GENEVA (ILO News) - The first World Day Against Child Labour will be observed worldwide on 12 June 2002. The International Labour Organization (ILO) will formally launch this global day with an event at its Geneva offices on 11 June, the eve of the first World Day.
Around the world, the World Day Against Child Labour is expected to see an array of activities, ranging from gatherings of child workers and their supporters to school events, children's art shows and drama performances, child-adult information workshops, activities organized by worker and employer representatives, media events and other public activities.
"This first World Day Against Child Labour is intended to help spread the message that child labour remains a serious problem and that we must do more to combat it," said International Labour Office (ILO) Director-General Juan Somavia in a statement for the day. "We are asking everyone to join together in working towards a world where no children will be deprived of a normal, healthy childhood, where parents can find decent jobs and children can go to school. Our goal is a world free from child labour."
The World Day will be held annually to intensify support for the global campaign against child labour. The World Day will also serve as a catalyst for enhancing the growing worldwide movement against child labour, as reflected in the steadily mounting ratifications of ILO Conventions Nos. 182 (on its worst forms) and 138 (on minimum age), as well as the work of the ILO International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC).
According to the recently released report " A Future Without Child Labour " * , 246 million children - one in every six children aged 5 to 17 - are involved in child labour. Among its startling findings, the report also revealed for the first time that some 179 million children aged 5-17 - one in every eight children in the world - is still exposed to the worst forms of child labour which endanger the child's physical, mental or moral well-being.
Significantly, the recent UN General Assembly Special Session on Children decided to devote an entire section of its final report to combatting child labour, illustrating how far we have come in raising the visibility of this critical issue since the last global gathering of this type, the Children's Summit of 1990.
The ILO event in Geneva will feature celebrities active in the campaign against child labour, testimonies from former child labourers, performances by drama students and activities for children. It takes place from 6-10 p.m. on 11 June on the R-2 level of the main ILO building.
The event will be attended by delegates to the International Labour Conference (ILC), the general public, staff of Geneva-based UN organizations, non-governmental organizations and schools. The media are cordially invited to attend.
Following introductory remarks by ILO Director-General Juan Somavia, the formal programme will include appearances by Christie Clark, a U.S. film and televison actress who is featured in the ILO's TV public service announcement on child labour, and Abrar-ul-Haq, a popular Pakistani singer who is active in the worldwide campaign to combat the problem. His foundation, "Sahara for Life", works to improve maternal and child healthcare in Pakistan and he has written and recorded a song about working children. Also participating will be two former child labourers, Alice (a 16-year-old former child worker) from Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, and Sergei (a 13-year-old former child labourer) from St. Petersburg, Russia.
The event will also feature the launch of SCREAM (Supporting Children's Rights through Education, the Arts and the Media) a community-based educational and social mobilization project aimed at drawing children and their teachers into the campaign against child labour. SCREAM participants, drama students from the International School of Geneva, will present a mime performance developed around the issue of child labour.
Delegations to the 175-nation International Labour Conference are scheduled to spend 12 June, the World Day Against Child Labour, discussing the new ILO Global Report on child labour.
For more information, contact the ILO Department of Communication at +4122/799-7912/7527, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
* "A Future Without Child Labour, Global Report under the Follow-up to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work", International Labour Conference, 90 th Session, 2002, Report I (B). International Labour Office, Geneva. ISBN 92-2-112416-9. Price: 20 Swiss Francs. The ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work was adopted by the International Labour Conference in 1998. It reaffirms the commitment of all ILO member States to respect, promote and realize the rights of workers and employers to freedom of association and collective bargaining, and to be free from forced or compulsory labour, child labour and discrimination.