ILO and UNICEF join forces to tackle child labour in Syria

Both UN agencies stress the importance of integrating efforts against child labour in the early stages of rehabilitating livelihoods in communities that have suffered from conflict, displacement and other crisis situations.

Press release | 23 November 2017
DAMASCUS (ILO News) - The International Labour Organization (ILO) and UNICEF have joined forces to tackle the scourge of child labour in Syria. Large numbers of children are estimated to be engaged in often hazardous labour including operating heavy machinery in factories and workshops, blacksmithing, carpentry, scavenging through garbage for valuable waste and working on the streets.

Nearly seven years of war and displacement have decimated the economy and destroyed livelihoods. Some families are pushed to extreme measures just to survive, including child labour, which forces children to leave school or to balance school with excessively long working hours. By depriving them of their right to an education, child labour denies children a chance to reach their full potential and is often harmful to their physical and mental development.

In an effort to reduce child labour in Syria, ILO and UNICEF are facilitating a series of workshops this week in collaboration with the Syrian Commission for Family Affairs and Population, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour and the Ministry of Education to enhance the capacity of labour inspectors, social workers, education personnel, community-based organizations and humanitarian workers to prevent children from exploitation in child labour and gain key skills for engaging with employers, children and their families, and other stakeholders in ways that protect the wellbeing of children.

Both UN agencies stress the importance of integrating efforts against child labour in the early stages of rehabilitating livelihoods in communities that have suffered from conflict, displacement and other crisis situations.

The training sessions are held following the Fourth Global Conference on the Sustained Eradication of Child Labour, which took place in Buenos Aires from the 14-16 November. Over five hundred delegates including world leaders, Nobel Prize laureates, celebrities, government officials, workers’ and employers’ representatives and civil society actors came together at the conference to reaffirm their commitment to Sustainable Development Goal Target 8.7, which calls for eradicating child labour by 2025.