2.7 LESSONS LEARNED
The review and improvement of national legislation are an integral part of a national strategy to eliminate child labour. Effective policies need a solid framework of child labour laws. They provide a basis for advocating improvements in practice and legal avenues to stop the worst abuses.
Making the law known is critical, especially to children, parents and small and informal sector enterprises, as it contributes to a better understanding of the protection afforded to children and can raise awareness of the risks of child labour.
Improved training is needed for those responsible for enforcement, especially where enforcement of child labour laws is only one aspect of an inspector's work. Involvement of employers' and workers' organizations, NGOs, communities and other segments of civil society may be needed in monitoring the law, especially in the urban informal sector and rural areas.
A proliferation of laws may lead to confusion among those responsible for enforcement. Consolidating provisions on child labour can help in better implementation and enforcement of the law.
Laws are not static. They evolve with time along with changes in economic circumstances, social structures and cultural attitudes. Improvement in educational facilities, for example, should be accompanied by improvement in the law, especially concerning the minimum age for admission to employment or work and restrictions on hours of work.
Including provisions in legislation which call for periodic studies and reports, setting up statutory advisory committees or bodies, and requiring periodic reviews of prohibited types of work - all ensure continued attention to the issue of child labour and can facilitate progressive improvement in national legislation.
The consideration of ratifying Conventions Nos. 138 and 182 can serve as a catalyst for revising and improving legislation. Ratification of these Conventions is a concrete manifestation of the country's political commitment to take affirmative action on child labour. It provides a rallying point for action against child labour and creates a climate of confidence for advocacy and collaborative action. The ratification process raises awareness of Convention No. 138 and the child labour problem. In IPEC-participating countries, technical advisory services, tripartite consultations and advocacy efforts of IPEC programme partners can play an important part in facilitating the ratification process.
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