State Minister of Child Affairs Rosy Senanayake recently sought assistance from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to help eradicate domestic child labour in Sri Lanka.
The State Minister met with Global Action Programme Project Director Bijoy Raychaudri to discuss the way forward for Sri Lanka’s child labour policy. The meeting took place at the Child Affairs Ministry and was also attended by National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) Chairperson Natasha Balendra and representatives from UNESCO and other ministries.
The State Minister stressed that the government would adopt a zero tolerance policy on domestic child labour in strict accordance with the ILO’s international guidelines that are followed by governments around the world. Additionally the need for eradicating the commercial sexual exploitation of children was also discussed at length. Sri Lanka’s booming tourism industry was identified as an area that needs to regularly be monitored in this regard.
At the meeting, Rosy Senanayake suggested forming a Research Advisory Group (RAG) in collaboration with the Ministries of Justice, Child Affairs, Labour, Social Services and Health, in order to eradicate child labour and to ensure that Sri Lankan children receive the highest standards of protection. The State Minister sought the ILO’s guidance and requested for the organisation to provide technical assistance to support the inter-ministerial body.
In regards to the commercial exploitation of children in Sri Lanka, the Child Affairs Ministry will follow the methodology that has been developed by the ILO to gather necessary statistics. All efforts will commence following a formal request from the government. The State Minister also requested for Balendra to take the necessary steps to formally commence the initiative.
Commenting on the ILO’s most recent efforts in Sri Lanka, a representative from the ILO office stated, “The Second Sri Lanka Child Activity Survey conducted in 2008/09 has been supported by the ILO/IPEC under a specific global project, to enhance the national capacity of data collection, analysis and dissemination in regards to child abuse in Sri Lanka.”
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