President George M. Weah says children’s participation in the labor force is endlessly varied and infinitely volatile, responding to changing market and social conditions.
Experience shows that a combination of economic growth, respect for labor standards, universal education, and social protection, together with a better understanding of the needs and rights of children, can bring about a significant reduction in child labor.
He said that his Government recognizes that the worst forms of child labor and other hazardous work done by children deprive them of their dignity, rights to education, health, wellbeing and protection among others.
According to President Weah, incidence and impact of child labor on the children’s fundamental rights and national development is one of the major concerns of the Weah led-administration as emphasized in the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD).
“It is clear that through relevant line Ministries such as the Ministry of Labor, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ministry of Health, and in partnership with the International Labor Organization (ILO) and other relevant humanitarian agencies, the Government of Liberia can achieve her objectives in the fight against child labor,” he stressed.
However, Child Labor is a cross cutting issue that violates the fundamental rights of children. It is a stubborn problem that, even if overcome in certain places or sectors, will seek out opportunities to reappear in new and often unanticipated ways.
Liberia has signed many International Conventions including the UNICEF’s Child Rights Convention (CRC), the ILO Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention (No. 182); the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and the Palermo Protocol on Trafficking in Persons.
In addition to the endorsement and the launch in 2019 of the Liberia’s National Action Plan Document (NAP) for the Elimination of the worst forms of Child Labor that aims at ensuring that children are shielded from activities that are detrimental to their physical, social or psychological well-being.
Notably, “In September of last year, the National Legislature ratified and I approved ILO Convention 138 which establishes the minimum age for admission to any type of employment. It may interest you to know that Convention 138 was passed in 1973, some 49 years ago but successive governments have failed, for no just reason other than plain neglect, to have it ratified.”
As the Liberian delegation at the ongoing 110th ILO Conference in Geneva will have the privilege today, June 13, formally deposit ILO ratified Convention 138 with the Director General of the ILO in Geneva,” President Weah assertions were contained and read on his behalf by student Grace P. Heuston of the Abraham D. Sellu School; of Execellence in observance of the World Day Against Child Labor.
The June 12, 2022, celebration was held under the Global Theme: “Universal Social Protection To End Child Labor and the National theme: Early Education, not early empowerment.”