Pope speaks out against child labour
    Pope John Paul II has declared in a telegram to the Director-General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) that 'noone can remain indifferent to the suffering of countless children who fall victim to intolerable exploitation and violence'.
    The Holy Father sent the message on Sunday, the day the ILO released its Convention on Child labour.
    Child labour is a phenomenon that affects 120 million children worldwide, Vatican Radio reported. The ILO's new juridical instrument is an attempt by the international community to combat some of the extreme manifestations of these abuses, such as child prostitution, the use of children for illicit activities, and all forms of work which can damage children physically or morally.
    In the telegram, sent by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Pope applauded the convention's objectives and is confident that it 'will be a major contribution to the defence of children who are powerless to defend themselves against the harm done to them by individuals in whom the voice of conscience has been silenced, or by social structures that enable the strong to trample on the rights of the weak'.