Guyana: Labour Minister Joseph Hamilton addresses World Day against Child Labour

Guyana: Labour Minister Joseph Hamilton addresses World Day against Child Labour

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Georgetown, Guyana: The Minister of Labour of the Republic of Guyana – Joseph Hamilton, has addressed the nation on the occasion of World Day against Child Labour 2023.

“Today, June 12, 2023, Guyana once again joins the rest of the world in observing World Day against Child Labour,” he noted.

He outlined that according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), there is an estimated 160 million children in child labour globally, accounting for almost 1 in 10 of all children worldwide. This is indeed troubling. Therefore, conscious efforts must be taken to ensure that policies and programme initiatives are germane and effective so that the commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goal S. Target 7 is to end child labour in all of its forms by 2025.

Furthermore, the minister mentioned that it is within this context that he held the slogan for 2023. Social Justice for All. End Child Labour! is most fitting as there is a fundamental and vital link between social justice and child labour and the pursuit of social justice for all would certainly see the prevention, reduction and elimination of child labour.

“Here in Guyana, we have implemented numerous measures to mitigate the risk factors that provide for the enhanced welfare of our children through Because We Care Cash Grant, Cash Grant for Each Child with Disability, and the National School Feeding programmes,” he added.

Minister Hamilton further noted that together with an inclusive and well-performing education system, the government of Guyana has a good social protection system which covers many social benefits, including foster care and adoption and public assistance benefits.

He also outlined that there is in place an adequate legislative framework to effectively deal with the issue of child labour. However, social dialogue amongst the social partner must be continuous to advance the legal commitment to the elimination of child labour, a key component of the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. “I would like to encourage and promote regular dialogue on this issue and coordinated, cohesive and coherent actions among the social partners for the elimination of all forms of child labour,” he continued.

Minister Joseph Hamilton added that he wished to remind employers that they have a responsibility to prevent and eliminate this scourge in society and to ensure that the necessary due diligence in their business processes and supply chains is done to discourage the involvement of child labour in the business ecosystem.

“The Ministry of Labour will continue to raise awareness on the issue of child labour and the detrimental emotional and physical effects that children forced into child labour can experience. This year awareness walks will be held in regions 4.5 and 6, and visits will be made to twenty-five (25) Secondary Schools across Guyana to interact with the students on the issue of child labour inspections are incorporated into our regular inspection activities, and this will continue throughout the year,” he assured.