Announcement Cover Story Human Rights

Can Children Inherit an Exploitation-free World from us?

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Let Children Smile in a deprivation-free, exploitation-free world. Let’s each of us ask ourselves what we can do for 168 million children worldwide to ensure that the do not sleep hungry, wake-up weary. Here’s Arindam’s curtain raiser on the Different Truths special feature on World Day Against Child Labour (WDACL).

#WorldDayAgainstChildLabour2016  #WorldDayAgainstChildLabour  #WDACL #ILO

Campaigns and signatures have begun. When the conscientious among us see a child suffer, it breaks us. We are aghast at the ever swelling statistics of child labour. Sadly, 168 million children toil in inhuman conditions and wither away, long before they get half a chance to bloom. It is one of the worst kinds of brutality. It is a deep rooted socioeconomic problem, particularly in Third World countries.

It’s a larger part of the politics of hunger and deprivation. Hunger forces the poor to earn early. These children, deprived from education, is caught in the mess of poverty-hunger-labour cycle. Vested interest groups profit from its perpetuation.

It translates into millions of dollars profiteering. The Biblical saying is so apt: behind every Fortune there is crime!

What is Child Labour?

Child labour refers to the employment of children in any work that deprives children of their childhood, interferes with their ability to attend regular school, and that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful. This practice is considered exploitative by many international organisations. Legislations across the world prohibit child labour. These laws do not consider all work by children as child labour; exceptions include work by child artists, supervised training, certain categories of work such as those by Amish children, and others.

Child labour was employed to varying extents through most of history. Before 1940, numerous children aged 5 – 14 worked in Europe, the United States and various colonies of European powers. With the rise of household income, availability of schools and passage of child labour laws, the incidence rates of child labour fell. In developing countries, with high poverty and poor schooling opportunities, child labour is still prevalent. (With material from: Wikipedia, the text has been taken from

ChildLabour-UN Course
ChildLabour-UN Course

World Day Against Child Labour (WDACL)  

The World Day Against Child Labour (WDACL) is a wakeup call, a protest against the agonizing pain of millions of children, worldwide, engaged as labourers.

The WDACL, which is held every year on June 12, is intended to foster the worldwide movement against child labour in any of its forms, adds the wiki.

In 2016, the focus for WDACL is on child labour and supply chains. With 168 million children still in child labour, all supply chains, from agriculture to manufacturing, services to construction, run the risk that child labour may be present, according to the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) website.

Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General
Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General

Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General says, “Child labour has no place in well-functioning and well-regulated markets, or in any supply chain. The message that we must act now to stop child labour once and for all has been affirmed by the Sustainable Development Goals. Acting together, it is within our means to make the future of work a future without child labour.”

The International Labour Organisation (ILO), the United Nations body which regulates the world of work, launched the WDACL, in 2002, in order to bring attention and join efforts to fight against child labour. This day brings together governments, local authorities, civil society and international, workers and employers organisations to point out the child labour problem and define the guidelines to help child labourers.

According to ILO’s data, hundreds of millions of girls and boys throughout the world are involved in work that deprives them from receiving adequate education, health, leisure and basic freedoms, violating this way their rights. Of these children, more than half are exposed to the worst forms of child labour. These worst forms of child labour include work in hazardous environments, slavery, or other forms of forced labour, illicit activities such as drug trafficking and prostitution, as well as involvement in armed conflict.

The WDACL provides an opportunity to gain further support of individual governments and local authorities, as well as that of the ILO social partners, civil society and others, in the campaign to tackle child labour.

WDACL 2016: Two UN Agencies Launch Course

To end child labour in Agriculture, two UN agencies launched an e-learning course aimed at ensuring that child labour prevention measures are included in agricultural and rural development programmes, particularly those targeting poor smallholders, ahead of the World Day, on Wednesday (June 8)

“To achieve zero hunger, we must also achieve zero child labour,” said José Graziano da Silva,

José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of the UN FAO
José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of the UN FAO

Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which designed the course along with the International Labour Organization (ILO).

“Child labour is certainly a complex issue, and it cannot be tackled alone. We need strong partnerships, where everyone brings expertise and resources to the table,” added da Silva in remarks made earlier today at an event in Rome marking the WDACL.

The End Child Labour in Agriculture e-course covers the sectors of crops, livestock, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture.

Specifically, it consists of 15 lessons, ranging from about 30 to 65 minutes each, grouped into seven units: introduction to child labour in agriculture; identifying and coordinating stakeholders; assessing and generating data and knowledge; incorporating child labour in policies and strategies; addressing child labour in agricultural programmes; monitoring, evaluating and reporting; and developing capacity and communicating effectively.

FAO and ILO noted that globally, nearly 60 per cent of all child labourers – almost 100 million girls and boys – work in agriculture. The worse forms of child labour include hazardous work that can harm their health and safety.

Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General underscored that rural children should expect to benefit from quality education and decent work opportunities in their communities.

“Our e-learning course sends a clear message that it is imperative to end child labour in agriculture. This tool will help to build the capacity of agricultural stakeholders as well as labour stakeholders – and others – to fully engage where they can best contribute,” he said.

The new e-course addresses the need to implement labour-saving technologies to reduce demand for child labour as well as safer agricultural practices to reduce hazardous working conditions.

DT-PVCHR Special Feature on WDACL

Other than this curtain raiser on WDACL, Different Truths (DT) and the Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) presents a special feature on this occasion.

Shruti Nagvanshi of PVCHR, in her in-depth article on Over 55 Million Children in India Labour but Sleep Hungry, tells us how despite legislations and protests by Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailsh Satyarthi, activists like Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi and NGOs like PVCHR, over 55 million children in India are doomed.

The second feature of the DT-PVCHR tie-up is a Case Study of Cartis India Survey on the Right to Education in Bihar: A Booklet. Different Truths (DT) sourced the graphs, tables and pix from the Internet, basis the information, to complete the presentation. Aimed at the serious reader, researcher and activists and NGOs, this booklet shows us the light at the end of the tunnel. Cartis India and PVCHR joined hands to act rather than just speak about WDACL. With enough people shedding crocodile tears in India and abroad, it’s a welcome change to see real action.

Other than these two features by DT-PVCHR, we present a heart wrenching short story, Chhotu, by Lily Swarn. Based on real-life incident, the author tells us how deprivation, born out of poverty and hunger, has snatched away the carefree childhood from millions of children in India and other Third World countries.

Young advocate, Bhavna Bhasin, in her analytical report, A Child Labour Keeps Lopsided Economy Afloat on his Blood and Sweat, points out that internationally child labour has declined by one third since 2000. But, in India, that employs the largest numbers of child labour in the world, the trend is just the opposite.

The third and last story of the DT-PVCHR package, PVCHR Empowered Child Right to Curb Child Labour, by Dr. Mohanlal Panda, is a narrative of hope. He documents how the Varanasi-based NGO, PVCHR, resolved the issue. He tells us about the advocacy and initiatives that helped in empowering children. Here’s the Light to the obfuscating problems of child labour that might be replicated.

I wish to thank PVCHR, Lenin Raghuvanshi, Shruti Nagvanshi, Lily Swarn and Bhavna Bhasin- Am also grateful to Anumita Chatterjee Roy, Managing Editor of DT, and her team, for the layout and presentation, in particular, and her diligence, in general. Without the support of all these people, this special feature on WDACL might not have been possible.

We hope and pray that children work in schools instead. That they inherit a deprivation-and-exploitation-free world from us.

©Arindam Roy

Pix and videos from Net.

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