January 24, 2014: Global March Against Child Labour along with its partner organisations and Anti-Slavery International, Human Rights Watch submitted a letter to Bolivian President Evo Morales opposing the discourse to lower the minimum age of employment to 12 (which is 14 at present as per the Children and Adolescent Code in Brazil). The letter has been handed over by Global March at the Bolivian Senate in La Paz and the Embassy of Bolivia in New Delhi, India.
As a progressive step towards the abolition of child labour, Bolivia has ratified ILO Convention 138 on minimum age of employment, Convention 182 on worst forms of child labour and has supported the Dakar Framework for Action: Education for All. The current move, if implemented would not only be a violation of the obligations of these international treaties but also be a deterrent to the Bolivian economy.
Bolivia has a reported 850,000 child labourers. Needless to mention, the present move, if put to practice would not only fuel child labour but expose these children to trafficking, slavery, servitude, forced labour and violence. This, in turn, would jeopardise the educational prospects of Bolivian children and deprive adults of decent work conditions further perpetuating the vicious cycle of poverty and illiteracy.
Commenting on the present situation, Kailash Satyarhi, Chairperson of Global March Against Child Labour said, “I am aware of certain regressive forces in the civil society and the governments which are still struggling to reverse the efforts in ending the menace of child labour. Such elements have always used the argument of cultural sensitivity, traditions, poverty, family necessities, etc against globally accepted principles, standards, legislations and commitments. This is exactly what is happening in Bolivia and this is non-negotiable. Global March and its partners not only condemn therefore the proposed move to reduce the age of child labour to 12 but strongly demand the President and the people of Bolivia to stop this unjustified and unacceptable action from taking place.”
Global March along with its members and partners condemns this regressive proposal that would undo much of the work that has been done for the protection of the rights of the 168 million child labourers across the globe including Bolivian children.
To read the letters, please click on the following links: