Pope Urges End to Abuse of Child Labor

VATICAN CITY, MAY 9, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II called for an end to child labor, saying it impedes millions of children worldwide from receiving a basic education.

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«Unfortunately, many children in the world are deprived of primary education and end up being used as manual laborers,» the Pope said today after praying the Regina Caeli with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

The Holy Father’s appeal took place on the eve of the World Congress of Children Against Child Labor, which will be held in Florence, Italy, from Monday until May 16.

«I hope this meeting will contribute to promote the concrete recognition of children’s rights,» the Pope said.

At the same time, he encouraged the work of Catholic schools — teachers, students and families — and called on every school «to continue with its valuable service in the formation of new generations.»

The congress against the abuse of child labor, organized by the Global March Against Child Labor, the Italian organization Mani Tese and labor unions.

Five hundred boys, ages 10 to 17, from all over the world will attend, to remind countries and international organizations of their responsibilities.

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