In a historic moment, the International Labour Organisation Convention on Worst Forms of Child Labour, formally known as Convention No. 182 has received universal ratification - this makes it the first international labour standard to receive universal recognition. The pacific nation of Tonga ratified the instrument as the final ILO member state. This is a significant event considering the fact that the UN General Assembly has declared 2021 as the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour.
The ILO Convention no. 182 was adopted at the State party's meeting in Geneva in the year 1999, and is one of ILO's eight fundamental conventions. Convention no. 182 addresses issues of employing children in 'worst forms of child labour' which includes slavery, prostitution, using children in armed conflicts; and engaging children in work that are hazardous to their health, morality and psychological well-being.
Bangladesh ratified the Convention on 12 March, 2001. Bangladesh Labour Act 2006 lays down the laws applicable to employment of adolescent workers aged between 14 to 18 years. The Labour Rules 2015 contains a list of work that is to be considered hazardous - section 39 of the Labour Act 2006 states that adolescent workers cannot be employed in hazardous work. The Government has undertaken a National Action Plan on Child Labour (2012-2021). However, many children - largely females - are employed in the informal sector as domestic workers, which is not covered by the Bangladesh Labour Act 2006. However, a 2015 policy for the protection and welfare for domestic workers purports to set the minimum age of child domestic workers at 14 years (12 or 13 year old workers can do so with parental consent).
Elimination of child labour in hazardous work conditions has been one of the fundamental concerns of the ILO since its inception and the universal ratification indicates a 'global commitment that the worst forms of child labour, such as slavery, sexual exploitation, the use of children in armed conflict or other illicit or hazardous work that compromises children's health, morals or psychological wellbeing, have no place in our society' said ILO Director-General Guy Rider.
As per the ILO's estimates, 152 million children are engaged in child labour and 73 million of whom are engaged in hazardous work. Furthermore, Seventy percent of all child labour takes place in agriculture and is linked mostly to poverty and lack of decent work opportunities.
Compiled by Law Desk, source: un.org.