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ILO, EU and Unicef launch bid to tackle child labour in Sabah
Published on: Wednesday, June 12, 2024
By: FMT
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ILO, EU and Unicef launch bid to tackle child labour in Sabah
The project will reach children and young people as well as their families, both documented and undocumented, living and working in and around oil palm plantations in Tawau, Sabah.
PETALING JAYA: The International Labour Organization, European Union and United Nations Children’s Fund have launched an 18-month programme to address child labour in Sabah, particularly in Tawau’s oil palm industry.

In a joint statement, the three bodies said the programme, which will run until June 2025, seeks to protect the rights of children in Tawau’s oil palm plantations, and provide them with better access to education and training opportunities.

They said the project will reach children and young people as well as their families, both documented and undocumented, living and working in and around oil palm plantations in Tawau.

Among others, it looks to produce a replicable education and training model, and formulate a joint roadmap between the Malaysian government and the United Nations for the eradication of child labour and other related child rights issues in Sabah.

“Children of oil palm plantation workers face numerous barriers to accessing alternative employment opportunities. These include lack of documentation, discrimination, isolation, and limited access to education.

“In this context, it is common for young persons aged 16 and above from the plantation community to be engaged as workers in plantations. Without training and skill enhancement, young workers tend to remain in the high-risk and low-paid sector, making it difficult to break out of the vicious cycle of poverty,” they said.

According to the 2018 Employment Survey in Plantations, an estimated 33,600 children aged five to 17 work in the oil palm industry, with Sabah accounting for 58.8% of the total, or about 19,800 children.

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