Kegalle District declares a Child Labour Free Zone

Kegalle District declares a Child Labour Free Zone by 2016 to mark World Day Against Child Labour

Press release | Colombo, Sri Lanka | 19 June 2014
Sri Lanka is one of many countries who has ratified ILO conventions on child labour and has also developed a Road Map to achieve zero tolerance for the worst forms of child labour across the island by 2016. The Child Activity Survey (2008/9) conducted by the Department of Census and Statistics indicates that a 107,259 children (excluding the Northern province) are entrapped in child labour of whom 63,916 are in hazardous forms of child labour. The report has also captured hazardous forms of child labour as determined in the Ministry of Labour regulations.

According to this report, Kegalle is home to approximately 2,000 girls and boys in exploitative employment. Many more are at risk of falling prey to child labour, given the erratic school attendance recorded. World Day Against Child Labour was commemorated in Kegalle on the 19th of June at the District Secretariat. The District of Kegalle marked this day with a declaration of making the District a Child Labour Free Zone by 2016.

The event was held in the District Secrtariat hosted by the District Secretary Mr Thusitha Wanigasinghe. Around 200 government officials were present on this occasion and signed a Pledge committing to this goal. The Secretary of the Ministry of Labour Mr Upali Wijayaweera and Mr. Donglin Li, the ILO Country Director graced the occasion and congratulated the District Administration for its initiative and political will to honour its international obligations. Also present was the Chief Secretary of the Province of Sabaragmuwa who stressed the importance of education as being a critical intervention to prevent child labour and reiterated his support to make Sabaragamuwa a Child Labour Free Province by 2016.