Partnership launched to combat worst forms of child labour in Iraq


A partnership to tackle the worst forms of child labour among Syrian refugees, internally displaced persons and vulnerable host community members in Iraq was launched by International Labour Organization (ILO) and European Regional Development and Protection Programme for Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq (RDPP II).

Years of conflict, displacement and destruction of infrastructure have increased the vulnerability of children in Iraq to child labour, with around 7% of children between the ages of 5 to 17 engaged in various forms of child labour.

The project will be implemented by the ILO through close coordination with the government and in partnership with a number of local civil society organisations as well as other UN agencies in Iraq.

The project is supported by the European Regional Development Protection Programme (RDPP II) – a joint European initiative by the Czech Republic, Denmark, the European Union, Ireland and Switzerland.

“Our partnership with the ILO aims to support Government institutions and specialized local NGOs to jointly address the drivers of child labour,” stated Vincenzo Schiano Lomoriello, RDPP Project Manager.

“This approach encourages the engagement of partners in both piloting local solutions to curb child labour more efficiently, and in designing strategies to ensure the policy framework further protect children.”

The ILO and national partners will work closely to pilot a Child Labour Monitoring System to identify vulnerable children at risk of or already in child labour and refer them to the relevant actors to receive the needed support.

They will also ensure that vulnerable children have access to tailored formal and non-formal education. This will include the ILO’s SCREAM (Supporting Children’s Rights through Education, the Arts and the Media) programme, which helps educators worldwide promote understanding and awareness of child labour among young people.

Guardians and older siblings above the minimum age of employment will be supported to access employment services, livelihoods opportunities and informal apprenticeships to support their resilience and avoid resorting to negative coping mechanisms.

“Child Labour is a longstanding issue in Iraq for a number of reasons, including conflict and poverty,” said MahaKattaa, ILO Iraq Country Coordinator.

“An effective child labour monitoring system is critical to facilitate the identification, withdrawal, referral and rehabilitation of vulnerable children through coordinated efforts with all partners involved.”

On the policy level, a National Action Plan Against Child Labour will be developed in close consultation with tripartite constituents, including the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, to ensure better protection for vulnerable children and families from the worst forms of child labour.

Iraq has ratified all key international conventions on child labour, namely the ILO Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) , the ILO Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) and the United Nations Convention for the Rights of the Child, which are central to the fight against child labour. (Source: Relief Web)