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World Day Against Child Labour 2013

Musicians strike a chord against child labour

As the world marks World Day against Child Labour on June 12th, the musical world pledges to bring the issue centre stage.

Press release | 10 June 2013
GENEVA – Some of the world’s leading musicians have partnered with the International Labour Organization in an initiative to combat child labour.

The “Music against Child Labour Initiative” calls for orchestras, choirs and musicians of all genres worldwide to dedicate one concert in their planned repertoire, between October 2013 and December 2014, to the struggle against child labour.

Supporters include the renowned conductors Claudio Abbado, José-Antonio Abreu, Alessio Allegrini, Daniel Barenboim, the Mozart Orchestra, the International Federation of Musicians, and Fundación Musical Simon Bolivar El Sistema.

They are launching the “call to batons” at a concert at the Salle Pleyel in Paris today, June 11. Signatories to their campaign manifesto point to the 215 million children worldwide who are trapped in child labour.

The manifesto highlights the transformative power of music and the positive effects of engaging vulnerable girls and boys in musical activity. Music, it says can play its part in easing their suffering.

“Music – in all its forms– is a universal language. Although we sing in every tongue, it also expresses emotions we cannot say in words. It links us all. Together, the world of music can raise its voice and instruments against child labour,” it adds.

The opening day of the upcoming Third Global Conference against Child Labour in Brasilia on 8 October, will mark the start of a series of concerts as part of the Initiative.

A new module on music education will be included in an ILO programme, Supporting Child Rights through Education, the Arts and the Media. A documentary film on the power of music education to contribute to combating child labour will also be developed in the coming months.

“We very much welcome this partnership with musicians around the world,” said Constance Thomas, Director of the ILO’s International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour.

The first signatories of the Manifesto are Claudio Abbado; José-Antonio Abreu; Alessio Allegrini; Daniel Barenboim; Benoît Machuel, General Secretary of the International Federation of Musicians (FIM); Diego Matheuz ; Eduardo Mendez, Executive Director of the Fundación Musical Simon Bolivar El Sistema ; Antonio Mosca ; Musicians for Human Rights ; Guy Ryder, Director-General, ILO; and Blasko Smileski, General Secretary of Jeunesses Musicales International.

For more information, please contact the Department of Communication and Public Information at or +4122/799-7912.