“Abuse of Child Labour in Ship-breaking Industries of Bangladesh: International Laws and National Legal Response- A Critical Study?”

- Mohammad Zulfikar Ali

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Published On - September 6, 2016 [Vol. 5, Jul - Dec, 2016]

Abstract- Problems that lie with Bangladesh laws in response to the international laws are; harmonization and interpretation of existing labor laws with regard to the minimum age for admission into employment; implementation and enforcement of the laws, particularly in the informal sector like ship-breaking yard where the child labor mainly occurs; the magnitude of child labor, particularly hazardous child labor; and the multi-sectorial and complex nature of the child labor such as difficulties of cooperation among the large number of agencies, departments and actors, and the high incidence of poverty. Against this backdrop, this paper examines how the laws of Bangladesh have addressed the problem of child labor in line with international obligations particularly considering the case of ship-breaking industries. Therefore, the paper focuses on the discrepancies of defining child labor in brief and international and national legal responses regarding child labor at ship-breaking yards.

I. INTRODUCTION

We will work for the protection of the environment for children by establishing common measures by which children can enjoy a safer and healthier future…There can be no task nobler than giving children a better future.[1]

Bangladesh is a densely populated country. Problems related to unemployment and socio-economic condition force people to work in the unhygienic area of ship-breaking yards in Bangladesh. Among the workers, a substantial portion are children who have no safety instrument, fresh water, proper food, rest etc.[2] Primarily, extreme poverty associated with family background pull the Children in these jobs. However, with no redress, they are deprived of their rights because they are not considered to give consent and have limited access to legal procedures.[3] The owners take the opportunity of their financial condition, age and abuse their rights. Even if, International laws are clear in this issue of child labor, lack of understanding of the international law and effective law making by the state in the matter combined with the failure of implementation make the situation worst for children at work. Moreover, the problems that lie with Bangladesh laws in response to the international laws, as rightly observed by Ravindra Pratap, are; “harmonization and interpretation of existing labor laws with regard to the minimum age for admission into employment; implementation and enforcement of the laws, particularly in the informal sector like ship-breaking yard where the child labor mainly occurs; the magnitude of child labor, particularly hazardous child labor; and the multi-sectorial and complex nature of the child labor such as difficulties of cooperation among the large number of agencies, departments and actors, and the high incidence of poverty.[4]

Against this backdrop, this paper examines how the laws of Bangladesh have addressed the problem of child labor in line with international obligations particularly considering the case of ship-breaking industries.

Therefore, the paper focuses on the discrepancies of defining child labor in brief and international and national legal responses regarding child labor at ship-breaking yards. In drawing comparison between International law and domestic law in Bangladesh, the paper considers rights based approach because children’s rights are founded on three pillars, they are; right of provision, protection and participation (three P’s). Therefore, for the sake of comparison, this three P’s approach is taken wherein health right is included in right to provision; right to be free from environmental hazard and exploitation are added for discussing right to protection. Finally, before drawing conclusion, specific recommendations are provided.

II. DILEMMA IN DEFINING CHILD LABOUR

Child labor has various consequences; it may hamper the mental and psychological development of the child or, it may reduce longevity of his lifetime when it is related to hazardous condition of employment.[5] Therefore, the basic difference between child work and child labor is crucial in this context. Being engaged in work, if a child can continue his/her studies i.e. the means for development is termed as child work according to ILO.[6] On the other hand, any form of work that is not compatible with ILO Convention 138 is called child labor. However, Article 32 of the Convention on the rights of the Child (hereafter referred to as CRC) is the pillar for understanding child labor.[7] Surprisingly, in some of the communities, like Bangladesh, the tendency to tolerate and accept the practice makes the issue more complicated. In this context, if state does not take positive steps to reduce child labor progressively they may be held responsible in separating children from claiming their rights.

III. COMPATIBILITY OF DOMESTIC LAW IN RESPONSE TO INTERNATIONAL LAW

A. Children’s Right to Provision (Health)

1. International Laws

It has already been noticed by international community that health problem is the main issue in the business of ship recycling. More specifically, children are more vulnerable than the adults. Therefore, for combating the problem, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989[8] (hereafter referred to as CRC) contains Article 24 about right to health of the children. This article provides that it is the right of every child to enjoy the highest attainable standard of health which binds the state to fulfill the obligation by taking appropriate measures.

