Joint Call for Equal, Inclusive and Transparent Children’s Participation At The Global Conference On Child Labour

This public statement comes from working children’s representatives, including 14 movements of working children, more than 150 NGOs and more than 100 researchers dedicated to support working children. It addresses the organisers of the upcoming V Global Conference on Child Labour, particularly the South African Government and the ILO.


It is with great interest and support that we notice the preparations for a Children’s Forum at the V Global Conference on Child Labour in Durban/ South Africa (15th- 20th May 2022). Child Ambassadors will be selected prior to the conference to speak on behalf of working children worldwide and represent their views in dialogues with all stakeholders. We understand them as representatives of the diversity of working children around the globe. This is fully in line with the right of each child to be heard in all matters affecting their lives as enshrined in Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. However, we encourage children’s participation also in broader sessions at the conference, e.g. as panelists in the thematic panel discussions, in which they can share their rich experience and knowledge in dialogues with all stakeholders involved.


In 2009, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child adopted nine Basic Requirements for effective, ethical and meaningful participation of children in “all processes in which a child or children are heard and participate” (CRC/C/GC/12). These processes need to be (1) transparent and informative, (2) voluntary, (3) respectful, (4) relevant, (5) child-friendly, (6) inclusive, (7) supported by training (for adults), (8) safe and sensitive to risk and (9) accountable.


We call on the conference organisers to ensure equal, inclusive and transparent selection processes through the application of these Basic Requirements. From our point of view, it is particularly important to ensure:


  • Equal representation of children from different workplaces (formal/ informal, paid/ unpaid, self-employed/ contract-based, rural/urban, organised/ non- organised etc.),
  • Equal involvement of the most vulnerable groups, including: stateless, refugee, migrant and displaced children, street children, children with disabilities and children from indigenous communities,
  • Equitable representation of the world regions (with opportunities for more representatives from regions where there are higher numbers of working children and social movements of working children).

We recognise that this demands a lot of resources and time invest. We herewith offer our joint support in helping to ensure effective, ethical and meaningful participation of children at the V Global Conference on Child Labour.


  1. The Children and Work Network is an international and diverse group of more than 100 academic researchers and practitioners with a particular interest in children’s work.
  2. Founded in 1983, Child Rights Connect is a network of over 85 NGOs with a worldwide reach and benefiting from a diversity of approaches and experiences in realising the rights of the child under the UNCRC and its Optional Protocols (OPs).
  3. CLARISSA is a joint project of the Institute of Development Studies, Terre des Hommes, ChildHope and the Consortium of Street Children. This programme is co-developing ways to increase options for children to avoid engagement in exploitative labour in Bangladesh, Myanmar and Nepal.
  4. Dialogue Works is a joint campaign led by Kindernothilfe and Terre des Hommes, dedicated to creating spaces for meaningful participation of working children and youth in international policy debates together with 22 partner organisations across 15 countries.
  5. Mouvement Africain des Enfants et Jeunes Travailleurs (MAEJT) member countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central Africa, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Ghana, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Chad, Tanzania, Togo, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Download the full statement Here 

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