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European Commission - Statement

Joint Statement on the occasion of the World Day Against Child Labour

Brussels, 12 June 2015

On the occasion of the World Day Against Child Labour, Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission, Neven Mimica, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility and Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality and made the following statement:

Child labour not only condemns children today and future generations to lives of poverty and social injustice, but is depriving the entire world of an invaluable capital of knowledge, resourcefulness and creativity. Around 168 million children aged 5-17 are in child labour[1] and this is by no means limited to the poorest countries. Even in developed economies, the economic crisis has created an environment in which more and more children and minors give up on school.But no child should have to sacrifice their childhood and education to provide for their family or indeed to ensure their own survival.

Access to quality education and childcare is the best investment that can be made and is a prerequisite for breaking cycles of inter-generational poverty. Continuing in its steadfast engagement to tackle the root causes, from poverty to conflicts, the EU will continue to invest heavily in education and pursue its efforts to ensure all children in all settings have access to quality education.

This applies all the more to children around the world who are suffering the unjust consequences of conflicts that further diminish their chance of an education and decent life. This is why the EU finances projects such as the EU Children of Peace Initiative, which aims specifically at promoting education projects in emergencies, targeting children affected by humanitarian emergencies.

Child labour is one of the greatest barriers to achieving the international development goal of universal primary education. The elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including children and armed conflict, will remain our priority for the period 2014-2020.

[1] ILO-IPEC: Marking progress against child labour – Global estimates and trends 2000-2012 (Geneva, ILO, 2013).

STATEMENT/15/5177

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