US Welcomes Indian Ratification of ILO Conventions on Child Labor

Child breaking rocks in a quarry in Faridabad, suburb of New Delhi, India

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Washington, DC – The United States on Tuesday (June 20) welcomed a long delayed move by India, the second most populous country in the world, to ratify two fundamental conventions on child labor of the International Labor Organization.

In a statement to IAT, a State Department spokesperson said, “We believe India’s decision to ratify two conventions of the International Labor Organization (ILO) on child labor is good news for the Indian people, including children.”

Earlier on June 13, 2017 the Government of India deposited with the International Labor Office the instruments of ratification of the two fundamental Conventions concerning the elimination of child labour, the Minimum Age Convention and the Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention.

Indian Measures

India’s Minister of Labor, Bandaru Dattatreya, said that ratification of the two ILO Conventions reaffirmed his country’s “commitment to a child labour free society.”

Mentioning a series of measures in this regard, Dattatreya noted the amendment to the Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 , which came into effect on September 1l 2016. The amendment completely prohibits employment or work of children below 14 years in any occupation or process and also prohibits the employment of adolescents (14 to 18 years) in hazardous occupations and processes.

In addition, the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Central Rules, as recently amended, for the first time provided for a broad and specific framework for the prevention, prohibition, rescue and rehabilitation of child and adolescent workers.

Another prominent measure taken recently to meet the objective of a child labour free society was the strengthening of the National Child Labour project, a rehabilitative scheme providing bridge education and vocational training to adolescents.

“The momentum of the recent initiatives taken to eradicate child labour has to be maintained as elimination of child labour is also crucial for the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 ,” Dattatreya concluded.

ILO Recognizes

Welcoming India into the fold of the member States party to the two fundamental Conventions, ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said, “We all recognize 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. Today, India’s ratifications of Conventions 138 and 182 solidifies further – in treaty obligations – that commitment to the global fight against the scourge of child labour in all its forms. They also represent a positive step on the country’s path towards full respect for fundamental rights at work.”

India’s ratification confirmed the status of Convention No. 182 as the most rapidly ratified ILO Convention.

“Universal ratification is within reach: as of today, only six member States remain to ratify this fundamental Convention. This reflects the overwhelming global consensus, as re-affirmed by the adoption of the sustainable development goals, and more particularly Goal 8-Target 8.7 (Sustainable Development Goal 8: Promote Inclusive and Sustainable Economic Growth, Employment and Decent Work For All), which aims at the complete eradication of child labour by 2025 and calls for immediate action to prohibit and eliminate its worst forms,” the head of the ILO said.

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.

India is also 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.

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