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Open letter from Chairperson


Open letter from Kailash Satyarthi, Chairperson, Global March Against Child Labour

Dear Friends, 

Greetings from Global March Against Child Labour International Secretariat

We are approaching World Day Against Child Labour on 12th June 2007. I hope that your organisation must be observing this day with lot of enthusiasm and action. All of us being members of Global March Against Child Labour are proud that the unprecedented mobilization of children and the adults across the world during 1998 has brought child labour in the global agenda. This has directly resulted in the unanimous adoption of the ILO convention against Worst Form of Child Labour in the following year on June 12th which is being celebrated as this day.

This year Global March has decided to support the ILO campaign theme of “Child Labour in Agriculture”. Child Labour in agriculture is a serious but largely ignored problem. It has been estimated that 70% of world’s 218 million child labourers are involved in agricultural sector. In most cases agriculture is considered as a traditional medium of livelihood but the hazards in this sector remain unnoticed. The uncontrolled use of harmful chemicals like pesticides, insecticides and working with agricultural machinery damage the tender organs of working children and cause accidents. This also directly affects full time education, school retention and quality learning of these children. Children being the cheapest or free labour results in adult unemployment and low wages, which further fuels poverty. This situation is worsened by absence of legal enforcement or inadequate laws, inefficient schooling and health facilities.

In this context Global March should raise this issue at local, national and international level. We must demand a total eradication and rehabilitation of child labour in agriculture as it restricts education, health, freedom and development of children. ILO convention on Worst Form of Child Labour (182) and Minimum Age of Employment (138) must be ratified and genuinely enforced by following the ILO recommendations. The civil societies should be involved in planning, execution and monitoring of the National Action Plan substantiated with implementation mechanism and resources.

Governments must ensure free, compulsory and good quality of education with special focus on children working in agriculture. Minimum 6% of GDP must be earmarked for education including hiring and training teachers with decent wages. A comprehensive policy has to be worked out by the government to integrate elimination of child labour in the education for all agenda as well as in poverty reduction strategy paper.

Many corporations like chocolate, jute, sugar, silk, coffee, tea, food industry involve children in the production and distribution. The corporate sector and national government must ascertain the non employment of children in their production. In this regard I would call upon you to observe the World Day Against Child Labour on 12th June 2007 with full strength. You may plan your activities such as public hearing, media event, issuing press release, human chains, symposium or in-house discussion among the children, community and staff you work with.

In this regard I would call upon you to observe the World Day Against Child Labour on 12th June 2007 with full
strength. You may plan your activities such as public hearing, media event, issuing press release, human chains, symposium or in-house discussion among the children, community and staff you work with.

We would be very happy to highlight the action taken by you on our Global March website and e-newsletter. We request you to send us the reports of your organization and country specific detail oninfo@globalmarch.org and abha@globalmarch.org

With all best wishes,

Kailash Satyarthi