Handing over of ILO’s Project of Support to the Government of Punjab

In a handing over ceremony at the completion of ILO’s project of support to the Government of Punjab on Elimination of Bonded Labour from Brick Kilns (EBLIK) in Punjab, the Minister for Labour, Mr Ashraf Khan Sohna ensured full commitment and support of the Government of Punjab to address the issue of bonded labour in brick kilns in the province.

Press release | 08 April 2010

Lahore - Illiteracy, poverty and lack of social justice is the root cause of disenfranchisement and militancy, the Minister said in his statement at the event that was held at the Centre for Improvement of Working Conditions and Environment (CIWC&E), Department of Labour and Human Resources, Government of Punjab.

The Minister also said that extension of social security is the only way to empower workers, increase productivity and alleviate poverty. This can only be made possible with concerted efforts of the Government, employers, workers and other development partners.

Appreciating the technical assistance of the ILO and its success in the province, he stressed upon the need for educating youth for a literate future.

ILO Director, Mr Donglin Li, at the same occasion, said that ILO has been striving for the promotion of social justice and internationally recognized human and labour rights since 1919, in close collaboration with its tripartite constituents. In the twenty first century, “To Promote the Decent Work for All” is the ILO’s Global agenda. It includes the promotion of fundamental principles and rights at work, decent and productive employment through skills training, social protection, and tripartism and social dialogue.

Mr Li added that ILO’s technical support provided to the Government of Punjab to develop a project on elimination of bonded labour in brick kiln sector is a successful step towards the socio-economic uplift of the vulnerable labour communities susceptible to bondage and a good practice with the Government that is now ready to take over the operations of the project and sustain the programme activities reinstating the sectoral priorities of the Government.

The representatives of Employers Federation of Pakistan and Pakistan Workers Federation, Mr Iftikhar Rindhawa and Mr Khurshid Ahmed also spoke on the occasion endorsing their commitment to promote the elimination of the practices of bonded labour in line with the Global Compact against bonded labour and the ILO Conventions 29 and 105. Mr Khurshid Ahmed emphasized the need of the continuation of ILO’s support and said that it is urgent to establish wide coverage of basic social protection schemes to cushion the poor against the devastating effects of sharp fluctuations in economic activity.

The Director, Altaf Ezid Khan, Directorate of Labour and Human Resource Department presented key achievements of the ILO project of support to EBLIK:

  • 60 non-formal education centers for provision of in-situ primary education to over 1,800 children of families at brick kilns;
  • Baseline surveys of brick kiln families in the selected districts;
  • Provision of national identity cards;
  • Linkages to microfinance extended;
  • Linkages to health, social protection and skills training advocated; and
  • Promoting the use of model contract at brick kilns through brick Kilns Owners Association (BKOA).

Skits, songs and other performances were delivered by child beneficiaries of the ILO project in Kasur. It was arranged by the implementing partners Pak Swedish Teachers Association and Bunyad Literacy and Community Council.

Mr Adul Rauf Khan, Secretary of Labour, Mahboob Khan from Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Shoaib Khan Niazi representing BKOA, Azam Tariq from Punjab Rural Support Programme also spoke on the occasion and endorsed the project interventions and the support of the ILO.