This right is also recognized in other international instruments. Article 25 (1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights[9] affirms that [e]veryone has the right to standard of living adequate for the health of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services’. Under Article 12 of the Convention on the Economic Social and Cultural Rights[10], State Parties recognize ‘the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health and enumerates steps to be taken by the state parties[…] to achieve the full realization of this right.’ In this context, recommendation no. 14 adopted by the Committee on the Economic Social and Cultural Rights in 2000[11] on the right to health plays central role. Most importantly, in ensuring safer health, the best interests of the child as articulated in Article 3 shall be the core concern.[12] As observed by Asbjorn Eide and Wenche Barth Eide, ‘in ensuring right to health, state has three fold obligations; they are the obligation to respect, protect and fulfill.’[13] In these three obligations, the obligation to protect requires states to restrain third parties from causing harm to the child[14] which is connected to the children working in the ship-breaking area. Notwithstanding the recognition of the industry, it is incumbent on the states to fulfill this obligation. In considering the subject of environment, specifically, Article 24 (2) (c) of the CRC focuses on additional facilities like housing, food[15] and water[16] that are all interrelated to their health. Moreover, the International Labor Organization (ILO) guidelines[17] also echo the same principle regarding measures for ship-breaking workers for workplace hazard to eliminate in work injuries, sickness and incidence by helping states in:

1. Promulgating a sustainable policy and principle for occupational health, safety and welfare of ship breakers and securing the balance of environment.

2. Forming joint initiative between players of the industry.

2. Bangladesh Response

Following the norms of international law, Bangladesh constitution,[18] the supreme law of Bangladesh does not directly contain any provision in relation to health for the children at work but it recognizes their right to life. By judicial activism in Bangladesh, it is established that right to life has a link with right to health. In the expansion of the right to life, the Honorable High Court of Bangladesh decided that

‘This right cannot be limited to corporal parts of the body but it extends to the workers protection of health from pollution, development of children, improvement of public health by ensuring quality of life consistent with human dignity.’[19]

In a later case, Justice ABM Khairul Huq, the former chief Justice of Bangladesh again reiterated the above principle and made it more specific by holding that

‘the guarantee of right to life as enshrined in Article 32 of the constitution of Bangladesh means a qualitative life among others, is one of the basic rights of human being to live in a healthy atmosphere and constitutional remedy is available in case of violation of this right.’[20]

The main law which deals with workers’ rights in Bangladesh is the Labor Act, 2006. The Labor Act debars to employ any person in any establishment to lift, carry or move any load so heavy as to be likely to cause him injury’.[21] The act also prescribes for proper supply of drinking water associated with effective measures for preventing overcrowding, lighting and all necessary steps to secure health and hygiene. However, it is thought to be an impossible matter in Bangladesh that an establishment will take all the measures for a healthy industry as there is no change of situation in the ship breaking yards. That is why, gas explosion is a regular picture which drags the workers (including 25% child labor) to their deaths and causes serious injury. However, the owners keep no data for this and most of the time they send the workers to their village with some money or even throw the dead body into the river.[22] Situation becomes worse for the children as they are basically engaged in the job of a metal cutter with no training and as a consequence they regularly fall sick. To deal with the issue, the Children Act 1974 has been prepared but it does not contain any punitive provision against the ship-owners,[23] even if the Act is considered to be compatible with the international standard.[24]  Thus, unless a new draft code is prepared and implemented properly, it won’t have any lasting effect at all. The ministry of Labor also has started a child labor elimination policy, 2010 but it is not familiar to the children who are working for their survival due to indebtedness of their parents, sister’s marriage or even for loss of father or loss of land for which the constitution or judgment of the High Court has no meaning. In many of the cases they have to carry load that is twice of their own weight, with no safety belt, glass, shoes, and no safe ladder for climbing up and down to vessel.[25] According to the international norms it is the duty of the government to monitor these situations but the concerned ministry has not provided any specific provision to make the Labor Act effective for which the Act has become nothing but a piece of paper for them. In this connection, Section 79 is very relevant which has empowered the government to frame rules to supervise the application of the Act but the government has not done anything like that yet.

Regrettably, the constitution is not consistent with international standard because it does not specifically declare the right to health as a fundamental right. Right to life is “genus” where right to health is “species”. Specific rights are easier to claim compared to general rights. This basic gap in the constitution makes the other legislations too weak to address the condition.

 B. Right to Protection

1. Right to be free from Environmental Hazards

a. International Law

Internationally, Article 32 of the CRC deals with children’s right to be free from economic exploitation but does not deal directly with environmental hazard apart from giving a reference to that.[26] The 1989 Basel Convention on the Control of Trans-boundary Movements of Hazardous Waste and their Disposal[27] (hereafter referred to as the Basel convention) emphasizes to protect human health and the environment against adverse effects which may result from the generation, trans-boundary movement and management of hazardous wastes and to especially ensure that developing countries are not unduly or disproportionately burdened by these hazards and risks.[28] To effectuate this, the two pillars of the Convention are used: a control mechanism associated with consent for the trans-boundary movement and the principle of Environmentally Sound Management.[29] In addition, the Technical Guidelines for the Environmentally Sound Management of the Full and Partial Dismantling of Ships was adopted by the state parties of the Basel convention.[30] Moreover, in 2004 the remaining of a dead ship was considered as wastes bringing under the purview of the convention.[31] These developments are the examples of constant effort of world community to save the environment and the workers from degradation in the industry.

