Constance Thomas Message

Constance-ThomasThe ILO commitment to eradicate child labour is evidenced through our setting and supervision of the international labour standards on child labour, our robust technical assistance Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour, and our data collection, policy advice and knowledge dissemination activities. In this endeavour we applaud other organizations and events that are aimed at tackling child labour and working towards the goal of eliminating the worst forms of child labour by 2016. Our most recent estimate is that some 215 million children worldwide remain in child labour, with 115 million in its worst forms.

Experience has shown that the most effective way to address this challenge is through multidimensional approaches that tackle poverty and ensure that all children, including those with disabilities, have access to quality basic education. The right to education is of course an important element in both the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the UN Convention of the Rights of People with Disabilities. On reaching legal working age young people should be assisted to make a proper transition either from school to decent work or to further education and training. However, all too often there are barriers that prevent children accessing and benefiting from education and training, which can result in vulnerable children being pushed into child labour. The Hague Global Conference on Child Labour, held in 2010, adopted a roadmap for action which said that non governmental actors can play an important role in preventing child labour by calling upon governments to respect children’s rights and ensure that appropriate services are offered to vulnerable children. Your Conference provides an opportunity for consideration of DCI’s and other organizations’ work on these important issues. We wish you a very successful event and look forward to hearing the results.

On behalf of the ILO,

Constance Thomas
Director of the International Programme to Eliminate Child Labour (IPEC)