Combating Child Labour in Guyana

Dear Editor,

On Combating Child Labour, Guyana is committed to fully honour the two principal International Labour Conventions which Guyana it ratified. These are ILO Convention 138, and Convention 182. A ratified Convention is an International Treaty obligating member states to bring their legislation and practice in conformity with all ratified Conventions.
1. Convention No. 138 – Minimum Age, 1973: This Convention calls:
• for the abolition of child labour and emphasizes that school is for children, not work; (normally any child under 15 years of age)
• for the minimum age for employment to be not less than the age of completion of
compulsory education (normally not under 15 years);
• on states to pursue a national policy designed to abolish child labour;
on states to progressively raise the minimum age for employment consistent with the full physical and mental development of young persons;
• on states to ensure that the minimum age shall not be less than 18 years for any
type of work which is likely to jeopardize the health, safety, or morals (or 16 years
under certain conditions of protection of health safety or morals, with adequate and specific instructions or vocational training) of young persons, the representative social partners having been consulted.
2. Convention No. 182 – The Worst Forms of Child Labour, 1999: (ratified by all of 187-member State of the UN International Labour Organization)
This Convention is applicable to all persons under 18 years of age, and requires ratifying states to take effective and immediate measures to prohibit and eliminate as a matter of urgency the worst forms of child Labour defined as:
– “all forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, such as the sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage and serfdom and forced or compulsory labour, including forced or compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflict”.
– “The use, in procuring or offering of a child for prostitution, for the production of pornography or for pornographic performances”.
– “The use, procuring or offering of a child for illicit activities, in particular for the production and trafficking of drugs”.
– “Work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children” (Article 3).
Convention 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour further calls for:
-international cooperation among states in eliminating the worst forms of child labour
– effective measures to implement and enforce the provisions of the Convention;
– the recognition of the importance of education in eliminating child labour; and
– special measures to identify and reach out to children at risk, and to take account of the special situation of girls.

With thanks,
Samuel J. Goolsarran