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UN calls for stepped-up effort to end child labour in 2025

By Fatima Sule [NAN]


UN leaders urged governments, businesses and civil society to step up efforts this year to end child labour by 2025, as agreed by UN member countries a decade ago.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) Chief, Guy Ryder, said this on Thursday as he launched the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour in Geneva.

“Let’s remember that there are still 152 million children in child labour,’’ Ryder said.

However, the number is 100 million lowers than it was at the beginning of this century.

UN agencies must work together to address this problem, especially in the farming sector and in conflict situations, which are often linked to harmful underage work, Ryder said in an online event.

Henrietta Fore, the head of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), warned that the COVID-19 pandemic has made children more vulnerable to exploitation.

While the pandemic has increased economic strife, lockdown measures have made it more difficult for welfare workers and labour inspectors to reach children and their workplaces, she said.

Fore urged businesses to do their share in this year of action.

“There is just no excuse any more to have child labour in your supply chain,’’ she said.

Amar Lal, an Indian child labour survivor, lawyer and activist, said that having laws and policies against such exploitation is not enough.

“We need action in 2021,’’ he said, demanding the implementation of existing rules.

The ILO defines child labour as underage work that harms children in any way or that prevents their education.

The worst forms include slavery, sexual exploitation and separation from parents. (dpa/NAN)

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