Today marks the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Shockingly, today 85 million children across the world are doing jobs that directly endanger their health and safety.
The British Safety Council calls upon the 190 UN Member States that have ratified the CRC, to live up to their commitments to stop this from happening.
“The International Labour Organisation tell us,” says Alex Botha, Chief Executive of the British Safety Council, “that of the 168 million child labourers in the world, 85 million are doing hazardous jobs, contrary to international agreements. It’s unacceptable that there are still many countries that committed to stop this from happening that have not taken sufficient action to protect child labourers.
“It has been 25 years since the Convention was agreed at the UN which includes a right of the child to be protected from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous. There have been improvements in the last 25 years but this historic milestone must also serve as an urgent reminder that much remains to be done.
“Though families in many countries face severe economic hardship, research tells us that the consequences of exposing children to hazardous work can last a lifetime. Health and educational attainment can suffer and in the end this will undermine the potential growth and success of any country.
“I want all countries to look again at the commitments they have made and ask what more they can do – whether by legislative, administrative or educational measures – to prevent children being exposed to risks that damage their health and future prospects.”
The International Labour Organisation is running a global campaign called Red Card to Child Labour that features an original song with Pharrell Williams and others. World Policy Forum have also made resources available, such as fact sheets, maps, and infographics, that show how countries compare and which will help spread the word about the importance of children’s rights.
Illustration courtesy of the World Policy Forum.