Minister of Labour and Trade Union Relations Ravindra Samaraweera told the Director General of the ILO Guy Ryder in Geneva that Sri Lanka was interest to be at the forefront of the ILO’s global and regional efforts, along with other relevant stakeholders, in striving towards eliminating child labour and forced labour.
In this connection, he assured Sri Lanka’s fullest support for declaring year 2021 as the Year of Elimination of Child Labour and expressed willingness to become a “Pathfinder Country” of Alliance 8.7. Sri Lanka is currently considering the ratification of ILO Protocol 29 to the Forced Labour Convention.
The Director General of the ILO, welcoming the Minister and his delegation, noted that Sri Lanka is an important partner for ILO work with a positive working relationship. He expressed deep appreciation for Sri Lanka’s ongoing efforts in promoting labour rights, in particular eliminating child labour. In this context, Ryder recalled pledges made by Sri Lanka at the IV Global Conference on Sustained Eradication of Child Labour in Buenos Aires in November 2017, including to raise the minimum age of employment from 14 to 16. He also requested Sri Lanka to be actively involved in the Centenary Celebration activities of the ILO in 2019.
Minister Samaraweera was accompanied by Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in Geneva Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez, Commissioner General of Labour R.P.A. Wimalaweera, Deputy Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka Mrs. Samantha Jayasuriya, Ms. Shashika Somaratne, Minister Counsellor, B. Vasanthan, Senior Assistant Secretary of Ministry of Labour and Trade Union Relations and other senior officials. (Colombo Gazette)