Convention No. 182 of the ILO on child labor achieves universal ratification

04 de August de 2020

The 187 member states of the International Labor Organization (ILO) have ratified the Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention, 1999 (No. 182).

GENEVA (ILO NEWS) - For the first time in the history of the ILO, all of its member States have ratified an international labor convention.

Convention No. 182 on the worst forms of child labor achieved universal ratification after ratification by the Kingdom of Tonga.

The Ambassador of the Kingdom of Tonga, Titilupe Fanetupouvava'u Tuivakano formally deposited the instruments of ratification with ILO Director-General Guy Ryder on 4 August 2020.  

The aforementioned Convention is the one that has achieved the fastest ratification in the history of the Organization, since its approval at the International Labor Conference that took place 21 years ago.

"The universal ratification of Convention 182 constitutes a historic milestone and will now allow all children to enjoy legal protection against the worst forms of child labor," said Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General. "This demonstrates a global commitment to eradicate from our society the worst forms of child labor, including slavery, sexual exploitation and the use of children in armed conflict or other illegal or dangerous work that may impair health, safety and security. moral or psychological well-being of children ".

Ms. Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), welcomed the ratification.

"The universal ratification of Convention No. 182 effectively and timely highlights the importance of ILO standards and the need to find multilateral solutions to global problems. Child labor seriously violates fundamental rights, and corresponds to ILO constituents and the international community ensure full implementation of the Convention, in particular through due diligence activities in global supply chains, "said Ms Burrow. 

"The universal ratification of ILO Convention No. 182 on the worst forms of child labor marks a historic milestone," said Roberto Suárez Santos, Secretary General of the International Organization of Employers (IOE). "The OIE and the organizations that make it up have endorsed the application of said Convention for several years. Today, the business community is aware of the need for companies to carry out their activity in a way that respects and promotes rights This is even more pressing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We cannot allow progress to be made in the fight against the worst forms of child labor. We must act together to eradicate all forms of child labor. " .

The aforementioned universal ratification constitutes a new advance with respect to the expectations of Kailash Satyarthi, Nobel Peace Prize, who stated: "I dream of a safe world for all children, in which childhood is safe and all children enjoy the freedom to be children ".

The ILO estimates that there are 152 million children engaged in child labor, 73 million of whom are in hazardous work. 70% of all child labor takes place in the agricultural sector and is mainly due to situations of poverty and parents' difficulties in finding a decent job.

Under Convention No. 182 establishes the prohibition and eradication of the worst forms of child labor, including slavery, forced labor and child trafficking. The use of children in armed conflict, prostitution, pornography and illicit activities such as drug trafficking, as well as in dangerous work are prohibited.

This Convention is one of the eight Fundamental Conventions of the ILO. These include the abolition of child labor, the eradication of forced labor, the abolition of discrimination at work, and the rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining. These principles are also contained in the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (1998) .

Since the founding of the ILO in 1919, the eradication of child labor has been one of its main objectives. Mr. Albert Thomas, the Organization's first Director, stated that child labor “represents the exploitation of children and is the reflection of evil ... the most unbearable for the human heart. The protection of children is always the starting point for effective work on social legislation. "

The fight against child labor is the main objective of the International Program for the Elimination of Child Labor (IPEC +), one of the ILO's largest development cooperation programs, in which assistance has been provided to more than 100 countries of the all continents.

The incidence of child labor, including its worst forms, decreased by almost 40% from 2000 to 2016, as a result of the increase in the ratification rate of Conventions No. 182 and 138 (on the minimum age for work) and the adaptation of effective laws and policies in the countries.

However, the pace of progress has been decreasing in recent years, particularly in relation to the youngest age group (5 to 11 years) and certain geographical areas. As a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a real risk that there will be a setback from the progress made so far, and that child labor will increase for the first time in 20 years, unless action is taken adequate. 

Within the framework of target 8.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, it is advocated to "end all forms of child labor by 2025". The universal ratification of Convention No. 182 highlights the will of all ILO member States to eradicate child labor, including all its forms, in all places.

That historic goal has been achieved just months before the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labor begins in 2021, the celebration of which will be led by the ILO in collaboration with its partners. Its aim is to raise awareness of the problem and help make progress to remedy it. 

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