Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) urges Commonwealth leaders to prioritise eradication of child labour

Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) urges Commonwealth leaders to prioritise eradication of child labour

London, 12 June 2023: On this World Day Against Child Labour, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative calls upon leaders of Commonwealth nations to prioritise the eradication of child labour as a fundamental step towards creating a just and inclusive society.

Under this year's theme, "Social Justice for All. End Child Labour!", we renew our commitment to eradicate child labour and protect the rights and well-being of children across the Commonwealth.

Recognising the urgent need to address this grave issue, we draw the attention of Commonwealth leaders to the Kigali Declaration on Child Care and Protection Reform, adopted by Commonwealth Heads of Government in 2022.

The Kigali Declaration highlights the commitment of Commonwealth Heads of Government to prevent and eliminate child, early, and forced marriage, which often intersects with child labour. While adopting the Kigali Declaration in 2022, the Commonwealth Heads of Government committed to “positioning the Commonwealth as a leading advocate on child care and protection reform by implementing the UN Resolution on Children Without Parental Care”, among other measures.

It is crucial for Commonwealth leaders to build upon these commitments, and take concrete steps to implement the principles outlined in the Kigali Declaration.

Leaders of Commonwealth nations must recognise that child labour perpetuates the violation of children's rights, hindering their development, well-being, and future prospects. Moving forward in line with the Kigali Declaration, we urge Commonwealth leaders to:

  1. Strengthen Legislation and Enforcement: Enact and enforce robust legislation that explicitly prohibits child labour in all its forms, ensuring alignment with international standards and conventions such as the International Labour Organization's Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention.
  2. Enhance Social Protection Systems: Expand social protection coverage to vulnerable children and families, providing access to essential services, including education, healthcare, and social assistance.
  3. Invest in Quality Education: Prioritise investment in accessible, inclusive, and quality education for all children. This includes addressing barriers to education, such as poverty, discrimination, the digital divide, and gender-based disparities. Education empowers children, equipping them with the knowledge and skills needed to break the cycle of poverty and exploitation.
  4. Promote Awareness and Collaboration: Launch comprehensive awareness campaigns to educate communities, parents, employers, and children themselves about the detrimental effects of child labour. Foster collaboration among governments, civil society organizations, businesses, and international agencies to share best practices, resources, and knowledge in combating child labour effectively.
  5. Strengthen Data Collection and Monitoring: Improved data collection mechanisms to gather accurate and up-to-date information on child labour prevalence, trends, and underlying factors can inform evidence-based policies and targeted interventions to address the root causes of child labour and monitor progress towards its elimination.

CHRI’s recent report on child labour, features best practices and strategies to address child labour and trafficking during the COVID-19 pandemic from three Commonwealth nations – Sri Lanka, Ghana, and Trinidad and Tobago – that include some of these measures. However, if we are to move towards a Commonwealth free of child labour, we will need more decisive action by member nations.

Let us act together to ensure that every child within our Commonwealth community is protected, empowered, and given the opportunity to reach their full potential.

For further information, contact:

Media and Communications Office, CHRI London



Twitter: @CHRI_UK