UNICEF summarized the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child as spelling out the “basic human rights that children everywhere have: the right to survival; to develop to the fullest; to protection from harmful influences, abuse and exploitation; and to participate fully in family, cultural and social life”. This convention is almost universally ratified. Despite this, child labour (something that in many cases violates at least three of the non-negotiable terms laid out in the Convention of the Rights of the Child) remains rampant in most of the world. Despite this being such a widely known (and publicized) issue, the most recent estimate states that “127 million boys and 88 million girls are involved in child labour with 74 million boys and 41 million girls involved in the worst forms”. Child labour is an extremely complex, multi-faceted issue with roots including corruption of power, racism, sexism, cultural traditions and an uneven distribution of global wealth. In light of this, it is my contention that the international community is making strides to a future without child labour through targeting multiple angles and causes behind child labour.
This paper will try to analyze individual instruments the international community (ILO, UN) is using in its attempt to eradicate child labour. First, we will analyze the issues that come with the wide margin of understanding and opposing definitions of the term “child labour”. We will be reviewing the Minimum Age Convention of 1973 and establishing how this could help clear up misunderstanding, establishing the understandable dialogue between nations necessary for progress. Next, we will be examining the efforts made to follow up and enforce these conventions laid out by the international community. In this section we will be looking at the Time Bound Programs initiative put forth by the ILO, assessing how effective and complete these initiatives are. Subsequently we will be zooming out somewhat, looking at how...
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