child labour in agricultural sector, join the world that the processed food products can confidently be confirmed to be child - labour free.
And further more NUHFAW is calling upon the ministry of Labour and Epmloyment and other government agencies to facilitate, as a matter of agency, the enforcement of provisions of the Labour Code and other relevant instruments.
It is NUHFAW’s believe as emphasized in the IUF publications that adult poverty is the root cause of child labour. Action to improve the living and the working conditions of adult workers in agriculture and may other sectors is the key to elimination of child labour, which means enforcing employment rights and strengthening the position of the trade unions in the sector.
ADULTS AT WORK!!!!!!!!!! CHILDREN IN SCHOOLS

June 09, 2007

International Cocoa Initiative on World Child Labour Day

The International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) welcomes this attention which supports our mandate to eliminate the worst forms of child labour and forced labour in the growing of cocoa.

Continue reading the ICI statement here.

Guyana: Guyana Agricultural and General Workers’ Union Says End Child Labour in Agriculture Now!

From Combat April-May 2007, the journal of the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers’ Union

Children toiling at looms to make rugs or stitching footballs – this is the public's image of child labour. While it is true that kids do this work, in fact the biggest single user of child labour is agriculture.

Read the full text of the GAGWU call for action here.

June 06, 2007

TURKEY. TARIM-IŞ - our health, our safety, our children

To mark WDACL, TARIM-IŞ, the Turkish Forestry, Agriculture and Agricultural Industry Workers Union, will call on the Minister of Labour and Social Security to ratify ILO Convention Nr. 184 on Health and Safety in Agriculture. The union will also raise concerns about the working and living conditions of migrant seasonal workers, who migrate with their families to work on the farms.

TARIM-IŞ says there are no children working in the public sector which is unionized, but that child labour exists in the private sector, especially among mobile seasonal workers who move with their families and whose children often end up working with their parents in the fields.

The union is also sending a letter to all political parties requesting the amendment of the Labour Act. The current Act excludes agricultural workers in establishments employing 50 and less workers, the union wants them covered by the Act.

TARIM-IŞ will issue a press release for WDACL to draw attention to its activities. The union has published two booklets which will be widely circulated. One is on the working and living conditions of women seasonal workers, the other is a small booklet including the Turkish translation of Convention 184 and Recommednation 192.

ECLT reiterates commitment to ending child labour in tobacco growing

Today, Eliminating Child Labour in Tobacco Foundation (ECLT) joins forces with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), IUF and international agricultural agencies to call for action to end child labour in tobacco and agriculture.
The agricultural sector employs nearly 70 per cent of child labour globally – that is 132 million girls and boys aged between 5-14 years old. This is of particular concern as agriculture is one of the most dangerous and under-regulated industries, along with mining and construction. Child labour is a common feature in countries where tobacco is grown.

‘Child labour denies children their right to an education and a route out of poverty. When children don’t go to school they are less likely to send their own children to school, creating a self perpetuating cycle. The main driver for child labour is poverty, for which there are no simple solutions. However governments could be doing more to prioritise this issue. ECLT and our partners are supporting Governments to act against child labour. We call on international donors to support Governments more on this,’ explains Joanne Dunn, Executive Director of the ECLT Foundation.
ECLT’s programmes have shown how an holistic approach to the issue can bring about lasting impacts for children. ECLT programmes tackle both the causes and the symptoms of child labour. With ECLT partners based in Kyrgyzstan, Malawi, the Philippines, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia, the Foundation is calling on governments to take action in four key areas.
1) Governments should apply laws on child labour. There are many laws in place protecting children and prohibiting child labour but these laws are not always enforced. Government should apply the minimum legal working age to jobs in agriculture by funding enforcement mechanisms including inspectorates. The Government should also prohibit hazardous work for all children under 18 and define the list of hazardous activities as is required by their ratification of ILO’s Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention 182.
2) The most important contributor to child labour is poverty. Governments should ensure that its poverty reduction strategies support the elimination of child labour. They should lobby donors to fund this as a key aspect of their social protection agendas.
3) Another issue that makes children more vulnerable to child labour is the lack of access to good quality education. Governments should overcome the gap in education between urban and rural areas. They should also make efforts to provide education either free or at a cost that parents can afford. Governments should ensure that their education programmes include rehabilitation and access to education for child labourers as part of the ‘education for all’ agenda.
4) Governments should pay special attention to the needs of orphans and vulnerable children who are more at risk of becoming child labourers. Governments should work with multinational employers, unions and other groups to support orphans and vulnerable children and ensure they are not exploited.
UN agencies (ILO-IPEC, FAO and IFAD) have joined forces with IUF and producers’ organisations to raise visibility of child labour in the agricultural sector. Their aim is to address child labour in agriculture, especially hazardous child labour, as part of the growing worldwide movement to eliminate child labour. The World Day Against Child Labour 2007 marks the beginning of this new and important partnership.

June 05, 2007

Adwoa Sakyi, president AWTG

Child labour in agriculture undermines decent work, sustainable agriculture and food security as it maintains a cycle of poverty where household income is insufficient to meet the needs of families – children work as cheap labour because their parents do not earn enough to support the family.

Child labour in agriculture takes many forms and can be seasonal or full-time. Often it is related to work within family-run business so is hard to detect. Children also work on large plantations throughout the world. The number of children working in agriculture is nearly ten times that of children involved in factory work such as garment manufacturing or carpet weaving.

Primary school enrolment rates are often lower for children who work in agriculture. Long working hours leave children exhausted and their school studies are neglected as a result, migrant workers and seasonal child farm workers have among the highest school dropout rates.

So in the AWTG, we are using June 12 as a rallying point to call on governments and employers to take measures to improve workers' wages and farmers income so that their children are not obliged to work to supplement the family income. Improving conditions for waged agricultural workers will in the long term reduce child labour. In this regard, waged agricultural workers, farmers and their organisations have a duty to ensure that decent work is achieved.

Targeting children who play an important role in the economic development is a must. Children are not only an important human resource, but also future nation builders. It is therefore imperative that they receive proper education and training in order to fulfil their future roles effectively.

These children are our future, the international community, governments and civil society must protect them.

KYRGYZSTAN. 10 DAY NATIONAL CAMPAIGN

On June 2, the IUF – affiliated Agricultural Workers’ Union of Kyrgyzstan together with the ECLT, ILO/IPEC and the government representatives launched a 10 day national campaign for the elimination of child labour in agriculture that will last till June 12.

During the campaign a green bus with the slogan “Harvest for the future: agriculture without child labour” will be traveling around four regions and nine provinces of the Kyrgyz Republic where cotton, tobacco, rice and other crops are cultivated. The campaign has started in the capital Bishkek at “Dordoi” wholesale market and will be finished on June 12 in Nookat province of Osh region, which is a tobacco growing area in the South.

At every location where the bus stops, the professional actors perform a stage play on child labour and will show the animated film “Children Voices Against Child Labour”.
There are also photo and essay competitions on “No to Child Labour”. A brochure with the results of medical examination of children working in tobacco, rice and cotton will be distributed.

June 01, 2007

Austrian GMTN union is the first affiliate to respond to the IUF call for action

Full details here