b. Bangladesh Response

On the other hand, in all the above mentioned developments of international law, Bangladesh is an active party. The Bangladesh Environment Conservation Act, 1995[32] deals against environmental hazard. According to Section 6 of this Act, it has to be ensured by the ship owners that by dismantling of ships causes no harm to the environment. According to the Environment Conservation Amendment Act, 2010, no industrial establishment can run their business without obtaining clearance from the Director General (DG) of the Department of Environment (DOE)[33] and if any industry ran any business without his permission than the DG can stop the industry by cancelling supply of water, electricity and gas.[34] He (DG) can also file cases against the company in favor of the victims.[35] Even though it is a very ambitious law, no real change has occurred yet on to the  preservation of the environment because no field office is created by law around the ship-breaking area. The main office is located in the city which is far-fetched for the victims. Also, who will conduct the function of DG in his absence is not mentioned in the law. The rich industrialists are in impunity for this legal vacuum.

Moreover, the Labor Act, 2006 also contains a detailed procedure for dealing with explosive or inflammable dust, gas, and so on.[36] It specifies that where in any establishment; a manufacturing process produces dust, gas fumes, or vapor of such character and such volume which is likely to explode on ignition, all practicable measures should be taken to effectively enclose or exclude possible sources of ignition from that place.[37] ‘No ship-breaking yard implements these provisions’.[38] However, The Labor Act has imposed limitations in entering and working in any chamber, tank, vat, pipe, flue, or other confined space in which dangerous fumes are likely to be present to such an extent as to involve risk.[39] According to the Act it is mandatory for each industrial establishment to keep their premises clean and free from effluvia.[40] Moreover, they have to take measures for securing and maintaining proper ventilation.[41]

Undoubtedly, the adverse effect of ship-breaking industry is too grave and complex to be restricted by these laws. It is consistently demanded by the civil society to frame a distinct policy for ship-breaking industry but to no avail. Even if there is temporary closure of all the ship-breaking industry by the order of High Court, the government  would still be required to draft an effective policy for this industrial sector.

 

2. Right against exploitation

a. International Law

The attention of the young peoples’ exposition to child labor is not a new phenomenon. The matter of exploitation was addressed in ICESCR to protect them from harmful work and asks states to set age limits.[42] In giving a strong basis Article 32 of the CRC provides that

‘Protection of children from any exploitation combined with working in a hazardous condition hampering physical and mental health is a primary concern for the states. State Parties shall take all legal measures to do that.’

Specifically, the role of International Labor Organization (ILO) is instrumental in dealing with the issue since its inception in 1919. It has been formulating laws for securing children from exploitation. One of the laws is the ILO minimum age convention (138) 1973[43] which has been declared as one of the core conventions by ILO with recommendation number 146. The mandate of the convention is for the fullest physical and mental development of young person via increasing the age limit ‘progressively’ before getting a job .[44] The minimum age should not be less than the age limit for compulsory schooling and minimum of 15, although it is 14 for the developing countries.[45] In pursuance of Article 7, however, light works may be permitted for children between 13 to 15 and 12 to 14 for developing countries. Moreover, the minimum age is 18 for hazardous work irrespective of the economy of the country, with an exception of 16 years when sufficient health, safety and moral safeguards are considered with proper training.[46] In giving positive effect of the rights, Article 7 of the CRC is vital which makes it compulsory upon the states to introduce compulsory birth registration.

In spite of having wide ratification, this convention paves the way for member states to exclude some sectors from the application of the convention after consultation with employers and workers’[47]subject to informing ILO through report. The recommendation number 146 spells out clearly to raise the minimum age to 18 if not done yet by member states.[48] Moreover, yardstick for determining hazardous work is also pointed out for protection of children from hazardous work,[49] but in determining what forms of work will be considered as worst for the children, ILO adopted Convention 182[50] which deals with worst forms of child labor. It includes several guidelines in considering the acts to be considered as worst forms of labor for children under 18 years. Though some of the listed works may be seen as harmless, by their very nature such work are dangerous or may create circumstances which may harm the health, safety or moral attitude of children.[51] In addition to that the onus is shifted to the individual country to conclude what forms of works they want to include in the category. To remove this grey areas ILO adopted recommendation number 190. The recommendation defines worst forms of work in these words below:

1. Work with dangerous machinery, equipment, tools involving heavy load

2. Work in an unhealthy environment which may expose children to hazardous substances

3. Work under particularly difficult condition such as work for long hours or during the nights or work where the child is unreasonably confined to the premises of the employers.[52]

b. Bangladesh Response

From the legal point of view, the response of Bangladesh to this point is ambiguous. In recognition to international law, Bangladesh constitution endorses the right to let the citizens free from exploitation in her preamble[53] and upholds that it shall be a fundamental responsibility of the state to emancipate the toiling masses, the peasants, workers and backward sections of the people from all forms of exploitation.[54] But surprisingly, this country has not ratified the minimum age convention yet. Accordingly, The Labor Act 2006 defines a child as ‘a person who has not completed 14 years of age’. Again the Code defines an adolescent as ‘a person who has completed 14 years but has not completed 18 years of age’. Finally the Code states that an adult is ‘a person who has completed 18 years of age. Section 34 of the Act prohibits the employment of children (below 14) in any kind of profession or establishment. An adolescent can be employed in a factory provided that a certificate of fitness has been granted by a competent authority. But who is the competent authority is not clearly defined in this law and notably the concept of adolescent in the domestic law in comparison to international law is different because an adolescent is considered to be a child in international law.

