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World Day Against Child Labour

African girl selling peanuts by roadside (source: Roman Bonnefoy)12 June 2014 -- Today marks the adoption of the landmark International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention No. 182, which addresses the need for action to tackle the worst forms of child labour. While celebrating progress made since the Convention's adoption in 1999, the World Day highlights continuing challenges, such as the many children involved in domestic work.

The ILO estimates that some 218 million children are trapped in child labour. Many of these children work long hours, often in dangerous conditions. Child labour is closely associated with poverty and denies children their right to education. Many poor families are unable to afford school fees or other school costs. The family may depend on the contribution that a working child makes to the household's income, and place more importance on work than on education. When a family has to make a choice between sending either a boy or girl to school, it is often the girl who loses out.

This year, the World Day Against Child Labour draws attention to the role of social protection in keeping children out of child labour and removing them from it. In 2013, at the III Global Conference on Child Labour in Brasilia, the international community adopted the Brasilia Declaration, which stresses the need for decent work for adults, free, compulsory and quality education for all children, and social protection for all. Echoing those priorities, World Day 2014 calls for: action to introduce, improve and extend social protection, in line with the ILO Recommendation No. 202 on social protection floors; national social security systems that are sensitive to children's needs and help fight child labour; social protection that reaches out to especially vulnerable groups of children.

Sources: ILO, United Nations Department of Public Information

Selected learning materials

Fields of Hope: Educational Activities on Child Labor. Teacher's Guide
This guide includes eight lessons intended for ages 12-15. The lessons are intended to enhance students' knowledge and understanding of child labor issues internationally.

Hazardous Child Labor
One of four modules developed by the Child Labor Research Initiative of the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights (Iowa, USA), this module contains five lesson plans suitable for students in 5th grade all the way up to high school level. Each lesson is highly flexible and adaptable. Teachers can teach a lesson within 1-2 class periods to introduce the subject or fully integrate the materials into the classrooms throughout the year.

"How to Protect Human Rights?" Lesson Plan: Children's Rights in the UN System of Human Rights Protection
This packet familiarises the user with the human rights protection mechanisms that exist within the United Nations. Included in this packet are an instructors' text, fundamental UN human rights documents, a videotape and lesson plans for presenting the UN human rights system.

Study Guide on the Rights of Children & Youth
This guide introduces the main issues, international standards and protection mechanisms to protect and promote the human rights of children and youth.

Teaching for Human Rights: Grades 5-10
This manual is based upon unique program of curriculum development and research in Australia. It provides specific suggestions, proven in practice, of what to do and why for upper primary and secondary teachers who want to foster children's feelings of self-esteem and social tolerance.

International treaties on child labour and the right to education

- Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989)

- Simplified version of the Convention on the Rights of the Child

- ILO Convention (No. 138) concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment (1973)

- ILO Convention (No. 182) concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor (1999)

Useful links

Child Labour (ILO)

Child Rights Information Network (CRIN) - Child Labour

International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC)

Right to Education Project - Child Labour

Links to other organisations involved in advocacy and protection against child labour



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Related resource

Online conversation about child labour
In June 2005, HREA hosted an online discussion on child labour and the right to education with the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education. Read transcript >>

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