President George Weah has asserted that the Government of Liberia is concerned about what he calls the incidence and impact of child labor on children’s fundamental rights and national development.
In a special statement delivered by president Weah, in observance of World Day Against Child Labor, on 12 June 2021, the Liberian leader said one of the major concerns of the GoL is the incidence and impact of child labor on children’s fundamental rights and national development, indicating that child labor is a cross-cutting issue that violates the fundamental rights of children, as emphasized by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
President Weah observed that millions of girls and boys throughout the world are engaged into child labor and are victims of human trafficking, specifically child trafficking, stating that such have placed them into child labor.
“These works have deprived them of adequate education, health, leisure and basic freedoms, thereby undermining their potential growth and development as well as their ability to gainful employment,” he stressed, adding, “More than half have been trafficked and are exposed to the worst forms of child labor such as work in hazardous environments, slavery, or other forms of forced labor, illicit activities such as drug trafficking, prostitution, and involvement in domestic work and in armed conflict.”
“The International Labour Organization (ILO) launched the First World Day Against Child Labour (WDACL) in June 2002 under the theme “A Future without Child Labour” as a way to highlight the plight of these children. The day, which is observed on June 12 of each year, is intended to serve as a catalyst for the growing worldwide movement against child labour, reflected in the huge number of ratifications of ILO Convention No. 182 on the worst forms of child labour and ILO Convention No. 138 on the minimum age for employment,” President Weah emphasized.
He pointed out that the global pandemic (COVID-19) has profoundly affected the world of work. In addition to its threat to public health, the economic and social stability, the long-term livelihood and well-being of millions were also negatively impacted resulting to more child laborers.
“Children’s participation in the labor force is endlessly varied and infinitely volatile, responding to changing market and social conditions,” he said, noting that “Experience shows that a combination of economic growth, respect for labor standards, universal education and social protection, together with a better understanding of the needs and rights of children, can bring about a significant reduction in child labor.”
President Weah: “Child labor is a stubborn problem that, even if overcome in certain places or sectors, will seek out opportunities to reappear in new and often unanticipated ways.”
However, the Liberian president intoned that Liberia has signed many international Conventions including the UNICEF’s Child Rights Convention (CRC), the ILO Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention (No. 182), the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and the Palermo Protocol on Trafficking in Persons.
“Added to these is the endorsement and launched in 2019 of the Liberia’s National Action Plan Document (NAP) for the Elimination of the worst forms of Child Labour that aims at ensuring that children are shielded from activities that are detrimental to their physical, social or psychological well-being,” he added.
He continued: “As Liberia joins the world over in observance of this year’s World Day Against Child Labour (June 12), with the Global Theme: “Act Now to End Child Labour”, the Government of Liberia recognizes that the worst forms of child labour and other hazardous work done by children deprive them of their dignity, rights to education, health, well-being and protection.”
“As emphasized in the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD),” President Weah stressed, adding, “it is clear that through relevant line Ministries such as the Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ministry of Health, and in partnership with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and other relevant humanitarian agencies, the Government of Liberia can achieve her objectives in the fight against child labour.”
“Against this backdrop, I call on all of the relevant actors and stakeholders to coordinate efforts and mobilize the needed resources, and with the support of the public, to ensure that no child is a victim of child labour or involved in hazardous work,” he concluded.