Desist from child labour practices – Hamilton to employers

Labour Minister Joseph Hamilton has reminded employers of their responsibility to prevent the scourge of child labour, by exercising their due diligence to discourage such practice.
He shared this position on Monday, as Guyana joined the rest of the world in observing World Day Against Child Labour, where calls were reignited for children to be free from the burden of working, deprived of education and other fundamental rights.
“I wish to remind employers that they have a responsibility to prevent and eliminate this scourge in society and to ensure that the necessary due diligence in their business processes and supply chains is done to discourage the involvement of child labour in the business ecosystem,” the Minister penned in a statement.
According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), there is an estimated 160 million children in child labour globally, accounting for almost one in 10 of all children worldwide.
“This is indeed troubling. Therefore, conscious efforts must be taken to ensure that policies and programme initiatives are germane and effective so that the commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goal Eight: Target Seven to end child labour in all of its forms by 2025 is realised,” he further commented.
Hamilton opined that the slogan: “Social Justice for All. End Child Labour,” is most fitting as there is a fundamental and vital link between social justice and child labour. The pursuit of social justice for all would certainly see the prevention, reduction and elimination of child labour.
“Here in Guyana, we have implemented numerous measures to mitigate the risk factors that provide for the enhanced welfare of our children through the Because We Care cash grant, cash grant for each child with disability, and the National School Feeding programmes. Notably, together with our inclusive and well-performing education system, we have a good social protection system which covers many social benefits, including foster care and adoption and public assistance benefits.”
Moreover, the Labour Minister underscored that there is an adequate legislative framework in place to effectively deal with the issue of child labour. However, social dialogue amongst social partners must be continuous to advance legal commitment to the elimination of child labour, a key component of the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.
“I would like to encourage and promote regular dialogue on this issue and coordinated, cohesive and coherent actions among the social partners for the elimination of all forms of child labour. The Ministry of Labour will continue to raise awareness on the issue of child labour and the detrimental emotional and physical effects that children forced into child labour can experience,” he added.
This year, awareness walks were planned for Regions Four (Demerara-Mahaica), Five (Mahaica-Berbice) and Six (East Berbice-Corentyne), with visits to 25 secondary schools across the country to interact with the students on the issue of child labour. Child labour inspections are incorporated into regular inspection activities and this will continue throughout the year. (G12)