Ratification of Child-Labor Pact Proceeds Apace

VATICAN CITY, MAY 26, 2004 (Zenit.org).- L’Osservatore Romano reported the ratification by 150 countries of the International Convention Against Child Labor.

The semiofficial Vatican newspaper in its Italian edition today added that this convention “might be the first in reaching the goal of a universal ratification by the 177 member states of the International Labor Organization.”

With the adherence of Kyrgyzstan, announced in Geneva on Monday, Convention No. 182, tentatively adopted in 1999, has received 150 ratifications. “No ILO convention had been ratified by so many countries in such a short time,” the newspaper noted.

The convention provides a legal base for national action against the worst forms of child labor and, in particular, against those that weaken the physical or psychological health of minors, as well as the well-being of children and adolescents. It also combats illegal activities such as prostitution, pornography and drug trafficking.

A recent ILO report stated that 246 million children and adolescents worldwide — one out of six between ages 5 and 17 — are obliged to work. Of these, 179 million are employed in the worst forms of child labor, the report said.