GENEVA (ILO News) - The Republic of Seychelles became the first country to formally ratify the ILO's newest international labour standard on the Worst Forms of Child Labour, Convention No. 182, which was adopted unanimously by the Organization's 174 member States at the International Labour Conference in Geneva last June.
In a written communication to the ILO, signed by His Excellency France Albert René, President of the Republic of Seychelles, the Government of Seychelles formally notified the ILO that it had ratified the Convention and intended "faithfully to perform and carry out all the stipulations" in it.
ILO Director-General Juan Somavia welcomed the ratification and applauded the Government of Seychelles for the rapidity of its legislative action. He repeated the commitment of the ILO to obtaining widespread ratification of this landmark Convention and urged "workers, employers and governments worldwide to show solidarity with child labourers by making the elimination of child labour a global cause."
He said that in view of the decision in July of this year by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government to the 35 th session of the Organization of African Unity to request all member States to ratify the new ILO Convention as a matter of urgency it was "particularly encouraging that the first ratification had come from an African country."
The ILO estimates that as many as 250 million children are economically active worldwide, with many millions working in conditions that are detrimental to their physical, mental and emotional well being and which effectively preclude their growth into healthy and productive adulthood. Mr. Somavia said that the treatment meted out to children held in bondage or forced to work on plantations and in mines and factories around the world amounted to "an egregious and unconscionable abuse of human rights."
Convention No. 182 defines the worst forms of child labour as all forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery such as the sale and trafficking of children; debt bondage, serfdom and forced or compulsory labour; forced or compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflict; use of a child for prostitution, production of pornography or pornographic performances; use, procuring or offering a child for illicit activities, in particular for the production and trafficking of drugs; and work which is likely to harm the health safety or morals of children.
Under the terms of its adoption, the Convention will enter into force twelve months after the ILO Director-General registers the ratifications of two ILO member States. The ILO expects further ratifications in the near future. The ILO Director-General expressed his wish that the Convention will be in force and put into practice in a large number of countries before the end of this century.