Legal framework to address child labour in South Asia

South Asian countries have ratified/signed key international and regional instruments in regard to child labour and child rights. They are taking various legislative measures, including updating of national legislation and policies, to provide a conducive legal environment within the countries to combating child labour.

International instruments related to child labour include the ILO Conventions No. 138 (1973), No. 182 (1999), No. 105 (1957), No. 05 (1919), No. 29 (1930) and No. 189 (2011) among others, as well as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) (1989) and its Optional Protocols on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (2002) and on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography (2002).

The ILO Supervisory system for the application of Conventions and Recommendations consists of mechanism for: (1) the regular system of supervision, which involves examination of periodic reports submitted by member States on the measures they have taken to implement the provisions of the ratified Conventions; and (2) special procedures, which involves a representations procedure and a complaints procedure of general application, together with a special procedure for the Convention on freedom of association.

Under the regular system, two bodies, namely, the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CEACR) and the International Labour Conference’s Tripartite Committee on the Application of Conventions examine reports sent by member States and observations sent by workers’ and employers’ organizations.  Both the CEACR and the ILC Tripartite Committee draw up conclusions recommending that governments take specific steps to remedy a problem or to invite ILO missions or technical assistance. The Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)  monitors the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the two optional protocols to the Convention, providing the governments with concluding observations.

Read: ILO CEACR and CRC Committee Recommendations and Concluding Observations selected recommendations on child labour 

At the Regional level, the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) promotes the ratification by the eight South Asian governments of the Conventions on Regional Arrangements for the Promotion of Child Welfare in South Asia and on Prevention and Combating Trafficking of Women and Children for Prostitution.

National laws : Different ministries and institutions are responsible for the implementation of  a number of different laws and policies to combat child labour.