Joint Statement by ILO and UNICEF regarding alleged case of child labour in Dagon Seikkan Township
The International Labour Organization (ILO) and UNICEF are aware of recent reports of an incident that took place at a business in Dagon Seikkan Township, Yangon, allegedly involving child labour.
ILO and UNICEF strongly condemn all forms of child exploitation, including child labour. Tackling the worst forms of child labour is a key joint priority for both UN agencies, part of our efforts to ensure the protection of every child in Myanmar.
ILO and UNICEF are in close contact with key stakeholders involved with this case including local government, District Office of Department of Social Welfare (DSW), Worker and Employer Organizations, and civil society organisations – and are proactively monitoring developments in the case, as well as ongoing efforts by local authorities to investigate this incident and ensure justice, support and protection for all children affected. DSW Case Managers have been providing necessary care and protection for those rescued children and facilitating the process of family tracing and reunification.
Child labour seriously affects the physical and mental health of children, prevents them from realising their right to education, and perpetuates the cycle of poverty in communities and families. The safety and welfare of children must be prioritised by the authorities, and cases involving child labour must be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted, following due process and in accordance with the law.
The socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19 threaten to exacerbate the situation around child labour, putting children at greater risk of child labour, particularly in situations where families find themselves in desperate financial situations through loss of work and livelihoods. Measures to mitigate the spread of poverty due to COVID-19 can play a key role, as can efforts to ensure greater public awareness around child labour.
Myanmar is a signatory to ILO’s Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) and in June this year took an important step by ratifying the Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138). The ratification of these two Conventions underscores Myanmar’s continued commitment to eliminating child labour. The Child Rights Law adopted in 2019 also provides important protections for the welfare of children.
UNICEF and ILO look forward to continuing to work with the Government of Myanmar as it works to ensure the full elimination of child labour, including through strengthening labour inspection and implementing plans for the elimination of child labour and the full implementation of the Child Rights Law.
More information can be found at https://www.unicef.org/protection/child-labour and https://www.ilo.org/yangon/projects/WCMS_419969/lang--en/index.htm
UNICEF in Myanmar
UNICEF has been working with the Government and the people of Myanmar since 1950. In partnership with the Government and the civil society, UNICEF’s current focus of work aims at reducing child mortality, improving access and quality of education and protecting children from violence, abuse and exploitation.