Child Labour: A Universal Problem from a Namibian Perspective
University of Namibia
November 1, 2009
Children’s Rights in Namibia, pp. 201-222, 2009
After World War I, the Treaty of Versailles mentioned common labour standards, including the right of association, wages for a reasonable standard of life, an eight-hour working day, the abolition of child labour, the equal remuneration of men and women, and equal rights for migrant workers. These calls for international workers’ rights as well as the formation of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) were a response to the threat of the capitalist system posed by the Russian revolution and Bolshevism. Amongst other things, these calls reflected an understanding that labour was not a commodity, and in any country across the globe, children were one of the important components of the social structure needing protection against social injustice. Any undue influence on the child forcing or burdening him/her to work could cause a severe disruption of the social fabric, thereby disabling the future advancement of society. In this light, both national and international law put restrictions on the use of child labour. An analysis of the issue of child labour brings one to the controversy of intersecting rights – socio-economic rights and the founding values of human dignity, equality and freedom – which reinforce one another at the point of intersection. For example, if there is a need to abolish child labour, there is a negative impact on family income in families that allow their children to be employed because of poverty; yet, at the same time, the welfare and dignity of the child is affected negatively by such employment.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 22
Keywords: Child labour, forced labour, International labour organisation, Namibia, Children's Rights
JEL Classification: K1, K3Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: May 30, 2011
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