However, the Labor Act poses some safeguard in appointing an adolescent. Firstly, an adolescent may not be allowed or required to work more than 5 hours a day and 30 hours a week. Secondly, no adolescent is allowed to clean, lubricate and adjust machinery, or work in-between the moving parts of a machine while it is in motion. Above all, without providing a uniform definition, the Act makes a way for the employers to appoint child labor and eventually exploit them.

However, in determining age, the compulsory birth registration is crucial. Therefore, the Compulsory Birth and Death Registration Act[55] was passed in 2004 but the trend of registration is very low because of lack of awareness and critical procedure. The Chairman of the local ward or village is responsible for registration but they are too busy to do the work. Because of their busy schedule, it is a very difficult task for any decent man to do the registration, let alone the poor children. In addition, it has not been made mandatory in the Labor Act to submit any birth certificate to the owners in appointing labors. So there are all the possibilities to appoint child labors by informing that they are adolescent.

C. Right to Participation

1. International Law

In advocating the right to participation, Article 12 of the Convention of the Child provides that in all matters the view of the children should be considered according to their maturity. However, up gradation of children’s voice is still in a growing stage. Internationally, the International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor (IPEC) in 1992 called for active participation of workers organization. The International Trade Union Campaign against Child Labor (ICFTU) was formed in June 1994 on the 75th Anniversary Conference of the ILO.[56] While, IPEC requires for monitoring and evaluation, ICFTU seeks for research on the problem of Child Labor.[57] These two initiatives provide an impact and become a focal point for trade union action against child labor.

2. Bangladesh Response

However, right to take consent of children is unknown to the domestic law of Bangladesh, especially if it is related to engage children in work because there is no development of law in this context, till now. According to the majority Act the age of consent is 18 years[58] and it is the same in the Contract Act, 1872.[59] In terms of the later one ‘minor’s agreement is void’. Thus, when the agreement of a minor is void, the consequence of any appointment letter or mandatory maintenance of a service book[60] has no meaning and the owners by taking the opportunity of the law engage them in the yard randomly. Eventually, they are deprived of claiming any job benefit like compensation for injury or wages before the court because they neither can make any contract with the employer nor can they claim anything due to the restriction of the law. Lastly, the only way of claiming benefit by a child labor would be to join a trade union which is not allowed in the yard though it is one of the fundamental rights.[61] Unfortunately, there is no consequence provided in the labor Act.

These lacunas in domestic laws in Bangladesh mean that they are not consistent with the international commitments. Therefore, further strict steps need to be taken by all concerned parties in this regard.

IV. WAYS FORWARD

Notwithstanding the achievements in reducing the rate of child labor, some factors, for example, want of sanction to the employers; awareness and education (skill development); inadequate programs of rehabilitations and lack of adequate institutional and logistic support[62] are the main obstacles in fighting against the problem. In light of the problems, the recommendations are:

Birth Registration– Even if, registration is the core of defining a child and reducing child labor, so far the rate of registration is not up to the mark in Bangladesh. Therefore, birth registration should be made free of cost and it should increase the awareness raising program for poor homeless people and consider mobile registration program for reaching the remote areas may need to be considered.[63]

Ratification of Core Convention and National legislation to be framed accordingly: Bangladesh has not yet ratified the Minimum Age Convention (138), 1973 for which there is ambiguity in the definition of child. Therefore, it is essential to review the matter with sincerity and make necessary changes in the national legislation.[64] Moreover, Bangladesh needs to continue to harmonize its legislation with the principles of the convention so that it can be used as a legal basis by individuals and judges at all levels. Most importantly, the right to health of every citizen should be recognized in the constitution specifically to pave the way for the children to have easy access to health service rather than keeping it within the boundary of right to life.[65] The example of India is very relevant as it has made the child labor prohibited by enacting the Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986.[66]

Access to Information: All the citizens should know what is the latest condition of child workers in the ship-breaking industry and what to do in future. For this all the reports and concluding observations given by the committee and the relevant conventions related to child labor should be made public and in lucid language.[67]The government should raise funds for providing necessary education among the children and provide training to all professionals by including Human Rights education in the official curriculum of all levels. This in turn would raise awareness of the children.[68]

Strengthening the Bureau of Statistics: A ‘comprehensive and coordinated system of data collection’[69] is highly essential for preparing periodic report. In preparing statistical data accurately, the concerned bureau needs on field information. It should be insisted by the government to get reliable data considering the affect and nature of the child labor and to do that the capacity of the office should be increased. It can be done by taking the technical help of UNICEF, ILOs.[70]

