Kailash Satyarthi: It is now time for universal accountability to end child labour

march

Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi and the Global March against Child Labour have demanded universal ratification of the ILO Convention 182 in order and commit themselves to end worst forms of child labour. A note:

On 04 August 2020, in a historic move, Tonga, an archipelago of more than 170 islands in the South Pacific, ratified the International Labour Organisation’s Convention 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour. Tonga’s ratification makes Convention 182 the only universally ratified convention in ILO’s history.

Convention 182 is the result of steady and sustained international advocacy by Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi who founded the Global March Against Child Labour in 1998 that brought together more than 7 million people to call for this convention and the end to child labour. The physical march traversed more than 80,000 kms, covering Asia, Africa, Latin America, North America and Europe, uniting people across 140 countries with the slogan “Down down, Child Labour. We want education!” Mr. Satyarthi mobilised more than 2000 institutional partners who contributed to the success of the march.

The march was spearheaded by former child labourers who, at the 86th International Labour Conference in Geneva, called for the adoption of a strong international law against the worst forms of child labour. The success of the march resulted in the unanimous adoption of the convention in June 1999, the first step in the process of ratification. It was first ratified by Seychelles in September 1999 and today, after more than 22 years, Tonga is the 187th member State and the last to ratify it.

The ratification holds great significance as it reflects member states’ commitment to end child labour. Each ratifying country is now bound under international law to align its national policies and practices to the requirements of the convention, along with reporting regularly to the ILO regarding its application.

Since the adoption of the convention, the Global March Against Child Labour and Kailash Satyarthi, have been advocating for its universal ratification through numerous dialogues at world platforms with global leaders, country governments and their heads of state, supporting civil society in Asia, Africa and Latin America, as well as promoting the voices and participation of former child labourers at the local and global level.

Mr. Satyarthi has time and again emphasised the need for accountability and efficient implementation of Convention 182, by strengthening national administrative systems, allocating optimum budgets to national laws and policies prioritising children and their wellbeing. His tireless blend of activism, dialogue and deep compassion led the ILO to declare June 12th as the ‘World Day Against Child Labour.’

On this momentous occasion, Mr. Satyarthi congratulates the people and governments of the 187 countries, especially Tonga and the ILO. In these uncertain times of COVID-19, he reminds us that:

“Today marks the victory of the millions of children and activists who marched across 103 countries and 80,000 kms as part of the Global March against Child Labour. In 1998, as thousands of survivors and young people joined me to the lead the largest every mobilisation against child labour in the world, my children De Lucia, Kokhan, Govind, Sokuntia, and Joanna stood on the dais of the 86th Session of the International Labour Conference and demanded the international law whose universal ratification we celebrate today. Today’s celebration is dedicated in gratitude to each one of them, and is grounded in their legacy of freedom.I take this opportunity to congratulate the people and governments of the 187 countries who have made ILO Convention No.182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour the fastest and only universally ratified ILO convention in history, especially Tonga. I also congratulate the ILO on this historic day.”

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Statement of Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi on the occasion of Universal Ratification of ILO 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour:

Today marks the victory of the millions of children and activists who marched across 103 countries and 80,000 kms as part of the Global March against Child Labour. In 1998, as thousands of survivors and young people joined me to the lead the largest every mobilisation against child labour in the world, my children De Lucia, Kokhan, Govind, Sokuntia, and Joanna stood on the dais of the 86th Session of the International Labour Conference and demanded the international law whose universal ratification we celebrate today. Today’s celebration is dedicated in gratitude to each one of them, and is grounded in their legacy of freedom.

I take this opportunity to congratulate the people and governments of the 187 countries who have made ILO Convention No. 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour the fastest and only universally ratified ILO convention in history, especially Tonga. I also congratulate the ILO on this historic day.

In the past 22 years we have witnessed many victories, big and small. We have successfully reduced the number of child labourers in the world from 250 million to 152 million. However, in the 22 years that it has taken to universally ratify this convention, we have also lost an entire generation to slavery. Today is also a day of awakening. We cannot afford to lose another generation. It is now time for universal accountability to end child labour.

Let there be no doubt, the ongoing pandemic and economic crisis will lead to a substantial increase in child labour around the world. The challenge is enormous, but it is not insurmountable. The world must come together for 2021, the UN Year for Elimination of Child Labour, to prioritise our children in policies, resources and urgency of collective action.

I call on the millions who joined this fight to end child labour over 20 years ago, and to the millions who continue to fight today, to see this to the end. Standing together, I know we will see the end of child labour in my lifetime.

Source- counterview.org

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