Child labour

Lebanon seeks to adopt code of conduct and coordination mechanism to address working street children

Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces, non-governmental organizations, Ministries of Labour and of Social Affairs organizations have developed a draft code of conduct and coordination mechanism to facilitate better coordination and methodologies to remove working street children from the streets and rehabilitate them in line with internationally-recognized best practices.

News | 13 January 2017
A child sells flowers amongst party-goers on a popular street in Beirut, Lebanon.
© Sam Tarling/ILO
BEIRUT (ILO News) — The ILO has supported the Lebanese Internal Security Forces (ISF), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), children’s shelters in Mount Lebanon, as well as Lebanon’s  Ministries of Labour and of Social Affairs to draft a code of conduct and coordination mechanism in order to respond to the growing problem of working street children in Mount Lebanon. The code and mechanisms were direct results of an ILO-facilitated training workshop coordinated with Lebanon’s Ministry of Labour and Ministry of Interior, with the latter represented by its Directorate of Internal Security. The workshop was part of a larger effort to train security forces, NGOs and line ministries on appropriate removal and rehabilitation services for working street children and their families, so as to prevent children’s return to the streets.

Colonel Ahmad Abu Daher, the ISF–ILO focal point on working street children, stressed the importance the training workshop as a tool to promote collective action to combat the phenomena of children working and living on the streets of Lebanon. He also stressed that actors working to respond to the issue of working street children have lacked efficacy because of lack of coordination, while serious challenges remain in terms of securing appropriate rehabilitation services. 

The training workshop was attended by 12 high-ranking officers from the ISF including Colonel Abu Daher, representatives from the Home of Hope 24-hour children’s shelter, the BEYOND Association Day Centre,  Lebanon’s Ministry of Social Affairs, as well as local and international NGOs who work directly with children living and working on the streets of Lebanon (including the International Rescue Committee and the Makhzoumi Foundation). The Hope Village Society from Egypt also assisted in the workshop by showcasing nearly three decades of accumulated experience with children living and work on the streets.

The workshop’s conceptual framework was based on international frameworks including the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138), the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182), as well as the principle of children’s best interests of the child. During the workshop, participants were exposed to internationally-recognized methods and examples from the region on how to implement legislation in a child friendly manner, as well as mechanisms to coordinate with actors designated to receive working street children for rehabilitation.

The workshop was part of ILO efforts to support the implementation of Lebanon’s National Action Plan For the Elimination of the Worst Forms of of Child Labour under the project entitled, “Tackling child labour among Syrian refugees and their host communities in Jordan and Lebanon,” led by the Government of Norway. Subsequent training for ISF officers and other actors are being planned in other areas of Beirut, Mount Lebanon, Tripoli and Saida where, according to a previous national study by published by the ILO, UNICEF, and Save the Children, the largest number of working street children currently reside.