On Friday 16 July, the Liberia Fair Share to End Child Labour campaign was formally launched, with the support of Nobel Laureates Leymah Gbowee and Kailash Satyarthi, Assistant Minister for Children and Social Protection the Hon. Maminah Carr, and leading youth activists Satta F. Sheriff and Hulaimatu C. Diallo. The event also welcomed the input of the German Department for International Cooperation (GIZ).
The Liberian Fair Share campaign is being convened by the youth-led 100 Million Liberia campaign, and its national coordinator Ewelle Williams co-hosted the event along with Hildah Nyarkoa of the All-Africa Students' Union. Members of the national Fair Share campaign include the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa, the Independent Human Rights Council of Liberia, Action for Justice and Human Rights, and the Liberia National Students' Union.
Many children are being forced into labour across Liberia. Thousands of children in Liberia are still missing out on primary education.... We need more children in schools. We need practical action against child labour. If we create better economic opportunities for families, children will not be sent out to be enslaved.
Leymah Gbowee, Nobel Peace Laureate, Liberia
Alongside the esteemed Nobel Laureates and campaign partners, the Liberia launch was supported by the Liberian Ministry for Labour and the Ministry for Children and Social Protection.
I cannot say here, as a government minister, that there is no child labour in Liberia. This is because child labour is not a standalone issue. Children are being sent from areas with no services on the pretense they will be sent to schools and have access to social services.
Hon. Maminah Carr, Assistant Minister for Children and Social Protection, Liberia
Youth activist and former speaker of the Liberia Children's Parliament, Hulaimatu C. Diallo reaffirmed Assistant Minister Carr's rationale for the number of child labourers in Liberia and spoke passionately of the reality on the ground for many children.
Child trafficking is a huge problem in Liberia. You see so many children selling on the streets of Monrovia. People are taking them, using them... Everyone says young people are the future of the country, but children are not protected.
Hulaimatu C. Diallo, child rights advocate and former Speaker of the Children's Parliament, Liberia
The Fair Share Liberia campaign will shortly be delivering its demands for accelerated action in Liberia to end child labour.
You can watch the launch in full here.