Open Letter issued in observation of World Day Against Child Labor

2021-06-14 12:24:41

Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/. International Labor Organization, UN Resident Coordinator’s Office in Mongolia, Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, Mongolian Employers’ Federation, Confederation of Mongolian Trade Unions, National Human Rights Commission of Mongolia and Delegation of the European Union to Mongolia, have issued the joint open letter calling for actions to eliminate all forms of child labor in Mongolia. 

The open letter reads: 

“What do you think when you say child labor? What do you see?

Do you see children doing house chores helping their parents at home? Do you see children working at construction sites, selling petty items or begging in the streets, washing cars, rearing animals, entertaining others or riding a racehorse for money?

Child labor creates an enormous risk to children’s health and safety and creates huge educational physical, psychological and social barriers to their development and their future opportunities for decent work and decent living. Child labor reinforces intergenerational poverty, threatens national policies and undercuts rights guaranteed by the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

According to ILO and UNICEF estimates in 2021, child labor rises to 160 million, the first increase in two decades. This accounts for 1 in 10 children worldwide. Among them, almost half of them or 79 million children are in hazardous work.

In Mongolia, one out of six children is working, aged between 5 and 17.  Most of the children work in the agriculture sector, although hazardous work is common in construction and mining sectors for children 15-17 years old.  They can be found in the informal sector and doing domestic work. According to the National Statistics Office (2012), an increase was observed among children aged 10-14 years engaged in economic activities, although the country made great progress in the 2000s, reducing the number of children in hazardous jobs by more than fourfold, and nine-fold among girls.

Mongolia has shown great commitment to the world to eliminate child labor by ratifying the ILO’s Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention, 1999 (No. 182) in 2001 and shared best practices to eliminate child labor by adopting a list of jobs prohibited for minors (2016), implementing the National Action Plan to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor (2012-2016), conducting child labor surveys (2006, 2009, 2012) to document evidence for policymaking, universal child money programme, the establishment of Children’s Fund (2021) and more.

This year’s World Day – June 12 - against Child Labor focuses on action taken for the 2021 International Year for the Elimination of Child Labor, declared by the UN General Assembly. It is the first World Day since the universal ratification of the ILO’s Convention No. 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labor and takes place at a time when the COVID-19 crisis threatens to reverse years of progress in tackling the problem.

We, partners, are calling for actions to fight against child labor to make a difference.

We must fight with the root causes of child labor such as limited legal protection, poverty and social vulnerability, societal norms, exposure to shocks, poor quality schooling and limited access to school, limited decent work opportunities for parents and adults, difficult transition to work.

We must join our efforts to make sure that every child enjoys their childhood growing into an educated young person with skills and opportunities to enter the world of work.

We call for the public to raise awareness about the worst forms of child labor, hazardous work, minimum age restrictions and occupational safety and health issues.

We call for better social protection measures, improved living standards, effective fiscal policies, sharpening the data collection and evidence-based decision making as well as promoting changes in thinking. 

We ask for the government, as well as businesses and individuals to join Alliance 8.7, the global partnership for eradicating forced labor modern slavery, human trafficking and child labor around the world, and make commitments.

Today is 2021. We have only four years left to achieve SDG Target 8.7 for ending child labor in all its forms.

We must act now: End child labor!”. 

Source: UN Mongolia