The Mozambican government will benefit, over the next three years, from grants of 1.2 million US dollars to strengthen the fight against the worst forms of child labour, particular in the areas where tobacco is grown.
To this end, the Ministry of Labour and the End Child Labour in Tobacco Growing Foundation (ECLT) signed in Maputo on Wednesday a memorandum of understanding to create a platform of interaction to strengthen the rights of children, particularly those in situations of poverty and vulnerability.
Labour Minister Vitoria Diogo told the signing ceremony that the memorandum is a response to the government's concern at the scenario of thousands of children involved in the worst forms of child labour in Mozambique, endangering their healthy development.
The government was therefore seeking "partnerships nationally and internationally so that we can put into practice measures that will restrict the worst forms of child labour".
She noted that, across the globe, about 68 million children are involved n work regarded as dangerous, and it is the responsibility of governments and their partners to take measures ensuring that children grow up, are educated and work in a healthy environment so that they become citizens useful to society.
"It is important to bear in mind that children are not banned from working, but it has to be work appropriate for their age", she said. "They must work in preparation for becoming useful citizens, they must work but continue to be children".
Parents and guardians, Diogo added, should consider that children must go to school. They can help their parents, but must also have time to play and to be children
It is hoped that implementation of the memorandum will lead to mass publicity for the first government approved list of jobs dangerous for children.
The ECLT Executive Director, David Hammond, said his organisation is attempting to eliminate child labour in the tobacco growing areas. ECLT has been working in Mozambique for over ten years, trying to eradicate child labour in the western province of Tete.
"We want children in these areas to have access to education and to everything else that other children do", he said.
The National Director of Labour, Isabel Mate, explained that the project will cover such areas as community education and training, awareness and communication, institutional capacity building and revising the legal framework.
"Through this project, we want to implement professional training programmes to benefit the households affected by the worst forms of child labour, particularly those involved in tobacco growing, so as to guarantee funds and alternative sources of income", she said.
Mate added that influential members of the community and other authorities will be trained in questions of child labour and awareness-raising messages will be broadcast on the community radios in Portuguese and in local languages.
Within ten days the two parties to the memorandum will set up technical teams to draw up a plan to put the memorandum into operation.
According to a study undertaken by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), in 2017 there were about 1.4 million children involved in child labour in Mozambique.
Child labour is at its worst in informal mining, the carrying of heavy goods, commercial agriculture, particularly in the cotton and tobacco fields, informal trade, fisheries, and sexual exploitation.
Published on All Africa on June 28, 2018
By Alex Gitta
A new law introduced in 2016 which criminalizes child labor has failed to stop exploitation due to inadequate implementation. More than 2 million children in Uganda are estimated to be affected.
Thirteen-year-old Bugembe is just one of more than 2 million children in Uganda who are currently being exploited as child laborers.
"I am not in school because I have no school fees, so I sell my uncle's polythene bags in Nakasero Market and I get here at 5 am – I have not been here for long," he told DW.
His work means he often stays in Kampala city until late in the evening and must be careful to avoid the yellow-clad Kampala City Council workers who arrest street vendors.
Bugembe says his uncle does not pay him for his work. But he still hopes to one day return to schooland realize his dream of becoming a doctor.
Unfortunately, Bugembe's situation is not unique. In Ruti market near Mbarara in Western Uganda, DW met 13-year-old Colins Turyamuhaki, who earns a living by packing sacks of bananas. But he also must take on the responsibility of paying his own school fees, as well as those of his younger brother.
"I pack bags. For each bag I am paid 3000 (€0.70; $0.85) or 2000 shillings, but in a day I can pack like three or four. So I use this money to buy books and school fees, and then my parents also top-up when they can," he told DW.
Turyamuhaki only manages to take a break once all of the banana trucks have left for Kampala. In the afternoon, he helps shoppers in the market carry their goods for a fee. Then in the evening, he sells fruit on the streets of Mbarara. He only hopes he will earn enough to complete his education. "I know this kind of work will never make me rich, so I want to make enough money to see me through school."
