European Union External Action

EU working to end child labour and get more children into school

13/06/2017 - 15:52

Combatting child labour, getting more children into education and strengthening the systems that protect children are top priorities for the EU.

Marking the World Day Against Child Labour on 12 June, High Representative Federica Mogherini issued together with her fellow Commissioners responsible for development, humanitarian aid and crisis management, migration, justice and gender equality as well as employment and social affairs a joint statement reaffirming the EU's commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development's target to end child labour in all its forms by 2025.

 "Across the world, hundreds of millions of children who should be in school are forced to work, often in dangerous conditions," read the statement. The EU is taking concrete steps to advance children's rights around the globe. Examples include the provision of over €700 million to provide access to education for children displaced by the Syria crisis. In the Philippines, we support a community-based approach in combatting child labour in hazardous industries such as sugarcane plantations and mining. In Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Palestinian Territories, Sudan and Lebanon we support actions to help children associated with armed forces, groups and gangs who've suffered from violence.

Initiatives such as the ‘Better Migration Management’ project provide specialised protection of unaccompanied and separated minors. Systems of birth registration which the EU supports for example in Mozambique and Niger, make it easier to effectively enforce compulsory education and labour rights. 

As part of its integrated approach, the EU works closely with international organisations, with the United Nations' agencies, in particular UNICEF, and relevant Civil Society Organisations in order to promote children's rights. We welcome the IV Global Conference on Child Labour to be held in Argentina from 14-16 November 2017 as an important opportunity to agree on effective and urgent plans to achieve the sustainable elimination of all forms of child labour by 2025.