-As Ministry of Labour conducts media event
The Government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Labour and National Commission on Child Labour, on Friday, June 12, 2020, joined other countries around to celebrate “World Day Against Child Labour.”
June 12 of each year is celebrated as World Day Against Child Labour by member states of the International Labour Organization (ILO).
World Day Against Child Labour 2020 focuses on the impact of the crisis on child labor and, amid the coronavirus pandemic, children are often the first to suffer.
According to ILO, already there are an estimated 152 million children in child labor, 72 million of which are in hazardous work. These children are now at even greater risk of facing circumstances that are even more difficult and working longer hours.
The global Theme for this year’s celebration is “COVID-19: Protect Children from Child Labour Now More Than Ever”. While the National Theme is: Amidst Covid-19 “Protect Children from Child Labour Now and Afterwards”.
In observance of the Day, Ministry of Labour in collaboration with National Commission held a media interaction with major media institutions in Liberia at the Ministerial Complex in Congo Town, Monrovia.
Presenting a special statement on behalf of Labour Minister Moses Y. Kollie, Deputy Labour Minister for Planning and Manpower Development, Atty. Phil T. Dixon, said that Liberia, like countries around the world, has not eliminated child labor. He said that child labour is present in different forms on farms, in small industries, on the streets and in homes.
The Deputy Labour Minister noted that various policy and practical steps have been taken to combat child labor including the endorsement, through the President’s office, of the National Action Plan on Child Labour to govern action during the period 2018-2030 and the validation of the hazard work list.
“These are aspirational documents, informing us of what is required to reduce child labor by half by the close of the period. These have been complemented by enforcement through the Child Labour Division and Inspectorate of the Ministry of Labour, the Children’s Division at the Ministry of Gender, other divisions of key line ministries and intervention by humanitarian organizations, particularly those from the Liberia Child Rights NGOs Coalition and the Child Protection Network.”
He said to further strengthen capacity, members of the team responding to child labour have been to several international training and experience sharing events: the ECOWAS Policy on Social Protection, Social Security and Insurance held in Abuja, Nigeria; and the International Visiting Leaders Program on Forced Labour, Child Labour and Trafficking hosted by the U.S. State Department in various states of the United States.
Deputy Minister Dixon added that increased sensitization activities such as media events, distribution of flyers and talk shows have contributed to a net reduction of the worst forms of child labor and encouraged the use of the hotline “2883” to report abuses against children, noting that “all calls are free.”
Speaking of the impact of COVID-19 on Child Labour in Liberia, Atty. Dixon said “It is possible to see the impact of COVID-19 on child labour by simply taking a walk on the streets of Monrovia.
“Children are seen selling masks at major junctions, yet they do not wear these masks. That is dangerous to them. We believe this should be stopped. Our staff have also not been fully in their numbers, so implementation might have been less than ideal. We want to make it clear going forward and as we return to full strength, the Ministry will robustly police the rate at which children return to developmentally appropriate activities, including school and play, upon the return of normalcy or the end of the pandemic, whichever comes sooner.”
He further noted that in order to protect household income, the Ministry has resumed its disputes resolution roles. We will welcome the media and you can take a walk through our hearing halls to see how the strive for labor justice is being conducted, even as we blend it with the fight against COVID-19.
“Again, as Liberia joins the world in observance of this year’s World Day Against Child Labour, we like to appreciate all partners who have support and continue to support the efforts of the Government of Liberia in fighting child labour. Let us protect children from child labour, now and afterwards” he concluded.
Also, the National Coordinator of the National Commission on Child Labour and Director of Child Labour Division of the Ministry of Labour, Madam Patience Heah, thanked members of the Commission for their support in the fight against child labour. She used the occasion to call on parents and guardians as well as school administrators to join the fight against child labour and its worst forms.