After parliamentarians failure to curb it,Would junior MPs succeed in combating child labour? [Archives:2004/757/Business & Economy]

July 22 2004

Mahyoub Al-Kamaly
The children parliament has placed the child labour phenomenon, which spreads among children of ages ranging 6-14 year old and is growing at an annual rate of 6.4%, at the top of its priority issues agenda for the coming period.
The parliament has formed four committees, including a committee for discussion of the child labour phenomenon and following it up with the concerned parties, in its bid for working out a strategy curbing the leaking of schoolchildren from school and go to labour market.
The question, however, is whether the junior parliamentarians could succeed in resolving a problem the adults have so far failed to resolve, especially under data of official figures confirming that the expansion of the phenomenon of poverty and its acuteness is aggravating the problem of child labour. It is because of the need of their families for financial resources coming through employing their children in the labour market and in jobs exposing them to dangers and acts of violence.
These parliamentarians say their parliamentary committee, set up for dealing with combating this phenomenon, has discusses with representatives from the ministries of social affairs and labour and human rights as well as the higher council for motherhood and childhood, the causes motivating the child labour. They also added that the committee would prepare its recommendations and decisions and place them before the officials of the state so that to guarantee their being put into force as part of intensive efforts meant for solving the problem in a radical way.
The committee's plans are concentrated on attracting the attention of the concerned parties in the effort for dealing with and tackling the causes of child labour, mainly the encouragement of families for urging females to attend the basic education stage. Figures in this regard mention that 51.4% of females under the banner of child labour have never before attended education institutes. The task of the committee seems complicated in the face of an issue involving working children totaling about 500 thousand, 95% pf them working in the countryside with their families in agriculture and without getting wages. This matter necessarily means there must be a driving of government efforts towards enrollment of children in basic education stage.
The national strategy for combating poverty had diagnosed reasons behind child labour phenomenon as ascribed to assisting the family by a rate of 71%. The cause of family poverty and the father unemployment or death forms 15.3%. Among other reasons of child labour is the children's abstention from joining schools and their non-desire to do so and their failure in schools at a rate of 19.4%. Other reasons occupy a percentage of 3.3%.
Academics say the formation of committee concerned with the effort of fighting child labour by the children parliament actually comes as part of a media campaign reminding the concerned sides about the importance of following up the phenomenon and curbing it because the problem needs continuous government efforts.
According to the report issued by the higher council for motherhood and childhood, families of street children are known of the large number of their members amounting to 7 to 9. In addition, some families' members exceed 12. Statements indicate that fathers of children working on labour market are from marginalized segments of the society; most of them are unemployed, while 63.5% of mothers of those children do not work and 13.6% works in agriculture and 9.3% at cleaning work field.
Despite of those complications, members of children parliament members stress they would devote all their efforts towards fighting child labour through discussions and dialogues the juvenile committee would hold with the concerned sides in an attempt to reach a clear-cut mechanism limiting the phenomenon in future and help protect children against dangers of work at labour market, at an early age.