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European Union and ILO Support Minimum age for Employment

Islamabad, October 09, 2012 (PPI-OT): “In a milestone decision in Pakistan’s history the minimum age for employment has been set at 14 years, in compliance with the ILO Convention no. 138 on “minimum age in employment”. Draft laws prohibiting the employment of children below 14 years, applying to both the formal and informal sectors have been prepared by the respective provincial labour departments, with technical and financial support from the European Union funded, ILO implemented project on Combating Abusive Child Labour (CACL-II)”, highlighted by Ms Margaret Reade Rounds, ILO Officer-in-Charge at the Award Ceremony for the National Photo Competition on Child Labour’ organized by the project.

The Chief Guest for the occasion was the Hon. Ambassador of the European Union Delegation to Pakistan, Mr Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, and other distinguished guests included the Federal Secretary for Human Resources Development, the President of the Employers’ Federation of Pakistan and the General Secretary of the Pakistan Workers’ Federation.

Speaking on the occasion The Ambassador of European Union Pakistan, Mr. Lars-Gunnar Wigemark said, “Millions of children in Pakistan suffer under a system of child labour that also includes bonded labour, featuring in brick kilns, carpet industries, agriculture, fisheries, stone/brick crushing, shoe-making, power looms etc. The kind of initiatives like Combating Abusive Child Labour (CACL-II) lead to change the perceptions on involving children in work and mobilize the general public to act against child labour”.

“EU is Pakistan’s top trading partner. After the 2010 and 2011 floods, EU proposed an exceptional package of trade concessions to Pakistan. Pakistani exports to the EU are expected to receive a further boost as EU is considering Pakistan’s eligibility to benefit from the EU’s Generalised System of Preference (GSP) plus. Although most Pakistani children work in the agricultural sector, a large number of children work in urban centres also”, he further added.

Speaking on the occasion Ms Margaret Reade Rounds said, “The world has entered in 21st century but in developing countries including Pakistan, child labour is still prevalent. Child labour deprives children of their childhood, interferes with their ability to attend regular school that is mentally, physically, socially or morally harmful. Despite important progress over the last decade, the number of children in full-time work world-wide and particularly in hazardous conditions remains high”.

Stage and song performances by children, short documentaries by students of Fatima Jinnah and Islamic University, the distribution of prizes to winners of the competition, and the showcasing of pictures served to remind the audience that child labour is a scourge on society, a hindrance to poverty reduction and an obstacle to social justice, and must be eliminated.

Heads of UN agencies, foreign diplomats, employers and worker, and members of civil society, the media personnel and university students showed up to demonstrate their support for eliminating child labour in Pakistan.

The photo competition was organized to highlight the fight against child labour and professionals, students and the general public have entered photographs. An exhibition of the photos will be held at the PNCA from the 11th – 14th of October.

For more information, contact:
Haji Ahmed Malik
Principal Information Officer
Press Information Department (PID)
Tel: +9251 925 2323 and +9251 925 2324
Fax: +9251 925 2325 and +9251 925 2326
Email: piopid@gmail.com

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