SZW: Toespraak minister De Vries

Nr. 99/101
9 juni 1999

9 juni 1999 tot
17.00 uur

Minister De Vries:.Ergste vormen kinderarbeid uitbannen.

Minister De Vries van Sociale Zaken en Werkgelegenheid heeft op de 87e vergadering van de International Labour Organization (ILO) in Genève de aangesloten landen opgeroepen de verklaring over het verbieden en uitbannen van de ergste vormen van kinderarbeid te onderschrijven. De minister wees erop dat internationale concurrentie weliswaar in grote delen van de wereld economische groei en meer welvaart kan brengen, maar dat deze ontwikkeling eveneens een vernietigende race naar de laagste arbeidskosten in de hand kan werken. Met alle mensonterende gevolgen van dien, zoals kinderarbeid. Hij ziet in een herziening van het begrip sociale politiek voor veel landen de oplossing om het tij te keren.

Statement by the minister for Social Affairs and Employment of the kingdom of the Netherlands Mr K.G. de Vries to the 87th session of the International Labour Conference on 9 June, 1999 in Geneva.

Let me start by congratulating the ILO on its 80th anniversary. Ever since its foundation in the year 1919, the ILO has been of great significance for the developments of labour relations in the world. I hope and expect that the ILO will continue to play this prominent role. The challenge is to safeguard and improve the social dimension of a globalizing economy.

The on-going liberalization of trade and the free flow of capital leads to increased economic growth and greater prosperity in many parts of the world. But there are dangers and drawbacks. International competition sometimes can turn into a devastating race for the lowest labour costs. This puts national systems of social protection under pressure and leads to unacceptable phenomena such as child labour and bonded labour. Furthermore, all over the world, the risks of economic and monetary instability are increasing.

Can we control those risks? In an increasing number of countries and organizations the awareness is growing that the answer to this question has to be found in a fundamental re-assessment of the meaning of social policy. A sound social policy is a prerequisite for political stability. Adequate social protection can help to enhance a country.s capability to adjust. Social stability is crucial for a good investment climate.
In short: economic policies and social policies do not oppose each other, but rather enhance each other. Social policy improves economic performance.

I am pleased to see that this point of view is clearly apparent in .Decent Work., the excellent report of the Director General. The ILO is the only global forum where employers, employees and government authorities alike are represented. Because of this, the ILO is in the unique position to give form and content to the social dialogue in the world. If we use this position as we should, the ILO will become an excellent platform - along with the IMF, the World Bank and the OECD - for discussing the international economic order.

In this respect, I mention the Declaration on the fundamental principles and rights at work. I agree with the Director-General that we need to come to terms with the proper follow-up mechanism. The Declaration on the fundamental principles and rights at work deserves our permanent attention. We must maintain the momentum. The revision of standards is another item where we need to come to a conclusion.

Let me now turn to the most important topic of this ILO session, the struggle against Child Labour.

Child labour

I hope and expect that this Conference will adopt a Convention and Recommendation on the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour. The continued incidence of these forms of child labour all over the world is of great concern to me. Child slavery, child prostitution or harmful and dangerous working conditions for children are grave and unacceptable offences against basic human rights. We have to put an end to this abuse of children. The new convention on the worst forms of child labour must be ratified and actively implemented by as many ILO members as possible.

The Convention and Recommendation does not replace, but rather complement existing instruments against child labour such as ILO-convention 138 on minimum age. The Convention should create action-oriented and unequivocal obligations to ILO Members. It should provide for the immediate prohibition of the worst forms of child labour and should define these forms explicitly.

Furthermore, the Convention should specify the measures required for the effective and immediate elimination of these worst forms of child labour. Emphasis should be put on the rehabilitation of childworkers including preventive measures and the simultaneous provision of adequate alternatives. Governments should work closely with employers, workers, and other parties, in particular NGOs and the civil society at large at a national and regional level.

In addition to national action, the role of the international community and in particular the ILO and its International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) are to be emphasized. Also the Convention should promote that ILO members assist one another in the implementation of the Convention.

I hereby call on ILO members to help one another in the effective eradication of the worst forms of child labour. The new Convention should become one of ILOs Core Labour Standards and its ratification should be subject to monitoring by the Governing Body in the context of the promotional campaign on the ratification of Core Labour Standards.


09 jun 99 17:00

Deel: ' Minister De Vries 'Ergste vormen kinderarbeid uitbannen' '

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