End Child Labour Now – World Day against Child Labour Observed

Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) organized a session to observe the World Day against Child Labour with support of Save the Children at local hotel on Saturday. The participants, which also included children, urged the provincial government to take meaningful steps to abolish child labour in Punjab, classifying domestic child labour as a form of modern-day slavery.
Chief Guest, Mr. Ejaz Alam Augustine, Provincial Minister for Human Rights, Punjab said Pakistan is signatory to several international conventions which demand immediate and effective measures to eradicate child Labour and forced Labour in all their forms. These commitments require urgent action on eradication of child Labour. Through provision of quality education and punitive action in case of violence against children. The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1973, contains provisions pertaining to child labour.
He mentioned that the government is very much aware of the issues, the government is primly focusing on child Labour. Measures are taken to provide quality education for children. He also added that Child labour survey to be completed this year.
Ms. Sara Ahmed, Chairperson, Child Protection & Welfare Bureau, Punjab said Child Labour is one of the major issues related to the child protection not only in Pakistan but all over the world. She added that Pakistan acknowledges forced labour, slavery and external trafficking in documents although a lot of administrative measures are still required to completely eradicate this evil practice. Role of Child Protection & welfare Bureau, Punjab in this regard was also highlighted by Ms. Sara Ahmed.
Mr. Khalil Ahmed, Program Manager, SPARC mentioned that Pakistan already has the second largest population of out-of-school children in the world and the COVID-19 pandemic has forced hundreds of thousands of others to drop out and join work force. He further added despite legislation, child labour has increased in the province due to weak and conflicting nature of the available laws and policies. He mentioned without a uniform age for ‘definition of child’ in all the laws, it’s practically impossible to counter child labour. Similarly, the institutions monitoring and taking action against child labour must also be strengthened.
Ms. Hina Pervaiz Butt and Ms. Raheela Khadim Hussain Member Provincial Assembly, Punjab said that immediate action is required by the government to increase age of adulthood and employment to 18 years in all legislations and outlaw the child domestic labor as modern form of slavery.
Mr. Waqas Abid Advocate, Coordinator Child Rights Movement Punjab, said that there is no concrete data available in the country on Child Labour but it estimated around 12 million. Government of Pakistan in collaboration with UNICEF has initiated a National level survey in 2019, results are awaited. He added that without knowing the exact data of child involved in work force, concrete actions can’t be taken especially in case of Child Domestic Labour which is very difficult to monitor.

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