Strengthening the Capacity of the National Human Rights Commission: To ensure effective implementation of labor rights, national Human Rights Commission can play the role of a guardian. But the Human Rights Commission with lack of financial resources, manpower and dependency on the government cannot play the role. Therefore, the financial resource, manpower and capacity of the commission should be strengthened.[71]

The Children Ombudsman: In the national level the draft law prepared in 2006 about creating a post of children commissioner has to be enacted. The Ombudsman would be an independent organ who will receive individual complaint against violation of rights. Moreover, the procedure should be easily accessible and child sensitive[72]

Children’s Voice- It should be the principle concern for the government that they encourage the children to raise their voice. Particularly, in the ship-breaking industry they do not have any choice apart from accepting their ill-fate. Therefore, it is the most essential thing for them to have a common platform like ‘Trade Union’ backed by the government. In this forum they could share their experiences and provide necessary information to the administrative and judicial authorities about upgrading the situation in the yards.[73]

Inspection Mechanism– It is observed by the Human Rights Watch (HRW) that Bangladesh has notoriously poor workplace safety inspection mechanism.[74]Noticing the problem, ILO/UNICEF recommended that labor inspectors should be enriched with extra resources required to enforce labor law more effectively.[75] In doing so, they need support from political and judicial authority, with more training in child and labor law, to combat against child labor.

V. CONCLUSION

Considering the economic interests of the ship-breaking industries and occupational health of the child workers, the international commitment should be enforced with active supervision from the agencies concerned. Child labor is not a single issue, it is a combination of many other social complexity that makes it a ‘multidimensional’ problem.[76] Hence, fighting against it means to deal with poverty reduction, development, cultural relativism, environment, policy, business etc.[77] Therefore, a concerted effort from UN linked with all international and normative framework[78] in these related field, with positive attitude from the policy makers, nationally, is essential in the fight against exploitation of children labor as if their fundamental rights. Otherwise, ensuring the fundamental rights of children would be a far-fetched dream.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

A. Articles/ Books/ Reports

Aktar, Sharmin and Abu Syead Muhammad Abdullah, ‘Protecting Child labor in Bangladesh: Domestic laws V international Instruments’ (2013) 10(1) Bangladesh e-Journal of Sociology

Alessandro, Fodella, ‘Freedom from Child Labour as a Human Right: The Role of the UN System in Implementing ILO Child Labor Standards’ in Giuseppa Nesi, Luca Nogler and Marco Pertile (eds), Child Labor in a Globalised World: A Legal Analysis of ILO Action (Ashgate publishing Limited, Hampshire, 2008)

Anderson, Michael and Sylvia Bluck, ‘Environmental rights of the child in India’ in Agata Fijalkowski & Malgosia Fitzmaurice (eds), The Right of the Child to a Clean Environment (Ashgate Publishing, Hants, 2000)

Borzaga, Matteo ‘Limiting the Minimum Age: Convention 138 and the origin of the ILO’s Action in the Field of Child Labour’ in Giuseppe Nesi, Luca Nogler and Marco Pertile (eds), Child Labour in a Globalised World A Legal Analysis of ILO Action (Ashgate Publishing Limited, Hampshire 2008)

Cullen, Holly ,‘The Right of Child Workers to Protection from Environmental Hazards’ in Agata Fijalkowski & Malgosia Fitzmaurice (eds), The Right of the Child to a Clean Environment (Ashgate Publishing, Hants, 2000)

Eide, Asbjorn and Wenche Barth Eide, ‘Article 24. The Right to Health’ in A. Alen, J. Vande Lanotte, E. Verhellen, F. Ang, E. Berghmans and M. Verheyde (eds), A Commentary on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Leiden, 2006)

Fijalkowski, Agata and Malgosia Fitzmaurice (eds), Introductory Remarks, The right of the Child to a Clean Environment (Ashgate Publishing company, Hants, 2000)

Fyzee A. and M. Jankanish, A Growing Commitment: Examples of Trade Union Action, Trade Union and Child Labor: A Guide to Action, (ILO Publication, International Labor Office, Geneva, 2002)

Hossain, Md. Maruf and Mohammad Mahmudul Islam, ‘Shipbreaking activities and its impact on the coastal zone of Chittagong, Bangladesh: Towards sustainable management’ published by Young Power in Social Action (YPSA), Chittagong, Bangladesh

Karen E, Makuch and Macdonald Karen E, ‘Sustaining the Environmental Rights of Children: An Explanatory Critique’ (2006) 18(1) Fordham Environment Law Review

Karim, Md. Saiful ‘Environmental Pollution in the Shipbreaking Industry: International and National Legal Response’, (2010) 21 Georgetown International Environmental Law Review

