Gov’t committed to eliminating child labour, says Dunn
KINGSTON, Jamaica — State Minister in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Dr Norman Dunn, says the Government is committed to the elimination of child labour in Jamaica.
In a release on Thursday, Dr Dunn, who was speaking at a recent function, pointed out that this commitment by the Administration is on record.
The State Minister said that Jamaica is a signatory to C138 with respect to the Minimum Age for Work done by Children and Internal Labour Organization (ILO) Convention and C182 that speaks to the Worst Forms of Child Labour.
“Being a signatory to these ILO Conventions is very important, because the issue of child labour is a long-standing issue worldwide, and Jamaica is very adamant that where the situation arises, we will be part of any thrust to eliminate child labour from Jamaica,” he said.
According to the release, child labour is defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and is harmful to physical and mental development. It also refers to work that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children, and/or interferes with their schooling.
The ILO reported that in 2021 there were more than 160 million children worldwide engaged in child labour, with the Caribbean Region accounting for 1.1 million.
Jamaica is presently hosting a five-member delegation from the Brazil International Labour Organization (ILO) South-South Mission, who are meeting with representatives from the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and other stakeholders on the Regional Initiative to Eradicating Child Labour by 2025.
Dr Dunn said the Government of Jamaica, through the Ministry over the past nine years, has ramped up its public education programme to sensitise Jamaicans on this issue.
Meanwhile, Programme Officer for the Regional Initiative for Latin America and the Caribbean, Free of Child Labour, based in the ILO Caribbean Office, Port of Spain, Trinidad, Resel Melville, who is part of the Mission, pointed out that Jamaica was one of the original countries that signed on to creating the Regional Initiative, which was established in 2014.
Melville said that in the context of this Regional Initiative the goal is to engage countries according to a common strategic framework that sets certain specific targets and goals.
“We work to facilitate technical cooperation between and among the countries to enable the exchange of knowledge and information tools that actually bring tangible approaches and solutions that have an impact on the lives that we seek to change,” she said.
“Jamaica has actually been ahead of many of its counterparts in the region in terms of addressing some fundamentals, such as its legislative framework, and so we indeed look forward to the strengthening of the legislative framework that protects children by the inclusion of a hazardous child labour and lightwork list,” Melville said.