Thank you, Chair.
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Candidate Countries Montenegro* and Albania*, the EFTA country Norway, member of the European Economic Area, as well as the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this statement.
The EU and its Member States are committed to the promotion, protection, respect and fulfilment of human rights, including labour rights, together with freedom of association and the abolition of forced, compulsory and/or child labour.
We actively promote the universal ratification and enforcement of fundamental international labour standards, including ILO Convention 182 on the abolition of the worst forms of child labour. We support the ILO in its indispensable role to develop, promote and supervise the application of international labour standards and of fundamental Conventions in particular.
We thank the Office and give our full support for its constant engagement in promoting labour rights in Kiribati; equal treatment and elimination of discrimination and forced and child labour.
We note with deep regret the reported persistence of child labour, also in its worst forms, particularly the prostitution of underage children and the commercial sexual exploitation of children. The government must step up its efforts to eradicate these worst forms of child labour.
We support the Committee of Expert’s observations, and we urge the Government to take the necessary measures to ensure that persons contravening the Employment and Industrial Relations Code (EIRC) that prohibits the use, procuring or offering of a child for prostitution are investigated and prosecuted. We also call on the Government to supply information on the number of violations identified, prosecutions and convictions, and the penalties imposed.
The EU and its Member States welcome the provision of expanded counselling and guidance in resolving problems related to commercial sexual exploitation of children, as well as awareness-raising activities by the Ministry of Women, Youth, Sports and Social Affairs (MWYSSA). We welcome the reported decrease of the number of girls working in kava bars.
We urge the Government to continue to take all the necessary measures to prevent the engagement of children in commercial sexual exploitation, and to take the necessary steps to remove children from this worst form of child labour, to rehabilitate and integrate them socially and economically and to provide compulsory and free education at the primary and secondary levels for all children. We request the Government to provide information on the aforementioned, as well as on the number of children under 18 years of age who have actually been removed from commercial sexual exploitation and provided with appropriate care and assistance.
With reference to child labour related ILO Minimum Age Convention No. 138, we welcome that Kiribati is one of the 173 ILO countries, which have already ratified this crucial convention, despite the specific challenges of small island states. We hope that this positive example of Kiribati’s ratification encourages the remaining 14 ILO member states to also proceed towards ratifying this important Convention in order to achieve universal ratification. We call on the Government to develop its legislation and ensure its effective enforcement with the view to eliminating child labour, including in the informal economy.
The EU and its Member States will continue to support the Government of Kiribati in this endeavour.
Thank you Chair.
 *Montenegro and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.