Published On: Tue, Jun 6th, 2017

ILO: In conflicts and disasters, protect children from child labour

ILOGENEVA – This year, World Day Against Child Labour  on 12 June focuses on the impact of conflicts and disasters on child labour. In times of conflict, in times of disaster, when livelihoods are disrupted, basic services are lost and people can be forced from their homes, entire families become more vulnerable. But it is children who often pay the heaviest price. Many of the 168 million children in child labour live in areas affected by conflict and disaster.

The Guiding principles on the access of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons to the labour market , adopted by the ILO’s Governing Body in 2016, call on all ILO Member States and constituents to take measures to combat and prevent child labour.

The proposed ILO Recommendation concerning Employment and Decent Work for Peace and Resilience (Revision of the Transition from War to Peace Recommendation, 1944, No. 71 ), being discussed during the 106th Session of the International Labour Conference  (ILC) calls for specific action against child labour arising from or exacerbated by conflicts or disasters.

In countries affected by conflicts and disaster, the ILO, governments, workers’ and employers’ organizations and humanitarian actors work together to prevent and withdraw children from child labour, and enrol them in education. Using an integrated approach to promote fundamental principles and rights at work, the ILO has developed specific tools to prevent child labour and provide economic reintegration in post-conflict situations, with a particular focus on children formerly associated with armed forces and groups.

The ILO works closely with partners to tackle child labour in emergencies. In 2016, the Child Labour Task Force of the Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action , co-chaired by the ILO and Plan International, launched its Inter-agency Guidance: Supporting the Protection Needs of Child Labourers in Emergencies . This toolkit provides guidance to humanitarian workers on protecting children from child labour.

The ILO is part of Alliance 8.7 , the global strategic partnership committed to achieving SDG Target 8.7, which calls on the world to end forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking, and, by 2025 to end child labour in all its forms. One of its six Action Groups is dedicated to addressing these issues in situations of crisis.

Child labour violates international law and UN Conventions, including the ILO child labour Conventions and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The ILO’s Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138)  and the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182)  have now been ratified by 169 and 180 member States respectively. The ILO welcomes India’s decision to ratify these two Conventions which will bring 20 per cent more of the world’s children under the protection of the two Conventions.

Key resources on addressing child labour in conflicts and disasters are available here .

World Day Events

The ILO is organizing a series of events both in Geneva and throughout the world.


An event to mark the World Day will be held on 12 June 2017 at the site of Michelangelo Pistoletto’s “Rebirth” sculpture at the Palais des Nations, in the Cour d’Honneur in Parc l’Ariana. This event will take place during the 106th Session of the International Labour Conference. It is organized in collaboration with the United Nations Office, Geneva and Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto.

The event will start at 1:30 p.m. and will include:


  • Michael Møller, Director-General of the United Nations Office, Geneva
  • Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General
  • Jacqueline Mugo, Spokesperson for the Employers’ Group, ILO
  • Luc Cortebeeck, Chair of the Workers’ Group, ILO
  • Michelangelo Pistoletto, Artist, founder of Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto
  • Marilena Viviani, Director, UNICEF Geneva Liaison Office
  • Shahrzad Tadjbakhsh, Deputy Director, UNHCR Division of International Protectio.

Testimonies and performances by:

  • Abbas Ahmad Assi, Student, volunteer (NGO Beyond) and advocate (National Podium Against Child Labour) from Lebanon
  • Emtithal Mahmoud, UNHCR High Profile Supporter, World Poetry Champion
  • School children from Collège du Léman and the International School of Geneva, Campus des Nations, and children’s appeals (from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar, Syria and Uganda)

Master of Ceremonies: Beate Andrees, Chief, ILO Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work Branch.

A new video feature, on the theme of World Day Against Child Labour will soon be available here .

UN Geneva correspondents as well as ILC-accredited journalists are welcome to attend the event.


More than 25 events will be taking place around the world in support of the 2017 World Day Against Child Labour, including in Rome hosted by FAO.

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