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Ministry calls for collective responsibility to end child labour

Children work in sugarcane plantation. File Photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development has called for collective responsibility to end child labour in the country.

Aggrey Kibenge, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development says the country is not lacking laws and policies against child labour, but there is a need for collective responsibility.

Last week, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni announced fresh restrictions as part of measures to control the COVID-19 transmissions in the country in face of the second wave of the pandemic.

Among the fresh restrictions, the president directed the closure of all educational institutions across the country for 42 days.

According to Kibenge, following the closure of schools, cases of child labour will be rampant in communities. He asked parents and community leaders to utilize the sauti 116 child helpline to report cases.

A report by Save the Children in 2020 indicated that the number of children engaged in child labour increased by 56% during the lockdown.

According to the Uganda National Household survey of 2016/17, a total of about 248,000 children out of the 14, 984,929 aged between five to 14 years were engaged in some form of child labour.

Sam Lyomoki, the General Secretary of the Central Organisation of Free Trade Union (COFTU), says the government needs to go beyond policies and address the conditions that push the child into child labour activities like poverty among families.

The Initiative for Social and Economic Rights (ISER), a civil society that promotes economic and social rights in its report released ahead of the day against child labour recommends that government and donors should prioritize cash allowances to protect children’s rights and enable families to maintain an adequate standard of living without resorting to child labour.

Every year on June 12, is observed worldwide as ‘World Day against Child Labour’. The UN General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution to declare the year 2021 as the international year for the elimination of child labour. It urged the international community to step up for the cause.



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