Bimbola Oyesola, Geneva, Switzerland
With over 152 million children still trapped in child labour worldwide, the International Labour Organisation (ILO), has called on Nigeria and other members countries to accelerate the pace of progress ahead of the 2025 deadline.
The ILO Director General, Guy Ryder, in his speech to mark this year’s World Day Against Child Labour yesterday in Geneva, Switzerland said 73 million of these – almost half – are in hazardous work, stating that it was simply unacceptable.
Nigeria was in 2017 indicted at the 106th ILC of perpetrating child labour.
Ryder said, “There must be global commitment to do this as well as “meet Target 8.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals, which calls for the end of child labour by 2025 and that more coherent action was required, by ensuring the availability of quality education, social protection for all, and decent work for parents.”
The ILO Director-General urges governments, workers and employers to make a final push to end child labour.
He said, “How we treat our children is a reflection of our societies and values. The World Day Against Child Labour gives us an opportunity to take stock, define goals and recommit to action.
“Our reflection this year – the ILO’s Centenary – is particularly significant because the ILO has been working for the abolition of child labour since its earliest days. Two of the first six Conventions the ILO adopted in its first year, 1919, addressed child labour.
“Its abolition is now the subject of one of the ILO’s fundamental principles, along with ending forced labour and work-related discrimination, and promoting freedom of association and collective bargaining.”
Ryder said ILO in 100 years had made substantial progress, not just because of intense advocacy and national mobilisation backed by legislative and practical action.
According to him, between 2000 and 2016 alone, there was a 38 per cent decrease in child labour globally.
He said, “the ILO’s Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labour, 1999 (No. 182) has achieved almost universal ratification by the ILO’s 187 member States, and the ratification rate of the Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) is not far behind.