Sunday, June 30, 2013

FAO, ILO urge nations to protect children

Child LabourGovernments need to take measures to protect children from harmful work in small-scale fisheries and aquaculture, say the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO). According to a guidance document published jointly by the two UN agencies, almost every country had signed international conventions to protect children, but many had not translated these agreements into national legislation. The document says many children working in small-scale fisheries and aquaculture remained exposed to harsh and hazardous working conditions. It says children may have to dive to unsafe depths – often at night; work long hours in unsanitary processing plants at the risk of contracting infections; or handle toxic chemicals and dangerous equipment or gear, adding that girls working in fish processing depots are also at risk of sexual abuse. The FAO and ILO estimate that around 130 million children work in agriculture, livestock and fisheries – accounting for 60 per cent of child labour worldwide. “There are no aggregate data showing how many children work in fisheries and aquaculture, but case study evidence suggests child labour is a problem, especially in informal small and medium-sized fishing and aquaculture enterprises and in family operations,” it notes. The report stresses that not all fishery activities children engage in are undesirable, some could even be positive for their development. “They can acquire practical and social skills as they learn how to fish, learn how to process fish and sell them in the market,” it states. The FAO and the ILO are urging compliance with international rules to protect children working in the industry. These include the ILO’s Minimum Age Convention and its Worst Forms of Child Labour and Work in Fishing Conventions, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the FAO’s Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. They point to the importance of occupational safety and health assessments in assessing hazards and specific risks for children. - See more at:

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