Children not aware of their rights
The Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) claims 45% of children from households living below the poverty line are forced out of school to work and supplement their parents' incomes, with children aged between 5 and 17 years the worst at risk.
But although the government approved the Children Amendment Act in 2016, which officially criminalizes child labor, follow-ups on identified cases are often not carried out.
The majority of human rights officers wait for affected children to report their cases first. However, not all children are aware of their rights when it comes to child labor.
Teopista Twembi works with the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) in Mbarara. She says that this responsibility ultimately comes down to the parents.
"They are supposed to do what is in line with their age – we want to guide the parents who we find are using these children to do work which is really beyond their age, and we condemn it," she told DW. "If a child reports [child labor], then that's an issue we can handle, because we listen to this child and we call on the parents or the responsible person, and we guide them accordingly."
Implementation of child labor laws remains weak
But bodies, including the UHRC, who are required to tackle child labor say many challenges come with the job – not least of which is the lack of will among the country's leaders to implement the laws, as they seek political popularity.
Despite the challenges, however, Jeremiah Kamurari, the chairperson of Isingiro District, says he is committed to seeing the law implemented in his district.
"I am going to ensure that no child within this area is doing such hard labor. All children must go to school," Kamurari said, adding that serious measures would be taken if the law is not followed: "We must apprehend the parents, arrest them and prosecute them, because the future of these children lies in their hands. If they misuse it, the children will also become a problem for the government in the future. I will not allow this."
But with limited funds available, this still leaves families headed by children with no adults to prosecute in an uncertain situation.
Published on DW on February 8, 2018
By Susan Raqib
Rahimullah, a 15-year-old Afghan boy, told Human Rights Watch last year that he has worked as a brick maker for five years, working from 4:00 a.m. until nightfall.
“My smaller siblings also work,” he said. “When they turn five, they start working... It’s not just one thing we do; there are a lot of things to do in the brick business – go clear the ground, take the shovel, bring the pickaxe, do this thing, bring me the bucket… the point is, everyone works.”
In Afghanistan, years of armed conflict have fueled poverty, and by extension, child labor. At least a quarter of Afghan children aged five to 14 work to support their families – often for long hours and with little or no pay.
This year’s World Day against Child Labor focuses on the impact of conflict and natural disasters on the issue. About 250 million children live in areas affected by armed conflict, and another 70 million are affected by natural disasters. In total, 168 million children around the world are pressed into child labor.
In conflicts and disasters, parents may lose their jobs, and schools may be destroyed. With few other options, children often begin working. Migrant and refugee children are especially vulnerable to child labor. Children can end up separated from their parents, and need to support themselves, or may feel pressure to help support their families. For example, around 60 percent of Syrian refugee families in Jordan rely on money earned by children, due to inadequate aid and dwindling family funds.
Desperate economic circumstances often lead to child labor, but putting kids to work is no solution to extreme poverty. In fact, research showsthat child labor perpetuates poverty. Many children who work miss out on an education, and become less likely to find well-paying jobs as adults.
Kids shouldn’t have to sacrifice their health, safety, and education to help their families make ends meet. Governments should make providing an education for children affected by war and disasters a top priority, and help their parents access decent work too. Urgent action is needed, so that children like Rahimullah can have the chance to just be a kid.
Published on HRW on June 12, 2017.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child sets out the rights that must be realized for children to develop their full potential, free from hunger and want, neglect and abuse. It reflects a new vision of the child. Children are neither the property of their parents nor are they helpless objects of charity. They are human beings and are the subject of their own rights. The Convention offers a vision of the child as an individual and as a member of a family and community, with rights and responsibilities appropriate to his or her age and stage of development. By recognizing children's rights in this way, the Convention firmly sets the focus on the whole child.