Sri Lanka ready to share expertise with ILO in its efforts in preventing child labour

04 06 2018 107thILC

'Sustained, inclusive and sustainable growth' could hardly be realized without properly addressing the inequalities in the world of work', stated the Minister of Labour and Trade Union Relations Hon. Ravindra Samaraweera, today, 4th June 2018, speaking at the Plenary Meeting of the 107th Session of the International Labour Conference (ILC) being held in Geneva from 28 May - 9 June 2018.

04 06 2018 image 2 107thILC

Highlighting some of the significant achievements made by Sri Lanka in the field of labour, Minister Samaraweera observed that being the first country in the world to implement a National Decent Work Plan on par with ILO principles, Sri Lanka has also given priority to 'labour rights', through its inclusion in the National Human Rights Action Plan 2017-2021. He added further that Sri Lanka is in the process of introducing a 'single employment law', consolidating disparate laws that currently exist, and giving effect to the principle of non-discrimination. Sri Lanka, the Minister stressed, has also made strides in progress toward eliminating child labour, and promoting the rights of the child, offering to share its expertise in this area to support the endeavours of the ILO. 

The Minister also emphasized the need to consider practical measures including ‘flexible working hours’, creating a positive atmosphere for women to join the labour market, thereby increasing productivity. He noted the important role that trade unions could play in making workers understand the changing global work environment. Stressing the need to break through stereotypes to achieving gender equality, he called for a change of attitudes and awareness raising across all strata of society.

During his discussion with Director General of ILO Mr. Guy Ryder, Minister expressed Sri Lanka’s interest to be at the forefront of ILO’s global and regional efforts, along with other relevant stakeholders, in striving towards eliminating child labour and forced labour. In this connection, he assured Sri Lanka’s fullest support for declaring year 2021 as the Year of Elimination of Child Labour and expressed willingness to become a “Pathfinder Country” of Alliance 8.7. Sri Lanka is currently considering the ratification of ILO Protocol 29 to the Forced Labour Convention.

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The Director General of ILO, welcoming the Minister and his delegation, noted that Sri Lanka is an important partner for ILO work with a positive working relationship. He expressed deep appreciation for Sri Lanka’s ongoing efforts in promoting labour rights, in particular eliminating child labour. In this context, Mr Ryder recalled pledges made by Sri Lanka at the IV Global Conference on Sustained Eradication of Child Labour in Buenos Aires in November 2017, including to raise the minimum age of employment from 14 to 16. He also requested Sri Lanka to be actively involved in the Centenary Celebration activities of the ILO in 2019.

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Minister Samaraweera was accompanied by Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in Geneva Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez, Commissioner General of Labour Mr. R.P.A. Wimalaweera, Deputy Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka Mrs. Samantha Jayasuriya, Ms. Shashika Somaratne, Minister Counsellor, Mr. B. Vasanthan, Senior Assistant Secretary of Ministry of Labour and Trade Union Relations and other senior officials.

Full Statement by the Minister of Labour and Trade Union Relations 

Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka


4th June 2018

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