Child labor, a sore spot in US’ human rights record

 Child labor, a sore spot in US’ human rights record

A young girl tends the spinning machine at a cotton mill in North Carolina. File photo: VCG

On May 30, US President Joe Biden said at a Memorial Day ceremony in Delaware, “We could do nothing but speak out for human rights around the world because that’s who we are.” 

Not long ago at the US-China High-Level Strategic Dialogue in Anchorage, Biden’s National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan also boasted, “A confident country is able to look hard at its own shortcomings.”

Should the US be truly confident and introspective, they are supposed to look hard into their own labor problems, in particular their “dark history” of child labor, with the World Day Against Child Labor (June 12) approaching.

The US brands its core values as “democracy,” “liberty,” and “human rights,” stressing their focus on child development and portraying the US children as the happiest and most carefree world over. However, what is less known is that the US is the only country in the world that has not ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). Abusing child labor has been a long-standing labor rights issue in that country.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) has been expressing concerns over the US’ child labor problem for years and repeatedly urged the US government to take measures to address this issue. However, the US has done nothing to address it. Using child labor is not only a proof of the US’ gross violation of labor rights, but also proof of its double standards on…

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