With the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic potentially pushing millions of vulnerable children into child labour, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios says “there is no room for compromise and complacency.”
World Day Against Child Labour 2020 focuses on the impact of the crisis, with an estimated 152 million children in child labour, 72 million of which are in hazardous work.
In a public message, His Eminence says that on this day, “our thoughts and attention turn to an extremely worrying and sad phenomenon that, unfortunately, continues to plague humanity even in the 21st century.”
“Tens of millions of girls and boys throughout the world, almost 10% of all children, according to the latest estimates of the International Labour Organization, instead of enjoying their innocence and tender age; instead of playing, smiling and dreaming; instead of learning at school and progressing, they are forced to waste their childhood at work, in often dangerous conditions for their health, safety, and their moral development,” His Eminence said.
His Eminence recognised that while significant steps have been taken in recent years to curb child labour, its complete elimination remains an extended task.
This year, the World Day is conducted as a virtual campaign and is being organised jointly with the Global March Against Child Labour and the International Partnership for Cooperation on Child Labour in Agriculture (IPCCLA) .
A joint ILO-UNICEF paper on the impact of COVID-19 on child labour looks at some of the main channels through which the pandemic is likely to affect progress towards the eradication of child labour.
“There is no room for compromise and complacency when there are still children’s faces without innocent smiles; when there are traumatised children deprived of the right to dream,” His Eminence adds in his message.