Child labour

ILO and Ministry of Labour launch tools to boost fight against child labour in Lebanon

The Guide on Decree 8987 and the National Awareness Raising Strategy on the Worst Forms of Child Labour are set to advance efforts to radically reduce child labour in Lebanon.

Press release | 15 January 2016
BEIRUT (ILO News) - The International Labour Organization (ILO) and Lebanon’s Ministry of Labour launched two new tools on Friday (15 January) to advance the fight against child labour, especially in its worst, most hazardous forms.

The Guide on Decree 8987 and the National Awareness Raising Strategy on the Worst Forms of Child Labour are designed to further boost efforts to reduce child labour in Lebanon, as set out in the National Action Plan for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour.

“Our long-term and fruitful partnership with the Ministry of Labour has resulted in the development of these two new powerful tools,” said the ILO’s Regional Director for Arab States Ruba Jaradat.

“It is of the utmost importance that all involved in the fight against child labour accelerate their efforts, and work together with renewed diligence, towards achieving the urgent national goal of drastically reducing child labour in Lebanon,” Jaradat said.

The guide on Lebanon’s Decree 8987 is a reference tool that makes the Decree and its list of prohibited hazardous forms of child labour easy to access, understand and implement by all concerned in the fight against child labour. These include line ministries, government authorities, private institutions and organizations, employers and workers. The guide was developed by the Center for Public Health Practice at the Faculty of Health Sciences-American University of Beirut in close collaboration of the Ministry of Labour and  support of  the ILO

The National Awareness Raising Strategy was developed by the National Steering Committee Against Child Labour and national and regional media institutions, with the technical and financial support of the ILO. It outlines the key activities necessary to effectively inform the public and engage national stakeholder involved in implementing the National Action Plan.

The strategy will be implemented with the technical and financial support of the ILO and the United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF, through a number of channels. These include the Child Labour Podium, which was established by the Ministry of Labour in collaboration with the national NGO Beyond, and the ILO’s Supporting Children’s Rights through Education, the Arts and the Media (SCREAM) programme.

“The Ministry of Labour and all concerned ministries must work in unison, along with the ILO with which we work hand-in-hand, and engage in practical steps to escalate the fight against child labour,” said the Minister of Labour Sejaan Azzi at the launch event. “This is our responsibility to the law and to our country,” he said.

The ILO estimates that there are currently some 9 million child labourers in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Although there are no accurate figures on child labour in Lebanon, its scale has been of long-standing concern. The number of working children, including those engaged in the worst forms of labour, rose further to alarming levels with the outbreak of conflict in neighbouring Syria and the arrival of hundreds of thousands of refugees, almost half of whom are children.

Figures on child labour in Lebanon are expected to be announced by mid-2016 with the completion of the National Child Labour Survey, the first of its kind in Lebanon. The survey is being conducted by the Central Administration for Statistics, financed by US Department of Labour and supported and supervised technically by the ILO.

The initial aim of the National Action Plan for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour was to reduce the worst forms of child labour in Lebanon by 50 per cent by the end of 2016. This time frame has since been deemed over-ambitious in light of the repercussions of the Syrian refugee crisis.

ILO Regional Director Jaradat concluded: “We in the ILO stand ready with our long-standing expertise and experience to support Lebanon and other Arab states in every way possible to protect our young generations and put an end to child labour in the region.”