World Day Against Child Labour 2020
By Benafsha Delgado & Marcella Mizzi
12 June, 2020
Today, 12 June 2020 marks World Day Against Child Labour (WDACL). Child labour is often defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential, and their dignity, and that is harmful to their physical and mental development. Article 32 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, ILO Convention 182 on the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour and ILO Convention 138 on the Minimum Age of Employment recognises the right of every child to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to interfere with the child’s education or harm the child’s health.
WDACL 2020 focuses on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on child labour. The harmful effects of Covid-19 have been felt in all areas of people’s lives: their work, their finances and most importantly, their health. As usual, the most vulnerable, including children, are those who will bear the brunt of this terrible illness. Millions of children risk being pushed into child labour as a result, which could lead to the first rise in child labour after 20 years of progress, according to a new brief from the International Labour Organization (ILO) and UNICEF.
The UN Global Compact Network UK (UNGC-UK) is supporting members to delve into the Sustainable Development Goals and explore opportunities to take action. Goal 8 presents a global commitment to end all forms of child labour by 2025. This goal is now under threat as the effects of the crisis become more severe. We are working with our members to ensure the private sector plays a role in demonstrating leadership, commitment, and action to protect children. Child labour is not something any company wants in their supply chain but equally, it is unrealistic for any business to avoid confronting the reality of it featuring somewhere within their value chain.
Partnership Against Child Exploitation (PACE) Consortium, is a ground-breaking project working to tackle the worst forms of child labour (WFCL) in the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Ethiopia. Together with partners Fifty Eight, we are collecting examples of corporate best practice on addressing the WFCL in fragile contexts. The programme of activities proposed will give the private sector an opportunity to contribute to research and in-country interventions.
As a global community we must do more to protect the most vulnerable children, especially now considering the health crisis. For the millions of children who continue to find themselves in child labour, there is very little respite. The buck cannot stop with us or the companies we engage with, but it is an entry point and one that we should not take for granted. Let’s hope that we can get to a point in the future where we will no longer have to dedicate a day each year to highlight the plight of millions of child workers. Instead, we will look forward to a time when we will commemorate the date in which globally, there are no more cases of children being affected by this abhorrent practice.
12 June, 2020 © THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION