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Let me extend warmest congratulations to you on behalf of the Jamaican delegation on your election to preside at this the 93rd Session of the International Labour Conference, I also extend to your Vice Presidents our heartiest congratulations.
In the last six years the ILO has been working assiduously to give effect to the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work as an expression of our commitment to ensuring that social progress and economic growth are seen as the pillars of sustained development.
In this regard, we must commend the Director-General for his report on “A Global Alliance against Forced Labour”, which draws attention to the grave threat to humankind that is evidenced in this continued practices, and highlights the insidious forms of forced labour that have recently emerged.
On behalf of the Government of Jamaica I place on record our unequivocal condemnation of all forms of human trafficking and forced labour, even its most recent manifestations, and underscores Jamaica’s commitment to working with local groups and the international community to eliminate this scourge from our midst.
As part of the solution to this wider problem we urge the developed countries to put in place structured programmes so as to accommodate the need for migrant workers from mainly developing countries if we are to prevent illicit work and labour exploitation.
In our particular circumstances, while we have no experience of bonded labour system, or debt bondage, we nevertheless recognise the potential for such newer forms of forced labour to take place among children. We have, in collaboration with the ILO through its IPEC Programme, and through the assistance of the US Department of Labour, identified activities in which children are likely to be involved in forced labour, and have made a number of interventions to eliminate the worst manifestations.
Mr. President, it is quite clear that existing global arrangements will not fulfill the needs of mankind if inequity, social injustice and weak democratic institutions exist anywhere. In a world of growing economic interdependence we all have a collective responsibility to uphold the principles of human dignity, equality and justice, and to provide a safe and secure future for succeeding generations.
The United Nations Millennium Development goals pledge the world’s commitment to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality and empower women, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, ensure environmental sustainability, and develop a global partnership for development.
The tripartite partners in Jamaica are committed to these Millennium Development goals and reaffirm our faith in the fundamental principle and right of all persons to achieve their full potential on the basis of equality of opportunity and a fair share of the wealth they have produced.
In this regard, the continued search for meaningful employment for young people becomes a matter of extreme urgency. At present we witness a world in which 47 percent of the approximately 190 million unemployed persons globally are youth.
There is an estimated 59 million young persons between the age of 15 and 17 years who are engaged in hazardous forms of work. In another ten years, an estimated 1 billion young person will be entering the world of work, and the question we must ask ourselves, is what future is there for the youth under globalisation?
In this regard, the continued search for meaningful employment for young people becomes a matter of extreme urgency. At present we witness a world in which 47 percent of the approximately 190 million unemployed persons globally are youth.
There is an estimated 59 million young persons between the age of 15 and 17 years who are engaged in hazardous forms of work. In another ten years, an estimated 1 billion young person will be entering the world of work, and the question we must ask ourselves, is what future is there for the youth under globalisation?
Our efforts through the Caricom single market and economy have been directed towards developing policies which promote labour-intensive investments in economic and social infrastructure, providing full and equal access to training opportunities on a lifelong learning basis.
The Government is committed to enhancing the quality of work and employment through safeguarding the fundamental rights of workers, and creating opportunities for the disabled and the elderly as special groups within our society.
For the disadvantaged, dispossessed as well as the unemployed youth, the momentum must be accelerated and hope rekindled. We as Governments, Employers and Workers – gathered here for the 93rd Session of the International Labour Conference – must recommit ourselves to the fundamental principles and right at work; and recognize that so long as our objectives remain noble and our cause remain just, we cannot fail in our pursuit of an equitable and fair world for the next generation.