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Cablegate: Vietnam: Launch of Child Labor Cooperation Project

Published: Tue 25 Feb 2003 06:40 AM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HANOI 000448
SIPDIS
SENSITIVE
STATE PASS USDOL ILAB
STATE ALSO PASS USAID FOR ANTOINETTE FERRARA
STATE ALSO PASS USTR FOR EBRYAN
PHNOM PENH FOR USAID
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB EAID ECON ETRD VM HUMANR LABOR
SUBJECT: VIETNAM: LAUNCH OF CHILD LABOR COOPERATION PROJECT
REF: 02 HANOI 2914
1. (U) SUMMARY: On February 18, the sixth and final U.S.
Department of Labor (USDOL) funded project, the National
Program for the Prevention and Elimination of Child Labor,
officially commenced. This project focuses on the
prevention and elimination of child labor by strengthening
the capacity of government, mass organizations and civil
society to address the problems of the worst forms of child
labor through the prevention, protection and removal from
dangerous work of children who are at the greatest risk. As
Vietnam's economy transforms, there has been both a dramatic
fall in the numbers of children participating in economic
activities and the growth of new forms of vulnerabilities.
Prior to this project Vietnam had already begun to address
the issue through such actions as the ratification of ILO
Convention 182. However, this program presents an
opportunity to bring together the various stakeholders in a
more cohesive and comprehensive approach. END SUMMARY.
2. (U) Continuing implementation of the 2000 U.S.-Vietnam
Memorandum of Understanding on Labor (MOU) and its
accompanying technical assistance programs (see reftel), the
U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) funded National Program for
the Prevention and Elimination of Child Labor was officially
launched on February 18. This 30-month, $500,000 program
focuses on the prevention and elimination of child labor by
strengthening the capacity of government, mass organizations
and civil society to address the problems of the worst forms
of child labor through the prevention, protection and
removal from dangerous work of children who are at the
greatest risk. It is being executed by the International
Labor Organization (ILO) Program on the Elimination of Child
Labor (IPEC) in collaboration with Vietnam's Ministry of
Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA), the Ministry of
Education and Training, provincial governments, Vietnam
General Confederation of Labor (VGCL), the Vietnam Chamber
of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), and the Vietnam Cooperative
Alliance (VCA). These bodies will cooperate to carry out
research, raise awareness, review national laws, and promote
the creation of community-based monitoring of child labor.
In addition to working to progressively eliminate child
labor in selected hazardous sectors by removing a total of
approximately 1500 children from work, the program will
provide these children with social protection services.
Furthermore, recognizing that the issue of the child labor
cannot be resolved without creating alternative sources of
income, the program will enable family members of former
working children to access income generation and training
activities.
3. (U) At the official launch ceremony, speakers from
MOLISA, the ILO, the provinces and Embassy highlighted
Vietnam's continuing efforts in this area, including the
ratification of ILO Convention 182 on the Prohibition and
Immediate Action on the Worst Forms of Child Labor and the
creation of a Draft National Plan of Action on Child Labor.
They pointed out that as Vietnam's economy transforms, there
has been, in general terms, a dramatic fall in the numbers
of children participating in economic activities. However,
reports indicate a rise in internal migration and the
numbers of displaced and unregistered families and children
found in urban centers. Children and young people can now
be found in informal work arrangements that are unsupervised
and unregulated. U.S. DCM emphasized that we are especially
concerned about children, who work long hours, sometimes
away from home, under exploitative, socially unjust or
hazardous conditions, with little or no pay, and who are
deprived of their right to health, education and future
development.
4. (SBU) COMMENT AND RECOMMENDATION: The GVN, having
approved the project in March 2002, has been anxiously
awaiting its launch while the ILO worked through its own
internal process. A number of issues still need to be
addressed between USDOL and the National Project Manager.
Post therefore, recommends that the USDOL International
Program Analyst come to Vietnam as soon as possible for in-
country consultations.
5. (SBU) COMMENT CONT'D: With this program underway, all
six projects outlined in the bilateral MOU have begun. As
we approach this year's bilateral labor dialogue, the future
of this excellent cooperation program should be discussed.
While the approval process was neither quick nor easy, the
GVN is enthusiastically implementing all six projects with
excellent results. The MOU has provided an important tool to
advancing labor issues in Vietnam. Post recommends
consideration of additional programs that could fall under
the MOU.
BURGHARDT
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