Latin American and Caribbean countries pledge to end child labour by 2020

Twenty-five Latin American and Caribbean countries have launched an initiative to to achieve their goal of eradicating child labour by 2020.

There are 12.5 million children in child labour in Latin America and the Caribbean, of which 9.5 million are in hazardous work, according to the International Labor Organization.

The 25 nations signed a declaration yesterday at the Regional Meeting of the ILO in Lima, Peru, and said this was “a firm commitment” to co-operate and end the practice.

Abolishing child labour is one of the #EducationCountdown targets. More than 15 million children around the world are missing out on a primary school education because they are working.

ILO figures from 2013 say the number of children in child labour has declined by a third since 2000, from 246 million to 168 million children. More than half of them, 85 million, are in hazardous work – down from 171 million in 2000.

Peruvian Labour Minister Fredy Otarola – who is president of this year's regional meeting – said: “We want to remove children from child labour and the protection of the rights of teenagers who are working, as pillars of a regional proposal that … seeks to move forward in the fight against this scourge.”

ILO Director-General Guy Ryder added: “The initiative is part of a global effort to restore the rights of 168 million children and adolescents affected by the scourge of child labour.”

Latin America and the Caribbean had previously proposed to eradicate the worst forms of child labour by 2016 and eliminate all forms of child labour by 2020. Mr Ryder said In recent years important achievements have been made in reducing the number of children in child labour by 7.5 million. But the ILO noted that if progress continues at this pace, it will require at least 40 years to eradicate the practice completely.

The countries that signed the declaration were Argentina, Bahamas, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Surinam, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay and Venezuela.

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