On the World Day Against Child Labour on 12 June 2021

Terre des Hommes calls for participation of working children in identifying sustainable solutions

On the occasion of the World Day against Child Labour, Terre des Hommes underlines the importance of creating spaces for working children to participate in local to global policy debates in line with Art. 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. As a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic pressure on children has severely heightened and estimates as well as observations of partner organisations around the globe point to a dramatic increase in child labour. Many children have dropped out of school and started to work to cover income losses of their parents, the costs of health services and to support their families during the pandemic. Listening to these children provides helpful insights into their lives. It helps understand their needs and the root causes for their situation. Terre des Hommes sees this as the basis for identifying policy measures that tackle the problem in a nuanced way and create the ground for sustainable change.


2021 has been announced the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour and manifold actions are undertaken to accelerate action to improve the situation of working children. Terre des Hommes stands side by side with working children in diverse settings and contexts and aims to support their views and suggestions being heard and taken into account in political decision-making processes. Driven by the conviction that there is no “one fits all”-solution, Terre des Hommes has pledged to support the activities around the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour[1] by setting up 25 working children’s advisory committees worldwide that will share their experiences, needs and recommendations in policy dialogues. Embedded in the framework of the international campaign “Dialogue Works – Anchoring working children´s participation in societal and political processes” (2020-2024) and implemented jointly with Kindernothilfe, this project will help to identify nuanced solutions that meet the needs of working children in their specific context.


The participation of children is at the heart of the work of Terre des Hommes and forms a key pillar in managerial and operational processes at all levels. Besides Dialogue works, Terre des Hommes is partner of the Child Labour: Action-Research-Innovation in South and South-Eastern Asia (CLARISSA), a child-centred action-research programme that aims to identify the key drivers of the worst forms of child labour and to develop innovative solutions to prevent them in Bangladesh, Myanmar and Nepal.


Terre des Hommes calls upon governments, the European Union (EU), international institutions and the international community to provide and support safe spaces for working children to be heard in decision-making processes and to take their views and suggestions into account. Terre des Hommes recommends the EU (European Commission, European External Action Services) to ensure that the Human Rights and Democracy thematic programme of the Global Europe instrument will promote the participation of children and youth from most vulnerable communities – including working children – through structured child participation mechanisms and empower them to be actively involved in decisions that affect their lives.


[1] See