Elimination of child labour and improving the safety and health of young workers was the goal of the local commemoration of World Day Against Child Labour and the World Occupational Safety and Health Day.
The days were celebrated at the International Labour Organisation’s local office yesterday.
The theme for this year’s Day Against Child Labour is “GENERATION SAFE & HEALTH” with a joint campaign with the World OSH Day, who also officiated the launching of Samoa O.S.H. Framework and also the Hazardous and Light Work List yesterday.
Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labor and Chairman of the Samoa National Tripartite Forum, Pulotu Lyndon Chu Ling said:
“This is Samoa’s first Hazardous and Light Work List and also commemorating against Child Labor and in doing so, we wear red which goes along with the red card-ending child labor.”
Pulotu applaud the initiative of the taskforce along with the support of the International Labor Organization and Australia Government who assisted in the formulation of the OSH framework.
“I also acknowledge the continues effort by the Government and employers and workers who have in the forefront in the fight against Child labor for many years and remains committed to ensure that children’s right to education and freedom from any form of child labor remains and removed from us.”
“And to our partners in the Community and the media family for the opportunity for the ongoing support to this great cause on building efforts for eliminating street vendors and worse form of child labor; not only in Samoa but also in our region,” said Pulotu.
Assistant Resident Representative for U.N. Simona Marinecus spoke on the importance of advocating against Child Labor in Samoa.
“I would like to thank the Tripartite Forum for keeping this dialogue open and for playing an important role in changing culture in Samoa.”
According to Marinecus around the world 218 million people in Labor and out of that over 150 million are children who are victims of child labour.
“The preponderance of this particular phenomenon comes from Africa,” said Marinecus.
There is also over 60 million in the Asia Pacific who are victims of child labour.
She said in the Pacific including Samoa its 7.4 percent of children who are victims of child labour.
“At the time we speak about social cohesion, we speak about progress, we speak about sustainable development, and we do believe that these Child Labour need help.”
“We hold this commitment together as these children are our children.”
“We need to make sure that our commitment to keeping children in school, away from dirt, away from heavy labour is actually materialized.”
“Most of the children are victims of forced labour, in agriculture, in fisheries and forest and those are the areas skills are not necessarily required and this is why they are very much exposed,” said Marinecus.
Local I.L.O. Coordinator Tomasi Peni pointed out to the audience this year’s campaign calls for coordinated action to promote the universal ratification and application of key I.L.O. Conventions on occupational safety and health (O.S.H.) and on Child Labour.
“Also to promote Framework of O.S.H. Conventions- Tripartite Consultation (International Labour Standards) Convention, 1976 (No. 144) and build stronger tripartite action to improve occupational safety and health of young workers, and eliminate hazardous child labor and drawing on the experience of employers’ and workers’ organization up in the face of danger at work.”
“Hence Samoa progress to develop under the OSH Framework – the first National Lists of hazardous work that is prohibited for children and should include works in which it is carried out.”
“Corresponding to the hazardous list is the light work list that would guide our employers and partners for employing young workers from 15 years to 24 years,” says Mr. Peni.