As part of efforts marking the World Day Against Child Labour, a media launch of the has been organized under the auspices of the Ministry Of Employment and Labour Relations in partnership with the Ministry of Gender, Ministry of Labour and Labour Relations and Ministry of Education – Ghana Education Service and ILO IPEC to call on all especially the media to scale their efforts in sensitizing and educating the public as well as hold government accountable for results on the matter.
Mr. Stephen McClelland, Chief Technical Advisor, International Labour Organization (ILO), in his remarks at the media launch of the 2013 World Day against child labour in Accra on Friday 7th June 2013, said Ghana has pursued various programmes aimed at reducing Child Labour and its worst forms; however, the decline in the number of cases has been very slow. He, however, applauded Ghana for her commitment to the fight against child labour over the years by ratifying ILO conventions 183 and 182, and has approved convention 189- which we are yet to ratify.
June 12, will make it the 11th time Ghana is joining the rest of the globe to mark the day to combat the canker- this year “Ghana, Take Action Now! No to Child Labour in Domestic Work” is the chosen theme. It would be marked with various activities across the country to create awareness and attitudinal change among the citizenry as well as policy makers to incorporate child labour issues into their work policies. He said research estimates in total a number of 15.5 million children engaged in paid and unpaid domestic work in homes across the globe and these children are found to be exposed to various dangers, rights violations and deprivation of childhood liberties while growing up under restriction, hazardous and harsh conditions.
The 2001 Ghana Child Labour Survey (GCLS 2001) report of the Ghana Statistical Service published in 2003, estimates that 242,000 children are engaged in hazardous child labour and many of them are exploited in the large, unregulated traditional apprenticeship schemes. Although the report did not collect data on many Worst Forms of Child Labour (WFCL), there is evidence of large numbers of children working in areas such as domestic work- domestic labour is one of the very hidden forms of child labour- because its behind closed doors- domestic workers face extremely long hours of work, slave-like conditions, use hot and sharp object, inadequate food, inappropriate accommodation, no access to formal education and many more. He also mentioned that the onus of the media was to join in solidarity with the many children trapped in the canker, raise awareness on the issues and also make government account in ensuring the elimination of the worst forms of child labour. “The statistics are worrying…” he said and charged the media to intensify its education to change public attitude.
A speech read on behalf of Hon. Nii Armah Ashietey, Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, said the programme would set the tone for the country to decide its readiness to adopt the ILO Convention 189, which offers specific protection to domestic workers. He said the new convention laid down basic rights and principles and requires states to take a series of measures with a view to making decent work a reality for domestic workers.
The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection representative Mrs. Catherine Adu-Boadi acknowledge the presence of all partners in the fight against child labour especially the media. “…Child labour goes beyond being a development issue, presently- it is an issue of morality and health too…” she said. She noted that “…statistics available show child labour cases in Ghana were declining – its deceptive, we still have problems with child domestic workers in Ghana… What could be the issue? Have we relaxed or fail to do more to ensure the general elimination of Child Labour and its worst forms”. She attributed the slow in progress to poor parenting – saying that the family must care for children – and that this onus lies on the parents and society plays a complimentary role. One way of promoting and tackling Child Labour is educating the child- this will beat poverty and provide killed labour force for Ghana. She concluded by noting Ghana’s commitment to ensuring Children enjoy their rights and eliminating child labour and its worst forms by continuing to implement the National Plan of Action and scaling the Ghana Child Labour Monitoring System. Also present were representatives from the Ghana Employers Association, and Trade Union Congress.