The ECLT Foundation welcomes the recent report by Human Rights Watch, A Bitter Harvest, which highlights concerns of child labour and occupational safety in tobacco growing in Zimbabwe, where “tobacco is the country’s most valuable export commodity.”
While there are not currently any ECLT activities in Zimbabwe, the ECLT Foundation provided HRW with information on past research conducted to understand the child labour problem as it exists in Zimbabwe. The Foundation also shared information on current efforts in the region under our existing public-private partnership with the ILO, supporting the development of evidence-based advice on hazardous child labour in tobacco-growing, to promote decent working conditions for millions of young workers everywhere tobacco is grown.
ECLT affirms Human Rights Watch’s position to involve relevant stakeholders against child labour and its recommendation to “engage in collaborative, multistakeholder initiatives to address child labour and human rights abuses in the tobacco industry in Zimbabwe, including through training and education.”
With the accelerated SDG 8.7 timeline to eradicate child labour by 2025, it is crucial to work together to maximise efforts, especially Africa where ILO statistics show that one in every five children is in child labour. The Foundation will continue to prioritise multi-stakeholder engagement to find collaborative solutions for children, farmers and families, in order to support the long-term sustainability and scalability of our efforts.
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