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Central American Nations Join the Battle Against Child Labour


Press release | 13 June 1996


GENEVA (ILO News) - ILO's efforts to end economic exploitation of child labourers got a boost today when the Governments of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama signed memoranda of understanding with the ILO designed to strengthen national programs to eliminate child labour.

In signing the agreements, the Governments committed themselves to deepening cooperation with trade unions, employer organizations and other social actors involved in the battle against child labour. These groups, in turn, will be able to call upon the resources of the ILO's technical cooperation programme and the International Programme for the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC).

IPEC, which was created in 1992, on the basis of projects in six countries, is now active in 22 countries Endnote1. The aim of the programme is the phased elimination of child labour by strengthening national capacities for dealing with the problem and by promoting a worldwide movement, including research and public information activities, designed to raise awareness of the nature and extent of child labour.

Commenting on IPEC expansion in Central America, Mr. Eduardo Araujo (Project Coordinator for Latin America) said that "these agreements reflect the broadening public commitment of an entire region to rid itself of the scourge of child labour". He added that children throughout Central America today work in industries, including mining, agriculture and manufacturing, that are dangerous for the health and debilitating for their future development prospects. Though IPEC has set itself a time-frame of approximately 10 years for eliminating child labour, Araujo said that "the initial and immediate emphasis has to be on getting children out of work in dangerous industries and providing alternatives in terms of education and income support".

The agreements signed follow those signed last week between the ILO and the Governments of Bolivia and Chile. Similar agreements are in the offing between the ILO and the Governments of Colombia, Honduras, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela.


Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Nepal, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, the Philippines, Peru, Thailand, Turkey, the United Republic of Tanzania and Venezuela.