International Children's Day and the World Day against Child Labour 2011 in Cambodia

Celebrations of the International Children's Day and the start of the observance of the WDACL in Cambodia was presided over by H.E Mrs Man Sam An, Deputy Prime Minister of the Royal Government of Cambodia.

Press release | 26 May 2011

(ILO Cambodia) The International Labour Organization (ILO) today welcomed the Deputy Prime Minister’s statement that she will appeal to the government to invest further in ending the Worst Forms of Child Labour in Cambodia.

In her address at the 62nd Anniversary of International Children’s Day and 10th Anniversary of the World Day against Child Labour June 12th H.E Men Sam An, Deputy Prime Minister responded positively to an appeal from the ILO for the Royal Government to next year begin to put aside special funds for the elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour in Cambodia by 2016, in addition to encouraging donors to fund Cambodian efforts towards ending the Worst Forms of Child Labour in the Kingdom by 2016.

The Deputy Prime Minister stated today that she will bring the issue to the attention of the Prime Minister, Hun Sen and engage the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation in her efforts. She went on to say that Cambodia’s Child Labour problem was rooted in poverty. “It is poverty that has caused children to experience labour exploitation. Some work has affected their health and some is so hazardous that it has made them disabled and weakened their intelligence.”

At today’s event in Phnom Penh, Joseph Menacherry, Chief Technical Advisor of the ILO’s International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour appealed to the Deputy Prime Minister to take action to fund programmes for eliminating the worst forms of child labour in the country, estimating that it would cost 20 million USD a year over the next five years to see the Worst Forms of Child Labour ended in Cambodia. “A request from the Government to the donor community to provide this modest funding for the children who work in the country would change the lives of those child labourers on whose behalf we meet here today,” he said.

Mr Menacherry went on to state that Child Labour is bad for the country’s business. “There is a realisation that only an educated, skilled workforce can sustain the economic changes that we have begun to see in Cambodia in this last decade and that since child labour deprives children of the opportunity to acquire skills and knowledge and deskills not only the child but the whole country. Child Labour prevents and retards economic growth.”

HE Mr Ith Sam Heng, Minister for Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation, Mrs Ying Sokary, Chief of Non-Government Organization Committee on the Rights of the Child and Ms Isabelle Austin of UNICEF also spoke on the occasion. The celebration of children’s rights also featured children’s dancing and a presentation of gifts to children.

Today’s proceedings mark the beginning of numerous events around the country which will commemorate International Children’s Day June 1st and observe the World Day against Child Labour June 12th. The theme of this year’s World Day is the need to tackle hazardous work of children, work that is likely to harm children’s health, safety or morals, and which makes up more than 90 per cent of Worst Forms of Child Labour. It is estimated that close to 300,000 Cambodian children are engaged in child labour today.

For further information please contact:

Ms Maeve Galvin
Communication and Advocacy Officer
ILO Joint Projects Office
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Tel: +855 23 220 817