Myanmar is taking steps to implement its child labour eradication program as part of efforts to secure a better future for the children in the country, which has 1.1 million children below 18 years of age engaged in labour and more than 600,000 children working in vulnerable situations.
At the second meeting of the Myanmar National Committee on Child Labour Eradication, Vice President U Myint Swe said, “Approval for the national-level work program (draft) of the Myanmar Child Labour Eradication Project will be sought in this meeting and the project will be implemented.”
The Vice President made the remarks in his capacity as the Chairman of the committee at the meeting held at the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, and Population in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday.
He also urged the members of the committee to discuss the work program against child labour, which is relevant to the situation in Myanmar and can bring about vocational training and educational opportunities, and help alleviate poverty.
According to the Labour Force Survey 2015, there are over 12 million children below 18 years of age in Myanmar. Of these, over 1.1 million are working as child labourers, while over 600,000 are working in a vulnerable situation.
“To provide protection to our children working in dangerous situations, we need to implement the national-level child labour eradication project,” said the Vice President.
The 37-member Myanmar National Committee on Child Labour Eradication, led by the Vice President (1), was formed by Notification No. 23/2018 dated 5 February 2018 from the Office of the President.
Youth of working age make up about 18 per cent, or about 1 billion, of the world’s population. They are all facing the adverse effects of differences in the economic, social, technological, and cultural environment in countries within a region and in the society.
Globally, there are about 152 million children aged between 5 and 17 years. Of these, 7.4 per cent live in the Asia-Pacific region, and about 70.9 per cent work in the agricultural sector. About 73 million of these children are working in dangerous places.
About 85 per cent of the world’s youth live in developing countries, and 60 per cent are in the Asian region. The youth and children’s development sectors are important in determining the future of a country and are valuable resources for a country.
“Youth and children who support the production resources are employed in most developing countries, especially in a developing country like Myanmar. The practice is connected to poverty and many people can be seen using child labour,” said the Vice President.
Children and youth who are unable to complete their education enter the workforce at a young age and end up getting exploited in most developing countries. Many take up work because of food insufficiency due to natural disasters from climate change as well as the existence of poverty and migration due to internal conflicts and socio-economic hardships.
Like other regional ASEAN countries, Myanmar has ratified the International Labour Organisation’s Convention 182 on the worst forms of child labour, and has been cooperating with the ILO and the UNICEF on this front.
A tripartite agreement under the Decent Work Country Program between the government, employers, and employees was also signed by the International Labour Organization and the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, and Population.
The program includes child labour issues under the title of job opportunities, labour rights, and social security.
Yesterday’s meeting was attended by Union ministers Lt-Gen Kyaw Swe, Lt-Gen Ye Aung, Dr. Than Myint, U Thein Swe, Dr. Win Myat Aye, U Khin Maung Cho, and Nai Thet Lwin, Union Attorney-General U Tun Tun Oo, chief ministers of the regions and states, representatives of the employers, employees, and labour unions.
The participants of the meeting discussed topics included in the work programme, child labour issues, investigations into child labour issues, providing opportunities for vocational training to children who are at risk of becoming child labourers, and rehabilitation.