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Durban to host international conference to tackle child labour

President Cyril Ramaphosa will open a global conference in Durban aimed at helping to eliminate child labour. File photo.
President Cyril Ramaphosa will open a global conference in Durban aimed at helping to eliminate child labour. File photo.
Image: Amanda Khoza

A global conference to help find ways to eliminate child labour will be held in Durban this month.

This is the first time the global conference on the elimination of child labour will be held in Africa. According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) more than 160-million children are labourers. More than a third of them are out of school.

Agriculture is said to account for the largest share of child labour worldwide.

“The time is opportune for the global community to converge on African soil to find solutions that will help our continent, in particular, to deal with the reported highest prevalence and largest number of working children,” employment and labour minister Thulas Nxesi said.

The conference will take place at Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (ICC) in Durban from May 15-20.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to open the conference. He will share the stage with Southern African Development Community chairperson and Malawian President Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, ILO director-general Guy Ryder and Argentina President Alberto Ángel Fernández Pérez (virtual).

The conference will be attended by ILO constituents, international and regional organisations, civil society organisations, research institutions, foundations, individual experts and Nobel laureates.

“After the devastating natural disaster that befell KwaZulu-Natal and Durban in past weeks, it is important that we hold the conference in eThekwini as a show of support and solidarity with the people of the province and SA.

“As part of that show of solidarity, the conference organisers took a decision to forgo the usual social events,” Nxesi said.

He said the resources which could have been used for social events will be donated to victims of floods.

More than 4,000 delegates, half of whom will attend in person, are expected to discuss good practices, identify gaps and the urgent measures needed to help child labourers.

The ILO describes the term “child labour” as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development. It refers to work that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children and/or interferes with their schooling.


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