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March 23, 2022

Bangladesh takes leap forward in tackling child labour

Bangladesh has taken a step forward in eliminating child labour, ratifying the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Minimum Age Convention, 1973.

By Hannah Abdulla

The Minimum Age Convention requires Bangladesh to take measures to ensure the progressive elimination of child labour and set a minimum age under which no one shall be admitted to employment or work in any occupation except for light work and artistic performances.

The move sees Bangladesh reaffirm its commitment towards the fight against the scourge of child labour and to protecting children from work for which they are too young and from work that jeopardises their health, morals or psychological wellbeing as well as their access to education.

It also sees Bangladesh move ahead towards the achievement of decent work and delivering at country-level the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals , in particular SDG target 8.7  which aims at the complete eradication of child labour by 2025 and calls for immediate action to prohibit and eliminate its worst forms.

The ILO says its 2020 Child Labour Global Estimates show there are still 160m children in work and that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact that threatens to reverse years of progress. 

Monnujan Sufian, minister of labour and employment of Bangladesh, says: “Today, with the ratification of the Minimum Age Convention, Bangladesh completes its ratification of all fundamental Conventions and relevant Protocols. This is a clear demonstration of our sincere commitment to international labour standards, including those on the elimination of child labour. In this regard, our Government also recently revised the hazardous work list to increase the number of types of dangerous work prohibited to children from 38 to 43, thus providing children with wider protection against child labour and its worst forms. Indeed, the Government of Bangladesh made a strong pledge to eliminate child labour in all its forms. In pursuit of this goal, we seek the continued support of the ILO.”

ILO director-general Mr. Guy Ryder, adds: “This represents another positive development in the country’s continued efforts towards the full respect of fundamental rights at work. The ratification of Convention No. 138 by Bangladesh could not be more timely. As the latest estimates have shown us, child labour remains an issue of utmost concern globally. Our response must be swift and effective. This is a time for renewed commitment and energy, to turn the corner and break the cycle of poverty and child labour. Today, with the ratification of ILO Convention No. 138, Bangladesh reaffirms its strong commitment to eradicating child labour in the country, and yet again demonstrates that it is steadfast in its efforts aimed at achieving this goal.”

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