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Brasilia Declaration, signed by 153 countries participating in the 3rd Global Conference on Child Labour, ratifies goals and establishes the commitment of governments to accelerate actions to combat the exploitation of children and adolescents

Brasilia, October 10, 2013 – A global pact to accelerate the fight against the exploitation of children and adolescents labor marked the closing of the 3rd Global Conference on Child Labour, on Thursday (10) in Brasilia. The 153 nations that attended the meeting signed the “Brasilia Declaration on Child Labour”, a document that consolidates the main results of the 70-640 Conference. Among the commitments made are exchanges between the countries, the fight against poverty, investment in education and job security, and the pursuit for reducing inequalities, creating specific legislation and political courage to move forward in tackling child labor.

The countries have ratified the goal of eliminating the worst forms of child labor by 2016, as well as the eradication of all forms of child labor, welcoming the report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and assuming the goal to advance the fight against child labor. The nations committed themselves also to participate in the next Global Conference, which will be held in Argentina in 2017. The closing table was attended by the Director General of the International Labor Organization (ILO), Guy Ryder, and the Brazilian ministers of Foreign Affairs, Luiz Alberto Figueiredo Machado, Social Development and Fight Against Hunger, Tereza Campello, and Labor and Employment, Manoel Dias.

The Minister Luiz Alberto Figueiredo Machado said the outcome of the Conference was much broader than the drafting of the Brasilia Declaration, although the text is essential to boost the fight against child labor. The Minister assesses the real4exam Brasilia Declaration as the result of a long process of drafting that was done in several steps, some of them held in Geneva, in addition to various understandings entered into during the three days of the Conference. “A flexibility effort has led us to have a final text that celebrates mainly youth, protecting the young and the child.”

The Director-General of the ILO, Guy Ryder, said the political will on tackling child labor has been growing within the countries. “Today we have progressed, achieving a better understanding about what works and what does not,” he compares. And issued the challenge: “which number will we talk about in 2017? These 168 million children and adolescents who are still in child labor are in our minds. We need to get that number as close to zero as possible,” he said. Ryder believes Brazil will be one of the countries that will be successful in eradicating child labor by the next global conference.
For the representative of the Global March Against Child Labour, Kailash Satyarthi, the Brasilia Declaration “will help and serve as a tool to help bring change to the governments.” He said that the conference elected six priority themes on which the countries’ efforts should focus: education, employment, law enforcement, economics, ecology and ethics. “We have to answer these questions and hopefully not forget this.”

Octavio Carbajal, employers’ representative, said that we have to attack the bases, the reasons that lead to child labor, such as poverty, lack of proper education and the limitations of the labor market. “Job creation is the best action, satisfying the needs of families so that order is established,” he stated. Representing workers, Jeroen Beirnaert, from the International Trade Union Confederation, said that when there are good and effective labor unions, there is no child labor. “We have to reach those families among which there is still child labor in solidarity so that families are not forced to send their children to work.” And he added: “Let us report and denounce.”

Before the official closing, the former president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, attended a session and reminded those present about the 85 million children and adolescents in the country that are still subjected to child labor in its worst forms. “They are those who expose themselves working in charcoal manufacturing, salt production, mines and digs. They work with ovens, distilleries and explosives. They are children and adolescents who become direct victims of prostitution. Not to mention thousands of children who are recruited to participate in wars. Each one has a life story that is as short as cruel,” he said.

Lula mentioned that unfair political circumstances and cultural reasons lead to child labor, but that poverty and hunger are key factors to this reality. “The map of child labor in the world coincides closely with the map of hunger and misery. The statistics of children and adolescents who work fits the 870 million hungry people in the world,” he compared. The former president stressed the importance of actions to promote health, education, culture and sports, in addition to the improvement of the laws to protect children. He also reinforced the need to consolidate democracy and put in the budget the amount that will be allocated to actions to combat child labor. “There is nothing impossible, provided you have the determination to do it.”

Adolescents Declaration – Closing the Global Conference, Brazilian adolescents showed the activities performed during the three days of debate. They, who are engaged from the preparation of the event, presented what they want in a different way: they created newsletters, produced a video and a radio program.
In addition, they also composed their own Declaration, which asks: “mobilization and coordination of government and civil society, particularly against domestic and agriculture work; income transfer; governments’ commitment to ensure the participation of children and adolescents in education and sport, health and social care, and the assurance of youth participation in policies decision-making, especially in the next global conference, from preparation.”