All the 187 member countries of the International Labour Organisation ILO have ratified the organisation’s Convention on the worst forms of Child Labour.
Known as ILO Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labour, 1999 (No. 182) ILO said in a statement that this was the first time in the organisation’s history, an International Labour Convention has been ratified by all member States.
According to the Director General of the ILO, Mr Guy Ryder, the universal ratification of the Convention No. 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour was achieved following ratification by the Kingdom of Tonga.
He said that the Convention is the most rapidly ratified Convention in the history of the organisation, since its adoption 21 years ago by the International Labour Conference.
“Universal ratification of Convention 182 is an historic, first that means that all children now have legal protection against the worst forms of child labour.
“It reflects a global commitment that the worst forms of child labour, such as slavery, sexual exploitation, the use of children in armed conflict or other illicit or hazardous work that compromises children’s health, morals or psychological wellbeing, have no place in our society”, he said.
Reacting to the feat, Secretary-General of the International Organisation of Employers (IOE) Mr Roberto Santos, described the universal ratification as a historic moment.
“Throughout the years, the IOE and its member organisations have supported the implementation of this Convention, today, the business community is both aware of and acting on the need to do business with respect for children’s rights.
“This is even more urgent in the times of the COVID-19 pandemic . We cannot allow the fight against the worst form of child labour to backslide. Together we can work towards the end of child labour in all its forms”, Santos said.
Mrs Sharan Burrow, Secretary-General, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), also welcomed the universal ratification.
According to Burrow, the universal ratification of Convention 182 is a potent and timely reminder of the importance of ILO standards and the need for multilateral solutions to global problems.
“Child labour is a grievous violation of fundamental rights, and it is incumbent on the ILO’s constituents and the international community to ensure that this Convention is fully implemented, including through due diligence in global supply chains,” she said.
ILO estimates that there are 152 million children in child labour , 73 million of whom are in hazardous work.
The ILO also noted that, seventy per cent of all child labour takes place in agriculture and are mostly related to poverty and parents’ difficulties finding decent work.
Convention No. 182 calls for the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including slavery, forced labour and trafficking.
It prohibits the use of children in armed conflict, prostitution, pornography and illicit activities such as drug trafficking, and in hazardous work.
It is one of the ILO’s eight Fundamental Conventions covering the abolition of child labour, the elimination of forced labour, the abolition of work-related discrimination and the rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining.
These principles are also covered by the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (1998). Nigeria is an ILO member since 1960 and has ratified 40 international labour Conventions.