ILC Radio Round-up

Day 10: Nobel laureate urges freedom from child labour and slavery

Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi called for an end to child labour and unveiled the ’50 for Freedom’ campaign at the 104th International Labour Conference in Geneva.

Audio | 12 June 2015
History was made at the International Labour Conference today. Let’s start with the annual World Day Against Child Labour, which is being marked in about 60 countries.

Here in Geneva at the ILC, where the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Kailash Satyarthi called for an end to child labour and education for all. At a press conference he said that although there were fewer children in child labour, each number represents a child who is being robbed of childhood.

The global number of children in child labour has declined by one third since 2000, from 246 million to 168 million children.

I am not the one who is going to celebrate. For me every single child matters. Every single minute matters. We as the international community could not fulfil the promises we made for our children globally. Their childhood will not wait. We have to act now.

He added that quality education is the key to getting kids out of child labour and poverty:

And what we are asking for – an additional $22 billion annually. An additional $22 billion annually can bring all children to school. That is just four and a half days of global military expenditure.

He said that as the United Nations finalizes the new Sustainable Development Goals, education must be a priority:

We cannot think of sustainable development without ensuring education for all children and when we talk of education, it means quality education. When we talk of quality education, it should not be the monopoly of a few people. Quality education for all means quality, inclusion, and equity in education must go hand in hand. But such education cannot be attained without total eradication of child labour."  

Later in the day Satyarthi launched the International Labour Organization’s new global campaign to eradicate forced labour called 50 for Freedom .

In the United Nations’ Human Rights Council room, Satyarthi unveiled a wall of signatures collected in support of the campaign. He said that slavery and civilization could not coexisit.

The ILO estimates that 21 million people are victims of forced labour around the world, generating approximately US$150 billion a year in illicit profits.

In 2014, government, employer and worker delegates at the International Labour Conference (ILC) voted overwhelmingly to adopt a Protocol and Recommendation which supplement the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29), and include measures regarding prevention, protection and remedy. 
50 for Freedom will promote ratification and implementation of the Forced Labour Protocol, with the aim of the first 50 member States ratifying by 2018.

And in yet another historic move today, the conference adopted the first ever international instrument aimed at helping countries move out of informality and transition to the formal economy. The Recommendation was passed by 484 votes in favour. 
With more than half of the world’s workforce estimated to be earning a living in the informal economy , the vote is seen as a crucial in helping countries set up measures and incentives to create formal jobs.

Tomorrow the conference wraps up with a final statement by ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder.

Reporting for the ILO at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, this is Carla Drysdale.