On March 31, 2017, Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi welcomed the Government of India’s decision to ratify the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour and Convention 138 on the Minimum Age of Employment.
Commenting on the ratification, Mr Kailash Satyarthi, the Honourary President of Global March Against Child Labour said: “I congratulate the Honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and the Ministry of Labour and Employment on this historic reform. India’s decision for ratification of Convention 182 and Convention 138 was long overdue in providing justice to our children. After the total prohibition of child labour this is yet another important step in protecting all our children from exploitation and abuse. It now remains a collective responsibility of everyone to do their bit to scourge of child labour from the country. This remarkable moment also provides with an opportunity for the country to make renewed commitment for ending forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking as committed in the Sustainable Development Goals. Let this be the last generation that has been exploited in the name of illiteracy, poverty or helplessness.”
Founded by Mr. Kailash Satyarthi, Global March Against Child Labour (Global March) began in 1998 with an 80,000km physical march that was joined by 7.2 million marchers from around the world to demand for an international instrument against the worst forms of child labour. To this date, it remains the largest social movement on behalf of exploited children, which itself included children, youth and adults from all walks of life. These efforts of Mr. Satyarthi were recognised in the Nobel Peace Prize announcement in 2014.The voices of the marchers were reflected in unanimous adoption of the ILO Convention 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour, and the Convention 182 has since become the fastest ratified convention in the history of ILO. Notably, only a few Pacific Island countries and Eritrea have still not ratified it.
The Worst Forms of Child Labour prohibited under Convention 182 are:
(a) all forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, such as the sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage and serfdom and forced or compulsory labour, including forced or compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflict;
(b) the use, procuring or offering of a child for prostitution, for the production of pornography or for pornographic performances;
(c) the use, procuring or offering of a child for illicit activities, in particular for the production and trafficking of drugs as defined in the relevant international treaties;
(d) work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children.
India also adopted the ILO convention 138 that prescribes the minimum age of employment for children, which is set as fourteen years or such age as may be specified in the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, whichever is more.
Expressing his happiness on the cabinet approval of ratification of ILO Convention 182 & 138, Minister of Labour & Employment of India, Mr. Bandaru Dattatreya exclaimed that “We are all set to take another big leap for the abolition of child labour in India with the ratification of the ILO Conventions… It would be a step ahead in the direction of achieving the goal of complete eradication of child labour.”
Global March commends the government and the Ministry of Labour and Employment on their stance and pro-active efforts to eliminate child labour and exploitation by enacting Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act 2016.
Commenting on this historic development, the newly elected Chairperson of Global March Against Child Labour, Mr. Timothy Ryan remarked: “This milestone by the Indian government is a welcome recognition of the years of tireless work and dedication of Kailash Satyarthi and the international campaigners of the Global March Against Child Labor, which was founded to push for ratification of ILO Convention 182. Hopefully now even more governments will follow suit.”
With this great victory, Global March will continue to advocate for universal ratifications of ILO Conventions and other international laws on child rights and work for a world that is free of child labour and all forms of violence against children.
We look forward to your kind support in this endeavour.