Message from Minister of Labour, Social Security and Third Sector, Colin E. Jordan, M.P., for World Day Against Child Labour – 12th June, 2023. Theme – “Social Justice for All. End Child Labour”.
Today, Barbados stands in solidarity with all right-thinking people across the globe to observe World Day Against Child Labour.
The elimination of child labour is a commitment made by all 187 member states of the International Labour Organization. Worldwide, millions of children are deprived of their childhood, education, and well-being, and are subjected to harmful work conditions. Experience has shown us that the injustice of child labour can be eliminated, if measures are taken to alleviate poverty, inequality and economic insecurity.
The political will of member countries and the concerted efforts of the International Labour Organization has allowed the world to witness significant progress in the elimination of child labour. However, in recent years, the pandemic, military conflicts and other crises have caused a reversal of some of these gains. The result is that many children across the world are forced to engage in work, as families were confronted with the real need to provide food and other basics needed for survival.
As a government, we believe that social justice should be the foundation of all we do, and that all Barbadians should have access to education, health care, economic opportunities, and fair pay for their work. We have restored access to education to the tertiary level, we have implemented a national minimum wage and we have created Regulations to support the Safety and Health at Work Act. These are instruments that serve to protect families, lift them out of poverty and eliminate the need for children to engage in work that hinders their education or places them in danger.
I encourage our business, worker and third sector partners to renew their commitment to promoting decent work – work that ensures adults can engage meaningfully and earn decent wages that can support their families.
Barbados reiterates its commitment to its children, our children – that commitment to ensure they can enjoy their school years in a safe and secure environment that nurtures and empowers them to fulfill their potential.
Fellow Barbadians, let us accelerate our actions – by eliminating child labour we pave the way for an equitable, just and safe world that protects the rights of every child.