ILO Calls for Promoting Decent Work in West Bank, Ending Child Labour
Photo by IISD/ENB | Sean Wu
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The ILO released a report that examines employment and labour market conditions and rights of workers in the occupied Arab territories.

On World Day Against Child Labour, ILO called for ending child labour on World World Day Against Child Labour.

12 June 2017: In preparation for the 106th session of its International Labour Conference, the International Labour Organization (ILO) has highlighted the promotion of decent work and protection against child labour. Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8 (decent work and economic growth) focuses on promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable growth and full and productive employment and decent work for all, and includes a target to end child labour in all its forms by 2025.

The 2017 edition of ‘The Situation of Workers of the Occupied Arab territories’ urges the promotion and application of decent work and social justice as a cornerstone of the peace effort in the West Bank. The report identifies a stalled peace process, constraints on economic activity and movement, and a longstanding blockade of the Gaza Strip as critical elements of continued deterioration of the everyday reality of working women and men and their families in the occupied Arab territories. In a foreword to the report, ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, states, “The harsh reality facing all efforts to strengthen the Palestinian labour market is the control that the occupation exercises over the Palestinian borders and the access to land, water and natural resources” with space to farm and work “severely constrained.”

The report describes the overall economic and labour market situation as “suffocating,” noting the situation is “particularly dire” for Palestinians living in Gaza, which is sealed off by land, air and sea, preventing Gazans from moving elsewhere for work. According to the report, over 25% of the Palestinian labour force is unemployed, with youth employment over 40% and less than 20% of women engaged in the workforce. In Gaza, unemployment is over 40% with 60% of youth remaining jobless. The report stresses “no other indicators mirror the vulnerable situation of Palestinian livelihoods as dramatically as those related to the labour market,” stating that “pervasive” unemployment in the occupied Palestinian Territory is more than twice the regional average and higher than any other country in the Middle East and North Africa. The report concludes that current economic growth in both the West Bank and Gaza is insufficient to improve livelihoods.

The International Labour Conference is discussing an ILO Recommendation on Employment and Decent World for Peace and Resilience, which calls for action against child labour that arises from conflicts or disasters.

In another development at the crossroads between conflicts and labour isues, on World Day Against Child Labour, celebrated annually on 12 June, the ILO highlighted the impact of conflicts and disasters on child labour. ILO works to prevent and withdraw children from labour and enroll them in education, with a focus on children formerly associated with armed groups. The 106th session of the International Labour Conference is discussing an ILO Recommendation on Employment and Decent World for Peace and Resilience, which calls for action against child labour that arises from conflicts or disasters.

ILO is a member of Alliance 8.7, a global strategic partnership committed to achieving SDG Target 8.7, to “take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms.” The Alliance focuses on achieving Target 8.7 while recognizing synergies between progress on SDG 8 and SDGs 1 (end poverty), 4 (quality education), 5 (gender equality), 10 (reduced inequalities) and 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions).

The annual ILO report on the situation of workers of the occupied Arab territories was submitted to the 106th session of the ILO’s International Labour Conference, which is taking place from 5-16 June 2017. Other reports submitted to the Conference include a report that calls for greening production in a changing climate. [ILO Press Release on Decent Work for Palestinians] [ILO Press Release on Child Labour] [The Situation of Workers of the Occupied Arab territories] [Alliance 8.7 Website] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on ILO Report on Greening Production]


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