DCI is an independent non-governmental
organisation set up during the International
Year of the Child (1979) to ensure
on-going, practical, systematic and
concerted international action
specially directed towards
promoting and protecting the
rights of the child.
The Child Labour Desk was created at the International Secretariat in January 2001 to reinforce DCI's action to prevent and eliminate the most hazardous forms of child labour and to protect all working children. The Child Labour Desk contributes to the international ideological and practice-related discussions on child labour from a children's rights perspective.
Child labour is an issue of great concern, which has received great attention in the international arena. Approximately 246 million children between 5 and 17 are engaged in child labour. There are about 186 million working children below 15 and 110 million below the age of 12. 171 million children aged 5-17 are estimated to be working in dangerous environments, exposed to hazardous conditions, machinery or substances (ILO, 2002). Many children are thus engaged in the worst forms of child labour, as defined in International Labour Organisation Convention No. 182, 1999.
For DCI-Child Labour Desk and DCI Sections, the worst forms of child labour are those that consistently undermine the child's right to physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development by compelling the child to work in conditions of isolation, abuse, excessive working hours, and exposure to hazardous working conditions and dangerous machinery and substances.
DCI's ideological contributions to international and national discussions on child labour have been numerous. In particular, DCI has proposed a strong children's rights perspective in the understanding of child labour having as a reference point the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Child labour is thus read as a phenomenon which is connected to numerous rights of children and which violates many fundamental rights and principles.
DCI has undertaken extensive work in this field, feeling that efforts need to be channeled for the removal of children from hazardous forms of work. In their actions, the Child Labour Desk and DCI Sections have prioritised ILO Convention No. 182 as a tool for action. Many Sections work to promote the Convention against the Worst Forms of Child Labour and advocate its full implementation.
The work of the Child Labour Desk is inspired by the commitment to children's rights and tries to unify diverse views within DCI under the principles declared in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.