SUKKUR: The government should focus on education for all children, demanded various organisations who gathered on Saturday to observe the World Day Against Child Labour.
Pakistan endorsed the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child in 1990 that urges governments to protect children from work that threatens their health, education or development, said Dr Sono Khangharani, the Sindh Rural Support Organisation CEO.
Article 32 of the same convention deals specifically with the issue and calls for protecting children from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is harmful to the child’s health or physical, mental, moral or social development, Dr Khangharani added.
The Human Development Society (HDS) called for an end to child labour, following a report on its Child Rights Situation Analysis which indicated that child labour was pervasive in Pakistan. According to its CEO, Dr Shakeel Ahmed Jameel, children are found working in almost every economic sector in the country. Many of them are traditionally and economically bonded and work in hazardous occupations, including working with chemicals, pesticides and in mines. “Children are also working in the industries and construction work,” he added.
Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (Sparc) has asked the government and the civil society to ensure every child receives education in order to combat child labour. Sparc said it was feared that the present economic and food crises would further heighten poverty, adding that the figures of child labourers might surge.
In Hyderabad, the speaker and members of a ‘Sparc Children’s Parliament’ have urged authorities to help eliminate child labour and ensure that children go to school instead.
Addressing a news conference on Saturday, speaker of the children’s parliament Aman Khan said that even today, millions of children are being forced to work. According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, there are 10 million children working in bangle factories, brick kilns, carpet factories, agricultural fields, workshops and homes.
They said that a survey on child labour was conducted by the government 16 years ago and since then, no survey has been carried out.
Published in the Express Tribune, June 13th, 2010.
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