05_G15_InBox

Global Issue 15

Inbox Millions of child domestic workers trapped in ‘slave-like’ conditions Ten million children worldwide are employed as domestic workers outside their own homes, in hazardous and sometimes slave-like conditions, according to a new report. The 87-page report by the International Labour Organization (ILO), launched to mark World Day Against Child Labour on 12 June, highlighted how nearly 6.5 million of these child labourers are between the age of five and 14 years old, and nearly three quarters are girls. Most of these children work in a third party or employer’s home and are vulnerable to physical, psychological and sexual violence. Child domestic work is not recognised as a form of child labour in many countries because of the blurred relationship with the employing family, the report says. The child is “working, but is not considered as a worker and although the child lives in a family setting, she or he is not treated like a family member”. Constance Thomas, director of the ILO’s global programme to eliminate child labour, said: “The situation of many child domestic workers not only constitutes a serious violation of child rights, but remains an obstacle to the achievement of many national and international development objectives.” However, the report does stress that domestic work is an important source of employment, especially for women, but what is needed is basic rights, principles and specific protection for domestic workers. This has been recognised in ILO Convention 189, a treaty adopted by the international Labour Conference. Domestic work done by children, outside the family home, is not recognised as child labour in many countries Bees get a taste for bomb disposal work Croatian researchers are training honeybees to sniff out undetonated land mines. The unlikely heroes are taught to associate the smell of TNT with their food through a mixture of sugar solution and explosive material. The method has proved fruitful, with most bees clustering around sugar-laced pots of TNT rather than neat sugar solutions during trial runs. The mines date back to the 1990s Balkan wars, during which time around 90,000 explosives were scattered throughout the country. While de-mining efforts have been going on for years, they have never been 100 per cent effective and unidentified mines continue to present a threat for civilians and tourists, having killed 316 people since the wars ended nearly two decades ago. The sniffer-bees are part of ‘Tiramisu’, an EU sponsored project aimed at locating and deactivating land mines. ■■ The UK government has promised to draw up a Bee Action Plan – focusing on farming methods and town planning – to protect bee numbers from decline. The insects, whose numbers have fallen due to disease, loss of habitat, chemical pollution and poor weather, play a vital role in pollinating fruit and vegetables. Afghan law will ‘protect protagonists’ A new provision to Afghanistan’s criminal prosecution code could stop almost all cases of violence against women from ever reaching court. The change, endorsed by conservative MPs, would prevent relatives testifying against one another. The new draft has already passed through the lower house, but will need to find approval in the upper house and be signed by the president to become law. Brad Adams of Human Rights Watch said: “Afghanistan’s lower house is proposing the protect the batterers of women and girls from criminal punishment.” global thi rd quar ter 2013 www.global -br ief ing.org l 5


Global Issue 15
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