Karim, Md. Saiful ‘Violation of Labour Rights in the Shipbreaking Yards of Bangladesh: Legal Norms and Reality,’(2009) 25 (4) The International Journal of Comparative Labour Law and Industrial Relations

Moen, Amy E. ‘Breaking Basel: the Elements of the Basel Convention and its Application on Toxic Ships’, e journal accessed by <http://www. Elsevier.com/locate/marpol>

Pratap, Ravindra The Implementation of ILO Child Labour Standard in Asia: Overview and Selected Issues in Giuseppa Nesi, Luca Nogler and Marco Pertile (eds) Child Labor in a Globalised World: A Legal Analysis of ILO Action (Ashgate publishing Limited, Hampshire, 2008)

Rishikesh, Deepa ‘The Worst Forms of Child Labour: A Guide to ILO Convention 182 and Recommendation 190’ in Giuseppe Nesi, Luca Nogler and Marco Pertile (eds), Child Labour in a Globalised World A Legal Analysis of ILO Action (Ashgate Publishing Limited, Hampshire, 2008)

Buck, Trevor (ed), International Child Law, 2nd edition, (Roultedge Publishing, New York, 2011)

International Labour Organisation, Child labour: Targeting the intolerable (ILO Publication, Geneva, 1996)

Human Rights Watch, Safe Working Condition, The Daily Star (27 APRIL, 2013) available at <http://www.thedailystar.net/beta2/news/hrw-for-safe-working-conditions>

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observation on Bangladesh, 51st Session, CRC/C/BGD/60/4. 26 June 2009

Mashrique, Md. Shairul, ‘A report on Workers in Shipbreaking Industries: A Baseline survey     Chittagong, Bangladesh’ (Young Power in Social Action (YPSA) and Manusher Jonno Foundation, Bangladesh, 2005)

Young Power in Social Action (YPSA), International Foundation for Human Rights (fidh) and the International Platform on Shipbreaking, CHILDBREAKING YARDS: Child labors in the Ship Recycling Industry, <http://www.shipbreakingplatform.org>

B. Domestic Legislations

Constitution of the Peoples’ Republic of Bangladesh, 1972 to Presidents Order No. 76 of 1972

The Labor Act, 2006, Bangladesh [Act No. XLII of 2006] (Bangladesh)

The Birth and Death Registration Act, 2004, [Act No. XXIX of 2004] (Bangladesh)

The Majority Act 1875, [Act No. IX of 1875] (Bangladesh)

The Contract Act, 1872 [Act No. IX of 1872] (Bangladesh)

The Environment Conservation Act, 1995 [Act No. I of 1995] (Bangladesh)

The Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986 [Act No. LXI of 1986] (India)<http://www.indiacode.nic.in>

C. International laws

The 1989 Basel Convention on the Control of Trans boundary Movements of Hazardous Waste and their Disposal adopted on 22 March, 1989, 1673 U.N.T.S. 126,28I.L.M 657 (entered into force 5 May, 1992

Recommendation no. 146, for Minimum Age for Admission to Employment Adopted at 58th Session of International Labor Conference 26 June, 1973

Convention concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor adopted at the 87th session of International Child Labor Conference 17 June, 1999 and entered into force in 19 Nov, 2000

Recommendation No. 190 Concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor adopted at 87th session of International Child Labor Conference 17 June, 1999

Convention Concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment, adopted at the 58th Session of the International Child Labor Conference (26 June 1973)

Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), GA Res 44/25, opened for signature on 20 November 1989 1577 UNTS 3 (entered into force 2 September 1990)

Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), GA Res 217A (III), UN GAOR, 3rd Session, 183rd meeting, UN Doc A/810 (1948)

The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), opened for signature 16 December 1966, 993UNITS 3 (entered into force 3 January 1976)

International Labor Organisation “Safety and Health in shipbreaking: Guidelines for Asian countries and Turkey” (hereinafter ILO Guidelines), adopted by the Interregional tripartite meeting of Experts in Safety and Health in Shipbreaking, (ILO, Geneva, 2004) <http://www.ilo.org/public/english/region/asro/beijing/download/ship_breaking.pdf.>

Cases

Kazi Ebadul Hoque J. Dr. Mohiuddin Farooque v. Bangladesh and others [1996] 48 Dhaka LR (HCD) 438 at 442

Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association v. Bangladesh and Others [2003] 55 Dhaka LR (HCD) 69 at 79.

