The "Durban Call to Action" on the Elimination of Child Labour

Keywords : Newsletters Occupational Health and Safety Youth Work - Organising And Workers Empowerment

The Fifth Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour was held from 15 to 20 May 2022 in Durban, South Africa. A host of personalities from all corners of the world attended this high-level meeting. It was noted that at the end of the conference, the participants unanimously affirmed their firm commitment to prevent and eliminate child and forced labour in the world.

Firm and important decisions were taken towards addressing flaws and making sure that this phenomenon is completely stamped out.

The "Durban Call to Action" includes strong commitments to combat child labour while raising concerns that the gains that have been made have slowed and are now threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic and armed conflicts, as well as by the ongoing food, environmental and humanitarian crises.

The conference focused on fundamental principles and rights at work, including effective abolition of child labour, elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour, freedom of association, effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining, and elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation, which made it possible to arrive at possible solutions.

The first one to be highlighted concerns target 13 of the SDGs, which seeks to put in place social protection systems and measures for all. Much of child labour is a direct consequence of children dropping out of school. It was therefore recalled that the right of a child to education and to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health should be upheld. At the same time, children’s ability to form their own opinions and their right to freedom of expression on all issues that concern them and to participate effectively in their resolution were also highlighted.

On the basis of the issues that were discussed, a clarion call for action was issued on a number of points. This included: (i) accelerating multi-stakeholder efforts to prevent and eliminate child labour; (ii) ending child labour in agriculture; (iii) intensifying prevention and elimination of child labour; (iv) achieving universal access to social protection; (v) increasing funding and international cooperation to eliminate child and forced labour; (vi) ending child labour in agriculture; (vii) strengthening the prevention and elimination of child labour etc.

In a press release, the conference " commended the ratification of Convention No. 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour by all member States, the fastest ratification ever in the history of the ILO, and the decisive advances made by governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations in efforts to eliminate child labour, which have contributed to a drop in the number of children trapped in child labour by around 86 million since 2000".
At the same time, it is worth noting that a total of 49 immediate and effective measures have been taken to make decent work a reality for adults and young people above the minimum age for employment. Such measures include intensifying concerted efforts to promote, uphold and give effect to all fundamental principles and rights at work, while recognizing their interdependence and complementarity; safeguarding safe and healthy working conditions, which are fundamental to decent work, and protecting young people from hazardous work; addressing the need for an appropriate minimum wage, whether set by law or negotiated...

It should be noted that the Durban conference, which took place from 15 to 20 May, was the first ever of the Global Conferences on Child Labour to be held in Africa. The six-day event featured more than 40 thematic panels and side events, which focused on a wide variety of child labour issues.

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