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Transforming Society

Securing Rights

Restoring Dignity

Child labour is exploitative and violates the rights of the child

Media Statement:

Attention: Editors and Reporters

Monday, 12 June 2017

The South African Human Rights Commission (the Commission) recognises and commemorates World Day Against Child Labour on 12 June 2017.  

World Day Against Child Labour was launched by the ILO on 12 June 2002 to focus attention on the global extent of child labour and the action and efforts needed to eliminate it.
Almost 600 000 children were reportedly engaged in labour in 2015 in South Africa, with children aged 16-17 years more likely to be engaged in child labour than the other age groups and Black African children more likely to be involved in child labour when compared to other population groups.[1]  

Globally, it is understood that 168 million children are engaged in child labour, most of whom live in areas affected by conflict and disaster. Thus the focus for the 2017 World Day Against Child Labour is on the impact of conflicts and disasters on child labour. Thus the focus for the 2017 World Day Against Child Labour is on the impact of conflicts and disasters on child labour.

Child Labour is work that is inappropriate with respect to the number of hours, and the conditions under which it is performed; work which deprives children of their livelihood, potential and dignity; and which interferes with or deprives children of education.  

The ILO has identified domestic work, agriculture, commercial sexual exploitation, and mining as sectors of specific concern with respect to child labour. The SAHRC’s 2015 National Investigative Hearing On Unregulated Artisanal Mining found children are often used to carry out mining in un-rehabilitated and unregulated mines.

Section 28 of the Constitution specifically protects children from exploitative labour practices, from work that is inappropriate for a child’s age, and work that puts the child’s education and physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development at risk.  

Children under the age of 15, are protected by Section 43 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act in that it is a criminal offence to employ a child under the age of 15, except if you have a permit from the Department of Labour to employ children in the performing arts.

The Commission is therefore committed to the protection of the rights of children, especially girl children who may not be encumbered by formal employment and work, however carry a heavy social responsibility in having to tend to excessive household chores and the care of younger siblings.

During this month, June 2017, Youth Month, when South Africa remembers the sacrifices of the youth of 1976, the Commission has launched a Child Friendly Complaints Handling Process. This will enable children to lodge complaints related to their human rights violations. In terms of the Commission’s Constitutional mandate, as set out in Section 184 of the Constitution, of promoting human rights, the Commission has also dedicated child friendly spaces in all nine Provincial Offices to provide a safe environment for children to lodge their complaints.

Ends

Issued by the South African Human Rights Commission

Gail Smith – Spokesperson Tel: 0609883792 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Gushwell Brooks – Communications Co-ordinator Tel: 082 645 8573 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The South African Human Rights Commission.

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About us

The Human Rights Commission is the national institution established to support constitutional democracy. It is committed to promote respect for, observance of and protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour.

Braampark Forum 3, 33 Hoofd Street, Braamfontein

011 877 3600 (Switchboard)

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