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General News of Friday, 10 June 2011

Source: GNA

115 million children worldwide are involved in hazardous works - ILO

Accra, June 10, GNA - A staggering 115 million out the 215 million child labourers in the world are involved in hazardous work or the worst forms of child labour, says a report issued by the Geneva-based International Labour Organisation (ILO).

The report, which was released on the celebration of this year's World Day Against Child Labour, indicated that every minute, a child labourer somewhere in the world suffered a work related accident, illness or psychological trauma.

The report, which was read by Mr Emmanuel Kwame Mensah, Projects Manager of ILO, Ghana, on Friday during the launch of the 2011 celebration of the Day called on governments, employers and workers to be committed in the implementation of policies and actions that could end child labour.

The report urged all countries to ensure that children were sent to school at least until the attainment of the minimum age of employment as stipulated in the laws of member countries.

"We will also urge all member countries to establish a hazardous work list as required by the ILO Child Labour Conventions," the report said. It also called for more education for children who had reached the minimum age but might be at risk in their workplaces.

"We are also appealing to employers to organise training for younger workers so that they would be aware of risks, rights and responsibilities in the workplace."

The report also indicated that children had higher rates of injuries and deaths than adults; a significant number of children experienced long working hours that increased their risk of injuries and more than 60 per cent of children in hazardous works were boys.

"It has also been detected that hazardous work is more commonly found in the agriculture, fishing, forestry, herding, aquaculture and subsistence farming."

The report called for the strengthening of workplace safety and health measures especially for adolescents between the minimum age of employment and 18 years.

Mr Mensah noted that so far 173 of the ILO's 183 member states had committed themselves to tackling hazardous work by children as an urgent matter by ratifying the ILO convention 182 which tackles the worse forms of child labour.

Mr Emile Short, former Commissioner of CHRAJ, observed that about 20 per cent of children in the country were involved some sort of child labour such as mining, fishing and hawking on the streets.

He identified poverty as the main cause of child labour and urged parents to put in place the needed modalities to ensure that children did not bear the brunt of poverty.

He called for the implementation of the conventions on child labour in order to ensure its total elimination from the country.

Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Deputy Minister of Information, called for a more radical approach in the fight against child labour as was done in abolishing colonialism, slavery and worst forms of racism.

He urged Ghanaians to be vigilant and expose persons who were involved in child labour, especially the worst forms.

Mr Okudzeto Ablakwa pledged government's commitment towards the elimination of child labour in the country.

This year's celebration of the Day would be marked on Monday June 13, as June 12, which is the stipulated date, falls on Sunday.

The occasion would be used to launch the National Plan of Action for the Elimination of Child Labour.

The celebration is on theme: "Warning! Children in Hazardous Work: End Child Labour."