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Politično področje
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Child labour: A priority for EU human rights action

15-01-2019

Despite a comprehensive normative international framework that prohibits child labour, it persists in many areas of the world, particularly in developing countries. In sub-Saharan-Africa, it has even increased in recent years. More efforts are therefore needed to combat child labour. However, not all work performed by children is harmful to their health and development. The first task is therefore to distinguish child labour – which entails harmful forms of work – from other forms of children's involvement ...

Despite a comprehensive normative international framework that prohibits child labour, it persists in many areas of the world, particularly in developing countries. In sub-Saharan-Africa, it has even increased in recent years. More efforts are therefore needed to combat child labour. However, not all work performed by children is harmful to their health and development. The first task is therefore to distinguish child labour – which entails harmful forms of work – from other forms of children's involvement with work that are acceptable and have an educational component. While international conventions provide a broad definition of child labour, they leave the task of defining more precise criteria, such as the acceptable number of working hours per week or what constitutes hazardous work, to national legislation. Child labour is a complex phenomenon that has a multiplicity of causes, among which poverty usually features first. It requires a comprehensive approach to fight it, including awareness-raising among families and local communities, due diligence by companies involved in global supply chains, and action by governments, international organisations and civil society. The European Union protects children's rights through both its internal and external policies. It has deployed measures to fight child labour through cooperation with international organisations and has funded development projects whose aim is to counter it. The human rights conditionality enshrined in the EU's trade arrangements provides another path for tackling child labour. Nevertheless, there are numerous calls from civil society and the European Parliament to impose binding legal obligations on EU-based companies, to make sure their imports of goods from developing countries are free of child labour.

Empowering Africa's youth: The new focus of EU-Africa cooperation

14-11-2017

Africa is the world's youngest continent. With a rapidly growing population, Africa is forecast to make up for much of the population decline in other parts of the world in the coming decades. As a result, by 2050, one in four working-age persons in the world could be African. Today, over 60 % of Africans are under the age of 25. This demographic dynamism brings enormous challenges and opportunities. If well managed, it could drive an African economic miracle, which will shape the history of the ...

Africa is the world's youngest continent. With a rapidly growing population, Africa is forecast to make up for much of the population decline in other parts of the world in the coming decades. As a result, by 2050, one in four working-age persons in the world could be African. Today, over 60 % of Africans are under the age of 25. This demographic dynamism brings enormous challenges and opportunities. If well managed, it could drive an African economic miracle, which will shape the history of the 21st century. On the other hand, such unprecedented demographic growth does not come without specific challenges: the numerous children and young people must have their educational and health needs met, and enough jobs have to be created for the large cohorts entering the labour market every year. Large generations of young people who are politically excluded and deprived of economic opportunities can be an aggravating factor in conflicts, and can be prone to political and religious radicalisation. Instability and increasing poverty would also lead to mass migration to Europe and elsewhere. Europe cannot ignore the rising challenges and opportunities at its southern borders. Positive or negative spill-overs to Europe will be inevitable. It is therefore in the EU's own interest to help the continent steer the demographic boom towards an economic boom, providing young people with opportunities, alleviating poverty and bringing lasting peace and stability. As the EU prepares to redefine its cooperation with Africa, the issue of youth is thus inescapable. The most urgent challenge for the EU is to channel foreign investment and development efforts towards Africa's youngest populations, which are more than ever located in its most fragile states.

Child under-nutrition in developing countries

20-11-2014

With 3.1 million child deaths each year in developing countries, under-nutrition is the single biggest contributor to mortality in under-fives. NGOs have pushed for the fight against child under-nutrition, and provision of universal access to adequate nutritious food, to remain one of the major targets of the post-2015 Millennium Development Goals' agenda for both the EU and the broader international community.

With 3.1 million child deaths each year in developing countries, under-nutrition is the single biggest contributor to mortality in under-fives. NGOs have pushed for the fight against child under-nutrition, and provision of universal access to adequate nutritious food, to remain one of the major targets of the post-2015 Millennium Development Goals' agenda for both the EU and the broader international community.

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