Nobel Peace laureate Kailash Satyarthi today lauded the government for ratifying two fundamental global conventions on combating child labour, saying the move would help the country end forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking. India today ratified the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 182 on the worst forms of child labour and Convention 138 on the minimum age of employment at the United Nations. “This remarkable moment provides with an opportunity for the country to make renewed commitment for ending forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking. Let this be the last generation that has been exploited in the name of illiteracy, poverty or helplessness,” Satyarthi said.
The child rights activist said India is an emerging world leader and therefore in order to achieve all the Sustainable Development Goals by the year 2030, children must be put at the centre of the agenda. Satyarthi, who at present is in Brazil for his upcoming mega campaign ‘100 million for 100 million’, is the honourary president of Global March against Child Labour, which has been at the forefront of raising awareness about the need for India ratifying the ILO conventions since 1998. With 180 countries having already done so, it has also become the fastest ratified convention in the history of ILO. The involvement of these countries in the Convention clearly shows that support for the movement against child labour is gaining momentum worldwide, he said.
“Now after nearly two decades, I am overjoyed that India has also decided to ratify the Convention. I congratulate our Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Ministry of Labour and Employment. The decision to ratify Convention 182 and Convention 138 was overdue in providing justice to our children. After the total prohibition of child labour, this is an important step in protecting all our children from exploitation and abuse,” he said in a statement. “It is now the collective responsibility of everyone to ensure its implementation,” he added.
Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya said ratification of the two ILO conventions reaffirmed India’s “commitment to a child labour-free society,” according to an ILO statement. ILO Director-General Guy Ryder welcomed India among the member states party to the two fundamental conventions. “We all recognise the great progress India has made against child labour in recent years and the major role played by its convergence model of coherence between public policies and services, which was strongly supported by the ILO,” he said.
India, the second most populous country in the world, is the 181st member state to ratify Convention No 182, which calls for the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including slavery, forced labour and trafficking, the use of children in armed conflict, the use of a child for prostitution, pornography and in illicit activities (such as drug trafficking), and hazardous work. India is the 170th ILO member state to ratify Convention No 138, which requires states party to set a minimum age under which no one shall be admitted to employment or work in any occupation, except for light work and artistic performances.