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Govt, lawmakers urged to address domestic child labour
The National Commission on the Rights of Child (NCRC) in collaboration with Unicef formally launched its policy brief and survey on child labour in Islamabad on Tuesday. The policy brief examined the issue of child domestic labour from a legal perspective primarily focusing on prevailing laws and enforcement mechanisms. It made recommendations to legislators, policymakers, government agencies and development practitioners to address the issue of child domestic labour.
National Commission on the Rights of Child (NCRC) Chairperson Afshan Tehseen stressed on the need for addressing loopholes in the existing laws on child domestic labour at the federal and provincial level. She said many laws still lacked implementation mechanisms and rules and the commission was following up with concerned departments at the federal and provincial level.
The NCRC presented the findings of the policy brief on the legal framework on child domestic labour before the participants, highlighting the national and international commitments and gaps dealing with the issue. It said only extreme violent cases of child domestic labour were reported.
The commission welcomed the enactment of the Islamabad Capital Territory Domestic Workers Act in October 2022 that bars employment of children in Islamabad Capital Territory under the age of 16 years in compliance with Article 25 (A) of the constitution and provinces must also raise the minimum age for child labour to 16 years.
Daniela Luciani, the chief of Child Protection at Unicef, shared the findings of knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) survey on child labour and violent discipline.
She said in Pakistan more than 12.5 million children, nearly 16 per cent of the child population, were known to be involved in child labour with 13 to 14 per cent of them aged five to 17 years.
Moreover, she said an average of 34 per cent of survey respondents reported that child labour could cause a child to feel inferior due to not being able to attend school.
When listing harmful consequences of child labour, an average of 27pc adult respondents said child labour carried a risk of sexual abuse and exploitation; 42pc of adult respondents reported that child labour carried a risk of physical abuse.
Talking on violent discipline, she said 81pc of children in Punjab, 80pc in Sindh, 82pc in KP had experienced some sort of violence.
Senator Rubina Khalid said awareness was the key to success, adding that the media needed to concentrate on the real issues.
Joint Secretary Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, Mohammad Wishaq discussed the role and efforts of the ministry to eliminate child labour.
Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2022


Labour Education Foundation