The government should ban child labour and frame a policy on domestic labour to safeguard the rights of children, participants of a demonstration in front of the Punjab Assembly said on Friday.
The demonstration was organised for World Day Against Child Labour by the Children Advocacy Network (CAN).
CAN spokesman Rashida Qureshi said this year’s theme was No to Child Labour: Yes to Quality Education. She said it was important to highlight the need for education as a way to tackle child labour. She said the Punjab government had launched a project to eliminate bonded labour and had allocated Rs5159.629 million for this purpose. “Timely implementation of the project is required,” she said. She said the government should pass The Restriction of Children’s Employment Bill pending in the assembly.
Qureshi said some 40 children had died this year after they were brutalised by their employers.
Strengthening Participatory Organisation (SPO) regional head Salman Abid said the federal government had ratified several conventions on the rights of child.
He said Article 2 of ILO Convention 138 had set the minimum age for employment at 15 years. He said Article 25-A of the Constitution of Pakistan had provided clear guidelines for schooling age (five to 16 years).
Working Women Organization Executive Director Aima Mehmood said child labour was against spirit of the Article 25-A of the Constitution.
She said this was a violation of a child’s right to education, health and nutrition.
She said children must be protected from abuse, violence and exploitation. She said the Punjab government must include child domestic labour in the schedule of hazardous occupations.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 13th, 2015.