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Ending Child Labor: A Role for International Human Rights Law (with Meron Makonnen)

By James J. Silk and Meron Makonnen

Abstract

All over the world, children are weaving carpets, cutting and polishingprecious stones, assembling shoes, cutting and sewing garments, mining fordiamonds, gold, silver, and tin, cutting sugar cane, harvesting fruit, coffee, andother crops, manufacturing toys, sporting goods and appliances, and workingas domestic servants, street vendors, herders, migrant workers, and prostitutes.These children often work long hours with dangerous tools and machines andare exposed to hazardous chemicals, polluted air, and infectious diseases.They are denied the education that is their right and deprived of prospects foreven minimally prosperous and healthy lives.The economic exploitation of children has generated an expanding set ofinternational legal standards designed to protect children from the harmful anddangerous effects of child labor. These standards, although well established,have suffered from many of the same practical weaknesses that have limitedthe effectiveness of international human rights law generally. This dilemma -strong legal norms but weak enforcement mechanisms - has contributed to arecent rise in private action to prevent child labor. These private initiativesutilize the standards embedded in international law and may, in turn, contributeto an evolution that will ultimately transform principles into effective,enforceable, legal norms

Topics: child labor, international law, human rights, Human Rights Law, International Law, Labor and Employment Law, Law, Legal Writing and Research
Publisher: Yale Law School Legal Scholarship Repository
Year: 2003
OAI identifier: oai:digitalcommons.law.yale.edu:fss_papers-5498
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