VIENTIANE, June 14 (Vientiane Times/ANN): Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh has called for everyone across the nation to understand the issues surrounding child labour and to make sure that children are given appropriate forms of work.
Phankham made the call in a message to mark World Day Against Child Labour, which has been observed annually on June 12 since 2002.
“It’s important to understand the context of child labour and why the prohibition of child labour has been encouraged by the international community, ” he said.
“However, it’s impossible to absolutely prohibit children from working, ” he added.
The prime minister explained that child labour referred to the use of or forcing children to work, which is against the law.
In Laos, the Labour Law stipulates that it is illegal to force children to work for more than 18 hours a day, and in hazardous areas such as construction, mining, jobs involving chemicals, alcohol substances and gambling, among others, as it can affect their physical and mental health.
The prime minister also reminded everyone that it is illegal to force children under the age of 14 to leave school and abandon childhood activities so they can work.
But helping with household chores and earning a living in a family business during holidays could not be considered child labour and did not affect their studies or physical and mental development.
Prime Minister Phankham also spoke about the situation of children in many countries, including Laos, where development goals had not been reached, with one of the reasons being the use of child labour.
He referred to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which revealed that some 215 million children around the world are exposed to heavy work, which harmed their health, affected their physical growth, mental development and mental health, and impeded their ability to learn and achieve a decent level of education.
With this in mind, the Party and government have devised policies, strategies, laws and regulations to protect children and young people, aiming to eliminate the use of child labour.
Laos is a party to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and has ratified the ILO Convention on the Minimum Age for Admission to Employment and Work, and the Convention on Prohibition and Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour.
Phankham highlighted an outstanding event this year when members of the United Nations designated 2021 as International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour.
This was an important milestone in implementing plans targeting the Millennium Development Goals and Sustainable Development Strategy, especially the goal to end child labour by 2025 and ending forced labour in 2030.
On behalf of the government, Phankham called on all public and private sectors and organisations in Laos and overseas that cooperated with Laos to disseminate these goals and put them into practice.
He also asked for cooperation and support, both in terms of expertise and facilities, to help eliminate the worst forms of child labour and hasten the day when everyone was employed in decent work. - Vientiane Times/ANN