The National Ceremony to commemorate World Day Against Child Labour will be held at the BMICH today under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena.

Addressing the media at the Government Information Department yesterday, Labour and Trade Union Relations Minister W.D.J.Senewiratne said the government plans to eliminate child labour from Sri Lanka by the end of this year.

The Labour and Trade Union Relations Ministry and the Labour Department has already taken a number of measures with the assistance of International Labour Organizations to create child labour free Sri Lanka by year’s end. “Last year, the Labour Department received 155 complaints with regard to the child labour cases. But, we believe that there could be many other hidden cases,” the minister said.

He also added that under the provisions of Act. No. 47 of the Women, Young Persons and Child Act, employment of a child below 14 years is a punishable offence and a child between the ages 14-18 years can only engage in non hazardous form of work which does not affect the health, safety and morals of a child.

ILO Country Director Donglin Li said that child labour has no place in well-functioning and well-regulated markets. Child Labour affects the health, safety and morals of children and causes the cycle of poverty. The child labourer of today is the exploited adult worker of tomorrow.

“The ILO estimates that there are around 16 million children in child labour, five million of whom are in hazardous work,” he said. The Country Director also said that Sri Lanka has earned a global

reputation as one of the lowest prevalence countries for child labour.

He further added that the ILO will continue supporting the government and its social partners in their campaign to protect the rights, freedom, security and dignity of children in Sri Lanka.