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Act now to stamp out child labour by 2025

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A woman watches children working at a stone quarry, Zambia. (file) IRIN/M. Deghati

Effective action and strong leadership are essential to end child labour by 2025, the head of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on Tuesday.

Qu Dongyu, the FAO Director-General, was among UN agency chiefs addressing the opening of the Global Solutions Forum on child labour.  
The two-day virtual meeting aims to identify and expand solutions to stamp out the practice, a serious violation of human rights, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Millions worldwide affected

Some 160 million boys and girls worldwide, almost one in 10, are forced into work. The majority, 112 million, or around 70 per cent, work in crop production, livestock, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture. 

But with the 2025 deadline fast approaching, Mr. Qu stressed that effective action and “strong and coherent leadership from agri-food stakeholders across the globe, is critical”.

Child labour is a serious violation of human rights, FAO explained.  It deprives boys and girls of their childhood, their potential and dignity, while also being harmful to their physical and mental development.

Although not all work carried out by children is considered child labour, much of it is not age-appropriate, the agency said, and many vulnerable families, especially in rural areas, have no choice. 

‘A moral responsibility’

Contributing factors include low family incomes, few livelihood alternatives, limited access to education, inadequate labour-saving technologies, and traditional attitudes surrounding children’s participation in agriculture.  The COVID-19 pandemic has added to these issues.

Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian social reformer and co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, along with Malala Yousafzai, spoke about the devastating impacts.

“Nothing is as brutal as the death of a child’s dream,” said Mr. Satyarthi, who campaigned against child labour in his homeland. “We should feel the moral responsibility that we have to fulfil the dreams of these children.”

The Global Solutions Forum is being held in the context of the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour.  It brings together representatives from various sectors, including government ministries, farmers’ organizations, workers’ groups, and development banks, businesses, as well as children, youth advocates, and former child labourers.

Prolonging poverty

The event is organized by FAO alongside sister UN agency, the International Labour Organization (ILO), together with the International

Partnership for Cooperation on Child Labour in Agriculture (IPCCLA) and Alliance 8.7, a global initiative against forced labour.

In his remarks to the forum, Guy Ryder, the ILO Director General, underlined that child labour did not have to continue indefinitely.

“Child labour is not an escape road from poverty, it actually prolongs poverty; it makes poverty intergenerational. We have to help people out of this vicious circle of poverty and that’s not an easy task,” he said.

Focus on rural families

Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, outlined some of the solutions, which involve providing income support for vulnerable families, better healthcare and education, and expanding social and child protection.

“If we want to make a difference in ending child labour, this is where we need to focus significant efforts: in rural areas, with families, where agriculture is an important source of livelihoods,” she stressed.

Participants also heard from Pope Francis, whose message was delivered by Monsignor Fernando Chica Arellano, Ambassador of the Holy See.

“Protecting children means decisive measures to support smallholder farmers, so that they are not obliged to send their children into the fields in order to increase their incomes, which, being so low, do not allow vulnerable farming families to maintain their households with dignity,” he read.

FAO is promoting efforts to boost the incomes of rural families so that they can send their children to school rather than have them work. 

For example, the agency is supporting the governments of Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Lebanon, Mali, Niger, Malawi, Pakistan, Uganda and Tanzania, in addressing child labour as an integral part of national agricultural policies.

World News

Europe accuses US of ‘profiting from war’

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Top European officials are furious with Joe Biden’s administration and now accuse the Americans of making a fortune from the war, while EU countries suffer. “The fact is, if you look at it soberly, the country that is most profiting from this war is the U.S. because they are selling more gas and at higher prices, and because they are selling more weapons,” one senior official told POLITICO.

Washington announced a $369 billion industrial subsidy scheme to support green industries under the Inflation Reduction Act that Brussels went into full-blown panic mode. “The Inflation Reduction Act has changed everything,” one EU diplomat said. “Is Washington still our ally or not?”