Others

World Declaration on ‘the Survival, Protection and Development of Children,’ World Summit for Children 1990

ILO Child Labor: ‘Targeting the Intolerable’, Geneva Publication 1996

International Labour Organisation/UNICEF, Strategies for Eliminating Child Labour: Prevention, Removal, and Rehabilitation- synthesis document (Geneva and new york, 1997)

CESCR Committee, General Comment No. 12: The Right to Adequate Food (Art. 11) (UN Doc. E/C.12/1999/5,1999)

CESCR Committee, General Comment No. 15: The Right to Water (UN Doc. E/C.12/2002/11,2003)

CESR Committee General Comment No. 14: The Right to the Highest Attainable Standard of Health (UN Doc. E/C.12/2000/4.2000)

Charles Kernaghan, ‘Shipbreaking in Bangladesh’ available at <http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=1k0xjamtlt0> accessed on 24/04/2013

United Nations Environment Program, UNEP/CHW6/23, 8 August 2002

Basel Convention, 7th Conference of the Parties, October, 2004 available at<http://www.baselint/ships/techguid.html.>

Ligino, Alessandro and Furio C Rossati, ‘Why do Indian Children Work and Is It Bad for Them?’ [Feb 2006] IZA Discussion Paper No.15 available at <http://SSRN.com/fullpdf.224120>

[1] World Declaration on the Survival, Protection and Development of Children, World Summit for Children 1990 cited in Maaike Jansen M.SC, ‘Children and the right to grow up in an Environment Supporting their Health and Well-being: A Sound Environment Provided for and Encapsulated in the Convention of the Rights of the Child’ in Agata Fijalkowski & Malgosia Fitzmaurice (eds), The Right of the Child to a Clean Environment (Ashgate Publishing, Hants, 2000) 209.

[2] Mohammad Saiful Karim, ‘Violation of Labor Rights in the Ship breaking Yards of Bangladesh: Legal Norms and Reality’ [2009] The International Journal of Comparative Labor Law and Industrial Relations 388-389.

[3] Agata Fijalkowski and Malgosia Fitzmaurice (eds), The right of the Child to a Clean Environment (Ashgate Publishing company, Hants, 2000) 17.

[4] Ravindra Pratap, ‘The implementation of ILO Child Labor Standards in Asia’ in Giuseppe Nesi, Luca Nogler and Marco Pertile (eds), Child Labor in a Globalised World A Legal Analysis of ILO Action (Ashgate Publishing Limited, Hampshire, 2008) 370.

[5] Holly Cullen, ‘The Right of Child Workers to Protection from Environmental Hazards’ in Agata Fijalkowski & Malgosia Fitzmaurice (eds), The Right of the Child to a Clean Environment (Ashgate Publishing, Hants, 2000) 37-38.

[6] ‘ILO Child Labor: Targeting the Intolerable’ (ILO Publication, Geneva, 1996).

[7] Alessandro Fodella, ‘Freedom from Child Labour as a Human Right: The Role of the UN System in Implementing ILO Child Labor Standards’ in Giuseppa Nesi, Luca Nogler and Marco Pertile (eds) Child Labor in a Globalised World: A Legal Analysis of ILO Action (Ashgate publishing Limited, Hampshire, 2008) 209.

[8] Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), opened for signature on 20 November 1989, 1577 UNTS 3 (entered into force 2 September 1990).

[9] Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), GA Res 217A (III), UN GAOR, 3rd Session, 183rd meeting, UN Doc A/810 (10 December 1948) Preamble.

[10] The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), opened for signature 16 December 1966, 993UNTS 3 (entered into force 3 January 1976), Art 6.

[11] CESCR, General Comment No. 14: The Right to the Highest Attainable Standard of Health, UN Doc. E/C.12/2000/4.2000.

[12] Asbjorn Eide and Wenche Barth Eide, ‘Article 24. The Right to Health’ in A. Alen, J. Vande Lanotte, E. Verhellen, F. Ang, E. Berghmans and M. Verheyde (eds) A Commentary on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Leiden, 2006) 5.

[13] Ibid 6.

[14] Ibid 7.

[15] CESCR Committee, General Comment No. 12: The Right to Adequate Food, art. 11 (UN Doc. E/C.12/1999/5, 1999).

[16] CESCR Committee, General Comment No. 15: The Right to Water (UN Doc. E/C.12/2002/11, 2003).

[17] International Labor Organization, Safety and Health in Shipbreaking: Guidelines for Asian countries and Turkey (hereinafter ILO Guidelines), adopted by the Interregional tripartite meeting of Experts in Safety and Health in Shipbreaking (ILO, Geneva, 2004) <http://www.ilo.org/public/english/region/asro/beijing/download/ship_breaking.pdf>.

[18] Constitution of the Peoples’ Republic of Bangladesh 1972 (Bangladesh) (BD Constitution) <http:// www.bdlaws.com >.

[19] Dr. Mohiuddin Farooque v. Bangladesh and others [1996] 48 Dhaka LR (HCD) 438 at 442.

[20] Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association v. Bangladesh and Others [2003] 55 Dhaka LR (HCD) 69 at 79.

[21] The Labor Act 2006 [Act No. XLII of 2006] (Bangladesh) s 74 ( the LA) <http:// www.bdlaws.com >.

[22] Charles Kernaghan, ‘Shipbreaking in Bangladesh’ <http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=1k0xjamtlt0>

[23] The Children Act 1974 [Act No. XXXIX of 1974] (Bangladesh) <http:// www.bdlaws.com >.

