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Call For Ratification Of ILO Child Labour Convent.

Call For Ratification Of New ILO Child Labour Convention

“The New Zealand Government must ratify the new ILO Convention on the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour,” said Gillian Southey from the Set the Children Free Coalition.

The Coalition made this call on World Servitude Day, 17 September. This day is commemorated world-wide to focus attention on issues of child and bonded labour.

The Convention was passed unanimously by worker, employer and government delegates from 174 countries at the June 1999 ILO Conference in Geneva. It focuses on immediate action to eliminate child slavery, child prostitution and pornography, the use of children or drug trafficking and other illicit activities, the forced or compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflict and any other work which harms the health, safety or morals of children.

The convention will protect all children under the age of eighteen. Provisions include national programmes of action to eliminate the worst forms of child labour, the participation of civil society, international co-operation and assistance and extensive data collection.

Gillian Southey said that thousands of children from all over the world had been involved in the Global March Movement which culminated in a presentation at the ILO before its June meeting. This provided a powerful message to ensure that the Convention was passed.

NGOs, trade unions, religious and business groups have engaged in discussions and awareness raising in over 130 countries in the months leading up to the adoption of the Convention and its associated recommendations.

“The Set the Children Free Coalition calls on the Government to immediately ratify the Convention, to immediately ensure that New Zealand is complying with the Convention and to assist poorer countries of the world to eliminate the worst forms of child labour in their countries,” Gillian Southey said.

“Set the Children Free”, a coalition of New Zealand NGOs, has been active in New Zealand for several years. Its work has included the presentation to Parliament of a petition on child bonded labour two years ago.

N.B. The full name ILO Convention 182 is the “Convention Concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour”.

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