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June 12th, the World Day Against Child LabourOn the occasion of June 12th, the World Day Against Child Labour, The First Children’s Embassy in the World Megjashi reminds that although Republic of Macedonia has ratified the Convention Against The Worst Forms of Child Labour, 7 years ago, the situation is still alarming.
The elementary and the high school are compulsory in Republic of Macedonia. Yet, over 18.500 children are not included in the system of education, and 2000 children minimum spend their childhood on the street, living out in the open and without parental care. These children are most frequently victims of child labour.

There are approximately 246 million of children at the age of 5-17, who are victims of child labour. Even more, around 186 million of them are under the age of 15. It’s defeating the fact that most of them, around 110 million are under the age of 12, working long hours and mostly in bad conditions.

Child labor means work of children under the legal age. We must mention that child labour does not only mean physical labor, but also economic and sexual abuse (child prostitution and pornography) child trafficking and child soldier.

The World Day Against Children Labour is celebrated worldwide with activities which purpose is to raise the public awareness of the problem of child labour and the need of conception and implementation of politics and activities for fighting against child labour. This year’s subject is “Education- the answer to child labour”.
The recommendations refer to:

§        Education for all children at least to the minimum age of employment.

§        Education policies that address child labour by provision of properly resourced quality education and skills training.

§        Education to promote awareness on the need to tackle child labour.

These targets cannot be met unless the factors that generate child labour and prevent poor families from sending children to school are addressed. Child labour is closely associated with poverty. Many poor families are unable to afford school fees or other school costs. The family may depend on the contribution that a working child makes to the household’s income, and place more importance on that than on education. And when a family has to make a choice between sending either a boy or girl to school, it is often the girl who loses out.

More than ever today, children need a good quality education and training if they are to acquire the skills necessary to succeed in the labour market. However, in many countries the schools which are accessible to the poor families are under-resourced and inadequate. Poor facilities, over-sized classes, and lack of trained teachers lead to low standards of education.

Thus, among the most important steps required are:

§        Provision of free and compulsory education;

§        tackling barriers to girls education;

§        ensuring that children have access to a school and a safe and quality learning environment;

§        providing catch up education opportunities for children and youth who have so far missed out on formal schooling;

§        tackling the worldwide shortage of teachers and ensuring a properly trained and professional teaching force;

§        enforcing laws on child labour and education in line with international standards;

§        tackling poverty, and creating decent work for adults;

§        Raising public awareness to tackle child labour.

We point out that the  UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention which refers to the prohibition of the worst forms of child labour, they both oblige Macedonia to protect the children form all kind of violence, abuse and neglect of their parents or guardian/s. The state should protect the children from dangerous work, or work which could imperil their health (article 19, 32, 36 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child). Children have right to dignified life and free education (article 27, 28 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child). Also, article 1 of the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, obliges Macedonia to undertake urgent and serious measures in order to provide prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour. The article 3 of this Convention explains that the worst forms of child labour are exactly the slavery, child trafficking, forced work, child prostitution, offering child for illegal activity, drugs production and distribution; or any work which is dangerous by nature for child’s health, safety and moral.  

Dragi Zmijanac M. Sc
Executive Director and Founder