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Sunday, July 15, 2012

From farms and fields to the classrooms

NEW DELHI: More than 150 representatives from nearly 50 countries, representing governments, inter-governmental agencies, trade unions, teachers organisations, farmers organisations and cooperatives, child rights organisations, multi-stakeholder initiatives, corporations are participating in the first ever global conference on child labour in agriculture in Washington DC from July 28-30, 2012.
The Global March Against Child Labour is organising this International Conference on Child Labour in Agriculture in collaboration with the International Labour Organization, the Global Union Federation on food and agriculture workers - IUF, the End Child Labour in Tobacco Foundation, the Solidarity Center in USA and many others.
 This event and the priority focus on child labour in agriculture will be a major step forward in efforts to revitalize the worldwide movement against child labour, and catalyze meaningful and constructive action against child labour in agriculture through high level advocacy on the issue. Although 60% of all child labour globally is in agriculture, it has not received the due recognition and focus as other sectors. Child labour in agriculture is often the most neglected and 'invisible'. Nearly 130 million girls and boys under 18 years of age help in part to produce much of the food and drink we consume, the fibers and raw materials we use to make other products. While many work in product supply chains as part of the global food chain, others help supply commodities used in other global production/ supply chains.
Representatives from Togo, Niger, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Algeria, Kyrgyzstan, Peru, Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, India, Pakistan, Nepal and Indonesia will have an opportunity to exchange experiences and good practices in the struggle against child labour in agriculture, and will assist the Global March alliance in developing a strategy for the sector and will act as a staging post between the Hague (2010) and the Brasilia (2013) global child labour conferences, and in mapping the goal to 2016.
Reconvening the IBSA Labour Ministers' panel on child labour, Global March is promoting IBSA partnership to interact with other stakeholders at the event. Nelisiwe Mildred Oliphant, Minister of Labour, Republic of South Africa; Representative from the Brazil Ministry of Labour, Senator Christovam Buarque from Brazil Senate and Nirupama Rao, Ambassador of India to the US are the key spokes in the IBSA panel. US Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) who has led the fight against child labour and the co-author of the Harkin-Engel Protocol will inaugurate the conference which will also see remarks from Eric Biel, Under Secretary, US Department of Labor, Fred van Leeuwen, General Secretary of Education International and other speakers.
Talking about the event, Kailash Satyarthi, Global March's Chairperson said: "international commitment to end worst forms of child labour by 2016, ensuring universal education by 2015, halving global poverty and hunger and attaining gender equality cannot be met without seriously tackling child labour in agriculture. Global March calls upon all the stakeholders to commit and act with urgency and utmost political will for saving the present and future of millions."
Global March Against Child Labour is a worldwide movement of trade unions, teachers' and non-governmental organisations for strengthening international efforts to protect and promote the rights of all children with a special emphasis on their freedom from economic exploitation and their right to full-time quality basic education. The origin of Global March Against Child Labour dates back to 1998, when a physical march launched in Manila, Philippines traversed the globe covering 80,000 kilometers across over 100 countries before congregating in Geneva. At that point in time, the annual conference of the International Labour Organization initiated discussions on what was to become ILO Convention No.182 on eliminating worst forms of child labour as a priority for the international community.
Source : The Times of India, July 13, 2012

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