“Prosperity cannot be sustained on the backs of children”

─ Min. Ally tells child labour workshop

DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, November 27, 2019

With over 152 million reported cases of child labour worldwide, Minister of Social Protection, Hon. Amna Ally today said no country can achieve or sustain prosperity on the backs of children.

Guyana, the minister said, is keenly working towards the elimination of child labour by 2025; an objective of the National Action Plan’s National Child Labour Policy.

On Wednesday, social workers from across the country commenced a three-day training exercise on child labour inspection, at the Public Service Ministry.

Minister Ally said the exploitation of children should not be tolerated under any circumstance.

When children are exploited for economic gains of others, everybody loses. Children lose, their families lose, and the nation loses. When even one child is exploited, every one of us is diminished.”

Global estimates show that 218 million children between the ages of 5 and 17 are employed. Among them, 152 million are victims of child labour and almost half – 73 million – work under hazardous conditions.

The Social Protection Minister said her government will continue to create conditions that will allow families to work their way out of poverty so that they will not feel compelled to expose their children to child labour.

“Child labour reinforces intergenerational cycles of poverty, undermines national economies and impedes achieving progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals,” she told the officers.

She related that Guyana has ratified the worse form of the Child Labour Convention of 1999, the Labour Inspection Convention of 1947 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child in addition to numerous domestic laws. With the support of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Guyana now has a National Action Plan for the elimination of child labour.

Child Labour Coordinator of ILO, Resel Melville told participants that it is time the troubling issue is addressed. She said the workshop marks another important win for Guyana, advancing the progress being made toward the elimination of child labour.

“The global community are ensuring that children can enjoy their childhood and are exposed to all of the positive opportunities for self-actualisation and realisation of their potential. Your role in achieving this objective by 2025 is of utmost importance,” she said.

She reported that Guyana, has over the last six years, been leading in its commitment to address child labour. In 2014, Guyana was one of the original signatory countries to the ILO’s Regional Initiative Caribbean and Latin American Free of Child Labour.

The opening ceremony also heard from the Minister within the Ministry of Social Protection, with responsibility for Labour, Hon. Keith Scott and United Nation Children Fund (UNICEF) Deputy Representative Irfan Akhtar.

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