1- Responsible consumption
Watch out for sanctions and boycotts !
Trade sanctions and threats of consumer boycotts may have done much to raise awareness about child labor, but often they resulted in unintended
consequences that have not always been good for children.
2- Making a commitment as a private citizen
Our power as citizens is just as effective or even more so than our power of consumption. Our commitment can take several forms: better inform ourselves, raise awareness among those around us, encourage others to become aware of the scale of child exploitation around the world, volunteer with organizations that work against child labor, etc.
In this regard, CCI offers several opportunities for involvement, such as our programme Jeunes engagé.es et solidaires avec les enfants du monde (JESEM) (Committed young persons working together with the children of the world) to offer young people the opportunity to become leaders in their communities by committing to the children of the world. Find out how to participate here
1- The responsibility of the State
The State has an obligation to protect the public from human rights violations. Thus, it is the government that has the responsibility and the duty to ensure that the rights of the child are respected at all levels, including by Canadian multinational companies and industries operating or sourcing from abroad. However, some governments are prepared to tolerate cheap child labor
as a competitive advantage. On the other hand, while governments encourage
companies to meet international human rights standards in global supply
chains, sometimes that’s not enough.
2- The responsibility of private enterprise
Photo credit : United Nations
While States have an obligation to enforce human rights, companies should also
assess the measures that are in place at all steps of their supply chain. Companies must ensure that the measures in place (remuneration, safety and work climate, minimum age, etc.) comply with international standards. However, international human rights standards [such as described in the United
Nations’ Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNDP), the Principles
for Business in the Field of Child Rights established by UNICEF, or the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Guiding
Principles] being non-binding, some companies take them seriously, while others
completely ignore them.
Therefore, it is not sustainable to let corporations set and regulate corporate social and environmental responsibility measures on a voluntary basis. On this point, it is once again the role of States that is mainly in play: it is up to the governments to put in place laws or other really binding and effective instruments.
3- The work of organizations and the importance of supporting them
The approach to combating child labor has three components :
- Invest in stand-alone initiatives to prevent child labor exploitation and protect
- Strengthen education that takes gender and child protection systems into
- Support activities aimed at reducing the poverty and vulnerability of individuals, families and communities in the Global South, including women’s economic
empowerment; support for micro-enterprises; building resilience to climate change; and supporting social protection initiatives and decent work for all.
Thus, the work of organizations such as CCI continues to be vital in combating child labor and ensuring a better future for children and vulnerable communities.
Indeed, their work in partnership with local organizations helps address the root causes of child labor such as poverty, lack of access to basic services (such as education or health care) and the marginalization of individuals and populations. This is consistent with the main actions taken by CCI and its partners to combat child labor from a long-term perspective.
To learn more, discover the principles and methodologies behind CCI’s actions.
1- The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) build on the success of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and aim to go further to end all forms of
poverty. On 1 January 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – adopted by world
leaders in September 2015 at a historic United Nations Summit – entered into
force. Over the next few years, with these new goals that apply to all, countries
will mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, combat inequality and address climate change, ensuring that no one is left behind.
2- The Convention on the Rights of the Child
Since 1924, the rights of the child have been collected and protected by several
international texts and treaties. The International Convention on the Rights of the Child (CIDE)Convention internationale des droits de l’enfant or Convention on the Rights of the Child, is the most important of these. Indeed, it is the first legally binding international text
to enshrine all of the fundamental rights of the child. This is the reference text on the rights of the child. It is an international treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on November 20, 1989, and ratified by Canada in 1991. The Convention contains 54 articles and two Optional Protocols which enshrine all
the civil and political rights of children, as well as all their economic, social and cultural rights.
The rights of the child
Children’s rights are universal in the sense that they apply to all children,
regardless of their origin or situation. Each State must thus implement, according
to its own means, the rights common to all children.
The four fundamental principles of the rights of the child are non-discrimination;
priority given to the best interests of the child; the right to live, survive and
develop; and respect for the views of the child.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child sets out the fundamental rights of all
children in the world: the right to survival; the right to develop one’s self as best
as possible; the right to be protected from harmful influences, abuse and
exploitation; and full participation in family, cultural and social life.
All these rights are indivisible and interrelated. It is important that all rights be
respected in order to ensure the full development of children and adolescents. (Sources : UNICEF, Humanium)
3- Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labour (C 182)
In 1999, the International Labour Organization adopted the Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labour (or Convention 182).
It emphasizes the importance of a free basic education for children and the need
to remove them from the worst forms of work while ensuring their rehabilitation
and social integration.
4- The Convention on the Minimum Age for Admission to Employment
In 1973, the International Labour Organization adopted the Convention on the Minimum Age for Admission to Employment (or Convention 138) to set the legal
age for employment at 15. It aims to ensure that children do not leave school to
start work at too early an age. (Source: Government of Canada)