KIARA: President Must Fulfil and Ensure Children’s Rights to Freedom from Dangerous Work

Jakarta, July 4th, 2013. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) have urged UN member states to provide maximum protection for children from hazardous work in the small-scale fisheries sector, both fishing and aquaculture.

In Indonesia, there are at least 1.7 million children working in dangerous occupations, including fisheries, mining, quarrying, agriculture, domestic service, and the service industry (BPS, 2011).

FAO and ILO mention 7  dangerous jobs carried out by children in the fisheries sector, namely (1) lifting or carrying heavy loads, (2) exploitation of children for the manufacture and repair of ships, involving work with hazardous materials, (3) the use of heavy equipment and dangerous materials, (3) the fish management process, often involving using a sharp knife or using toxic substances, (4) diving to excessive depths; (5) they are out at sea for hours on end without a life-jacket, (6) performing the curing of fish using unsafe ovens, and (7) the use of chemicals such as pesticides or disinfectants in aquaculture.

The Government of Indonesia has ratified ILO Convention No. 182 concerning the Prohibition of and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour and ILO Convention No. 138 concerning the Minimum Age for Employment. Both conventions are then ratified into Law No. 1 of 2000 endorsing ILO Convention No. 182 concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour and Law No. 20, Year 1999, on the ratification of ILO Convention No. 138 concerning the Minimum Age for Admission to Employment.

Following the development of the above actions, the Government of Indonesia has formulated a National Action Plan through Presidential Decree No. 59 of 2002 to remove the worst forms of child labour, including children who work in offshore fisheries.

KIARA found the fact there are still many children who are forced to become workers in the fisheries sector. An example can be seen in the fishing village of Marunda Kepu, Cilincing District, North Jakarta. Every day, at least 10 children work peeling green mussels for 5 hours and produce 2-3kg of peeled mussels per day. Wages they receive Rp 2,500 per kilogram. Ironically, they use sharp knives and must peel the green mussels when they are still hot following the boiling process.

In 2003, the Indonesian Government issued Law No. 23 of 2003 on Child Protection. The law requires the State to protect children regardless of religion, race / ethnicity, gender, culture, and language and physical/ mental condition.

On the basis of what is stated above, KIARA urges President SBY to:

  1. Execute the mandate of Law Number 23 of 2003 on Protection of Children and periodically check the situation on the ground so that the basic rights children of Indonesia can be met, such as the right to free and quality basic education, and to be free from hazardous work.
  2. Evaluate the performance of the Minister of Marine Areas and Fisheries in addressing the main impacts of children engaging in hazardous work, including poverty due to the development of unfavourable policies, such as reclamation which has displaced traditional fishing areas and fishing residences, as well as limiting access to and control of food source offered by fisheries.
  3. Guarantee social protection for families of fishermen, through measures such as capital to go to sea, healthcare, and other basic rights. ***

For further information, please contact:

Susan Herawati, Planning and Evaluation Coordinator KIARA

at +62 838 76 438 438

Abdul Halim, Secretary KIARA

at +62 815 53100 259