CHILD LABOUR: BANNING OR PROTECTION? – THE CASE OF WORKING CHILDREN IN BOLIVIA

garcia linera y nats_julio2014

Conference in Bruxelles, 21 January 2015 at 7 pm

In August 2014 a Code for Children and Adolescents entered into force in Bolivia setting new standards for the implementation of children’s rights. It is the first law in the world to have come into existence with a decisive input from children. It interprets children’s rights in the spirit of the traditions of indigenous communities and in the light of the country’s social and cultural realities. For the first time in the Bolivian Children’s Code working children have guaranteed a right of protection at work.

Some think the solution to surpass child labour is its abolition. Others, however, believe it is crucial to protect the rights of working children instead of banning child labour as abolition would not solve the problem but will only make it invisible since, unfortunately, due to economic necessities children would continue working on the informal economy without any legal protection and being more easily victims of exploitation.

Political scientist Manfred Liebel, says me it doesn’t make any sense to prohibit child labor. “Instead, it’s important politically to work towards changing the lives of families,” he said. “They should be able to decide freely and independently whether children contribute to the family income or not.” For years, Liebel, a faculty member at the Technical University of Berlin, has been striving to inject more balance into the debate about child labor, with others experts of all the world. He says local traditions that form the backdrop for child labor in certain countries also need to be taken into account.

“Indigenous traditions play a major role in Bolivia. They stipulate that children start participating in the workforce from an early age,” he said. “In this respect, harvesting or fishing play an important role.”

These are also protected areas of work, he added.

“The children aren’t dependent on individuals or businesses who could exploit them. Rather, they are part of the community. The same is true when it comes to working for the family.”

WHEN: 21 January 2015 at 7 pm

WHERE: Mundo-b conference room (floor -1) Rue d’Edimbourg 26, 1050 Ixelles

SPEAKERS:

Prof. Dr. Manfred Liebel, head of the European Master in Childhood Studies and Children’s Rights (EMCR) at the Free University Berlin and adviser of the Latin American Movement of Working Children and Adolescents (MOLACNATs)

Lola Sánchez Caldentey, GUE Coordinator in DEVE Committee of the European Parliament and member of the Delegation to the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly

René Fernández Revollo, Ambassador of the Plurinational State of Bolivia at the EU

PLEASE REGISTER BY THE 20TH OF JANUARY AT THE FOLLOWING EMAIL: info@belgicannats.org

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