[24] Sharmin Aktar and Abu Syead Muhammad Abdullah, ‘Protecting Child labor in Bangladesh: Domestic laws V international Instruments’ (2013) 10(1) Bangladesh e-Journal of Sociology <http://bangladeshsociology.org/bejs> 156.

[25] Young Power in Social Action (YPSA), International Foundation for Human Rights (fidh) and the International Platform on Shipbreaking, ‘CHILDBREAKING YARDS: Child labors in the Ship Recycling Industry’ 18 <http://www.shipbreakingplatform.org>.

[26] Pratap, above n 4, 43.

[27] Basel Convention on the Control of Trans-boundary Movements of Hazardous Waste and their Disposal, adopted 22 March, 1989, 1673 U.N.T.S. 126,28 I.L.M 657 (entered into force 5 May, 1992).

[28] YPSA, fidh and shipbreaking platform, above n 25, 27.

[29] Ibid.

[30] United Nations Environment Program, UNEP/CHW6/23, 8 August 2002.

[31]Basel Convention, 7th Conference of the Parties, October 2004 <http://www.baselint/ships/techguid.html>.

[32] The Environment Conservation Act 1995 [Act No. I of 1995] (Bangladesh) (the EC Act)<http:// www.bdlaws.com >.

[33] Ibid s 12.

[34] Ibid s 4(ka).

[35] Ibid ss 16 & 17.

[36] The LA, s 53.

[37] Ibid s 78.

[38] Md. Saiful Karim, ‘Violation of Labor Rights in the Ship breaking Yards of Bangladesh: Legal Norms and Reality’, The International Journal of Comparative Labor Law and Industrial Relations 18-20.

[39] The LA, s 77.

[40] Ibid s 51.

[41] Ibid s 52.

[42] ICESCR, art 10, para 3.

[43] Convention Concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment, adopted at the 58th Session of the International Child Labor Conference, 26 June 1973 (entered into force 19 June 1976) <www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/index.htm>.

[44] Ibid art 1.

[45] Ibid art 2, paras 3 and 4.

[46] Ibid art 3, paras 1 and 2.

[47] Ibid art 3, para 3.

[48] Recommendation no. 146: Minimum Age for Admission to Employment, adopted at the 58th Session of International Labor Conference 26 June, 1973, art 9.

[49] Ibid art 10.

[50] Convention concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor, adopted at the 87th session of International Child Labor Conference 17 June, 1999 (entered into force in 19 November 2000) art 3 (d).

[51] Ibid.

[52] Recommendation No. 190: The Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor, adopted at 87th session of International Child Labor Conference, 17 June 1999, ss 2 and 3(c-e) and same safeguard is equally provided in CRC, art 7.

[53] BD Constitution, Preamble.

[54] Ibid art 14.

[55] The Birth and Death Registration Act 2004 [Act No. XXIX of 2004] (Bangladesh) <http:// www.bdlaws.com >.

[56] A. Fyzee and M. Jankanish, A Growing Commitment: Examples of Trade Union Action, Trade Union and Child Labor: A Guide to Action, (ILO Publication, Geneva 2002) 31-32.

[57] Ibid.

[58] The Majority Act 1875, [Act No. IX of 1875] (Bangladesh) s 3 <http:// www.bdlaws.com >.

[59] The Contract Act, 1872 [Act No. IX of 1872] (Bangladesh) s 11 <http:// www.bdlaws.com >.

[60] The LA, Ss 5-9.

[61] BD Constitution, art 38.

[62] Ravindra Pratap, ‘The Implementation of ILO Child Labour Standard in Asia: Overview and Selected Issues’ in Giuseppa Nesi, Luca Nogler and Marco Pertile (eds) Child Labor in a Globalised World: A Legal Analysis of ILO Action (Ashgate publishing Limited, Hampshire, 2008) 370-371.

[63] The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observation on Bangladesh, 51st Session, para 41, CRC/C/BGD/60/4, 26 June 2009.

[64] Ibid para 83(d).

[65] Ibid para 85.

[66]The Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986 [Act No. LXI of 1986] (India)<http://www.indiacode.nic.in>

[67] Ibid para 27(a).

[68] Ibid para 43.

[69] Ibid para 25.

[70] Ibid para 83(b) (e).

[71] Ibid para 19(a).

[72] Ibid para 19(b).

[73] Ibid para 39.

[74]Human Rights Watch, Safe Working Condition, The Daily Star (27 APRIL 2013) <http://www.thedailystar.net/beta2/news/hrw-for-safe-working-conditions>.

[75] International Labor Organisation/UNICEF, ‘Strategies for Eliminating Child Labor: Prevention, Removal, and Rehabilitation- synthesis document’ (Geneva and new york, 1997).

[76] Fodella, above n 7, 205.

[77] Ibid.

[78] Ibid.

About The Writer

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Mohammad Zulfikar Ali

Joint District and Sessions Judge

Judge Court, Moulvibazar

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