‘Post card drive’ for ban on domestic child labour
LAHORE: The Child Rights Movement (CRM), a network of 28 organisations, launched on Thursday a ‘post card campaign’ to protect child rights, urging the provincial government to take immediate steps to notify Child Domestic Labour (CDL) in the list of banned occupations under the Employment of Children (Amended) Act 2011.
The CRM showed its concern at the growing incidence of violence against children working as domestic servants.
“During the post card campaign starting from Aug 30, around 5,000 post cards will be sent from different segments of life like NGOs, parliamentarians, civil society and academia to Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif amid demand for imposing a ban on CDL,” says child rights activist Iftikhar Mubarik while sharing various issues relating to child domestic labour at a post card launching ceremony.
He said the CDL referred to situations where children (up to 18 years) performed domestic tasks under exploitative circumstances.
“These children work behind closed doors in the privacy of other people’s homes. It is this lack of visibility that greatly increases the potential for exploitation and abuse of these children,” he added.
He said the CDL was a contemporary form of slavery and violation of UNCRC, ILO conventions 138, 182 and 189 ratified by the Pakistan government.
Speaking on the occasion, CRM focal person Syed Miqdad Naqvi said it was responsibility of the state to make necessary legislation for compliance of these international instruments and initiate schemes for rehabilitation of child domestic workers through education and skill training besides making social safety nets available to families of workers.
He said the CDL was not included in schedule of banned occupations and processes under the Employment of Children (Amended) Act 2011, despite growing issues of murder and other abuse and exploitation with children. Another CRM member, Sajjad Cheema, said the movement would continuously follow up the issue with authorities until a ban on CDL.
Chief Guest Punjab Labour Minister Haji Ehsanuddin Qureshi said though the Punjab government was making all efforts to curb the issue of child labour through sustainable efforts, it needed the help and support from civil society.
Earlier, Mr Qureshi launched the campaign by signing the post card.
He also assured the CRM of his full cooperation in seriously examining the severity of the issue by playing his effective role for banning such occupation.
The CRM also demanded of the Punjab government to properly implement the Article 25-A of the Constitution to provide free and compulsory education to all children aged between 5 and 16 without any discrimination. CRM member Salman Abid, journalist Absaar Abdul Ali and educationist Dr Anjum Zia also spoke on the occasion.