“We are really at a historic juncture,” the senior EU official said, arguing that the double hit of trade disruption from U.S. subsidies and high energy prices risks turning public opinion against both the war effort and the transatlantic alliance. “America needs to realize that public opinion is shifting in many EU countries.”

The biggest point of tension in recent weeks has been Biden’s green subsidies and taxes that Brussels says unfairly tilt trade away from the EU and threaten to destroy European industries. Despite formal objections from Europe, Washington has so far shown no sign of backing down.

As they attempt to reduce their reliance on Russian energy, EU countries are turning to gas from the U.S. instead — but the price Europeans pay is almost four times as high as the same fuel costs in America. Then there’s the likely surge in orders for American-made military kit as European armies run short after sending weapons to Ukraine.

Officials on both sides of the Atlantic recognize the risks that the increasingly toxic atmosphere will have for the Western alliance.

“The U.S. is following a domestic agenda, which is regrettably protectionist and discriminates against U.S. allies,” said Tonino Picula, the European Parliament’s lead person on the transatlantic relationship.

Cheaper energy has quickly become a huge competitive advantage for American companies, too. Businesses are planning new investments in the U.S. or even relocating their existing businesses away from Europe to American factories. Just this week, chemical multinational Solvay announced t is choosing the U.S. over Europe for new investments, in the latest of a series of similar announcements from key EU industrial giants.

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American view: ‘Putting an end to Volodymyr Zelensky’s follies!’

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“Zelensky comes out of the process smelling really bad as he has worked assiduously at blaming Russia, which clearly is not true,” – writes Philip Giraldi from Ron Paul Institute.

One week ago, he reminds, the Ukrainian government may have deliberately attacked neighbor Poland in an attempt to draw the NATO alliance into its war with Russia. The incident involved a missile that hit a grain processing site inside Poland and killed two farmers.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky immediately blamed Russia for the incident even though he surely must have known that the missile had been fired from Ukraine, meaning that he may have been using a so-called “false flag” to create a false narrative of what had occurred.

Given the fact that Zelensky has been saying and doing everything possible to draw the US and NATO into fighting Russia on his behalf, I believe that the missile strike was quite plausibly a deliberate “false flag” attempt to start a much broader war.

That such a war could easily turn nuclear reveals just how reckless Zelensky can be. One NATO country foreign diplomat based in Kiev told “The Financial Times”, that “This is getting ridiculous. The Ukrainians are destroying [our] confidence in them. Nobody is blaming Ukraine and they are openly lying. This is more destructive than the missile.”

There has been considerable speculation that the unregulated and unmonitored flow of billions of dollars of US taxpayer provided money through Ukraine’s notoriously corrupt government provided a perfect mechanism for large scale money laundering.

Even assuming that the Ukrainian missile strike on Poland was due to some malfunction, Zelensky comes out of the process smelling really bad as he has worked assiduously at blaming Russia, which clearly is not true.

He is using his contrived narrative to dramatically expand the war by creating a situation which would bring NATO directly into the conflict and which could easily go nuclear.

Indeed, he is attempting to compel NATO participation.

Beyond that, the US and NATO, burdened with such an “ally,” should take immediate steps to disengage from supporting the fighting and call for a negotiated settlement of the conflict.

To be sure, Zelensky is capable of anything and no lie is too mendacious for the former comedy actor who is now basking in the glow of his celebrity, writes Philip Giraldi.

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Iran’s Parliament approves bill on accession to SCO

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Iran’s Parliament has approved by a majority vote a bill on the Islamic republic’s accession to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), according TASS information.

205 parliamentarians voted for the bill, 3 voted against and 4 abstained.

On September 30, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi signed a bill on the country’s accession to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. According to the Young Journalists Club news agency, Raisi sent the bill to the country’s parliament for consideration.

Iran signed a memorandum on liabilities for joining the Organization.

The Organization’s summit in Uzbekistan on September 15-16 launched the procedure of admitting Belarus as a full-fledged member.

Egypt and Qatar were granted a dialogue partner status, while Bahrain, Kuwait, the Maldives, Myanmar, and Saudi Arabia began the procedure for obtaining this status.

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