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ILO renews call to BD to ratify Convention 138

June 13, 2019 00:00:00


FE Report

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) on Wednesday reiterated its call to the Bangladesh government to ratify Convention 138 concerning minimum age for admission to employment.

To mark the World Day Against Child Labour 2019, the ILO also urged all governments, workers and employers to make a final push to end child labour.

"The World Day Against Child Labour gives us an opportunity to take stock, define goals and recommit to action," ILO director general Guy Ryder said in a statement.

Our reflection this year - the ILO's Centenary - is particularly significant because the ILO has been working for the abolition of child labour since its earliest days, he said adding two of the first six Conventions the ILO adopted in its first year, 1919, addressed child labour.

"Its abolition is now the subject of one of the ILO's fundamental principles, along with ending forced labour and work-related discrimination, and promoting freedom of association and collective bargaining," the statement said quoting Mr Ryder.

ILO Bangladesh country director Tuomo Poutiainen in the statement said, "Bangladesh is progressing well in its journey to become a middle-income economy and major efforts have been made to address child labour."

Decent work for all cannot be achieved without the elimination of child labour, he said adding it is important to continue to provide good basic education, skills and address safe work for youth.

ILO's experience in tackling child labour has shown that a combination of legislative regulation, progressive labour market and youth employment policy, access to social protection programmes and quality education are required for the effective elimination of child labour, he said.

Citing National Child Labour Survey 2013, the ILO statement said there are 1.7 million child labourers in Bangladesh of whom circa 1.28 million are trapped in hazardous forms of child labour.

The ILO continues to advocate with Bangladesh government for the ratification of ILO Convention 138 concerning minimum age for admission to employment, it added.

It also recalled the government's commitment to eradicate all forms of child labour by 2025.

As part of ILO's technical cooperation with the Bangladesh government, child labour monitoring was piloted from 2016-2018 in several remote rural areas in the northwest part of the country, the statement said.

A total of 144 Community-based Workplace Surveillance Groups (CWSG) were formed in 45 unions and three semi-urban towns of Kurigram and Lalmonirhat districts.

These groups were supported by young activists who identified 2,016 child labourers in tea stalls and eateries, farming and fishing, automobile repair workshops, bidi (cigarette) and brick manufacturing and domestic work.

Of those identified, 58 per cent were above the minimum age of admission to employment (14 years), and 44 per cent were in one of the 38 occupations listed as hazardous by Bangladesh government, it added.

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