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ILO calls on UN General Assembly Special Session to emphasize child labour

GENEVA (ILO News) - The International Labour Office (ILO) is urging that the global scourge of child labour be a major focus of the upcoming United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Children.

Press release | 26 January 2001

GENEVA (ILO News) - The International Labour Office (ILO) is urging that the global scourge of child labour be a major focus of the upcoming United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Children.

ILO is making this strong recommendation as the Preparatory Committee for the Special Session prepares to meet, 29 January to 2 February, in New York. The Special Session itself will take place on 19-21 September, also in New York.

"Considering the long-term impact of this meeting and its report on children's rights worldwide, it is critical that we put a spotlight on the need to eradicate child labour", said ILO Director-General, Juan Somavia. "We must not forget millions of children around the world who suffer in the various forms of child labour."

The Special Session's draft report, or "outcome document", is titled, "A World Fit for Children". ILO notes, for example, that two out of every five children in Africa are working - demonstrating that child labour is a major problem, one that is not confined to a small category of children.

ILO regards this Special Session as an opportunity to enhance partnerships in action against child labour, with a priority focus on its worst forms. The firm support demonstrated for this global cause by the unanimous adoption of the ILO Convention No.182 against the worst forms of child labour - as well as its record-setting pace of ratification - must be linked with commitments made at this Special Session for action throughout UN system and its Member States.

ILO attaches great importance to this special session and is making a strong effort to emphasize child labour. The special session is intended to set the United Nations' priorities on children's issues for the coming decade and beyond. ILO believes that child labour is one of the most significant issues cutting across the three focal areas of the meeting - early childhood, basic education and adolescent development.

"The fight against child labour ought to be the object of a global cause", said Mr. Somavia, "and all the necessary resources of the international system should be enlisted in this effort which links children's rights with the sweeping economic and social issues of poverty and social inequality".

In December 1999, the United Nations General Assembly agreed to hold a Special Session on Children in September 2001 as a follow-up to the 1990 World Summit for Children. The meeting will bring together government leaders, Heads of State, NGOs, children's advocates and young people. It will review progress made since the World Summit for Children in1990 and will make a renewed commitment and pledge for specific actions in the coming decade.

For more information, please contact Robert SanGeorge, Campaign Manager for the ILO's International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour,
in Geneva at 41.22/799-6074, or email childlabour@ilo.org