Current Date:

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Child Labour: Children under the Age of 15 should not Work because they Lack Legislative and Social Protection

Not all work done by children should be classified as child labour that is to be targeted for elimination. Children’s or adolescents’ participation in work that does not affect their health and personal development or interfere with their schooling is generally regarded as being something positive. This includes activities such as helping their parents around the home, assisting in a family business or earning pocket money outside school hours and during school holidays.
These kinds of activities contribute to children’s development and to the welfare of their families; they provide them with skills and experience, and help to prepare them to be productive members of society during their adult life.

The term “child labour” is often defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development

Sudan Child Act 2010

 State Minister at the Ministry of Security and Social development, Ibrahim Adam Ibrahim, said that child labor is concerned by international and local societies through the international conventions and treaties that prevent the recruitment of children and prevent their exploitation.

Ibrahim said recently during the child labor Workshop: Challenges and possible solutions, organized by Elaasima Center for Labour and Migration Studies in collaboration with Friedrich Ebert Foundation and (NCCW) said that Sudan Child Act 2010 and the Labour Law are among the most important laws that have been globally praised. The Minister said that the laws on children must be activated, saying that children migration from rural areas to urban  should be treated  so as to reduce child labour, noting that 60% of child labor is from neighboring countries  organized by groups that responsible and benefit from them

State Minister at the Ministry of Labour and Administrative reform, Dr. Amna Dirar, stressed that children under the age of 15 should not   work because they lack of legislative and social protection, confirming her ministry's support to children's issues and committed to implement   all the  international agreements signed  by  the Government of the Sudan .

Secretary-General of the National Council for Child Welfare (NCCW,  Suad Abdulaal revealed that the Council, with the support of  the Ministry of Finance, is  preparing to conduct a  study  on  children working in mining areas (River Nile, North Kordofan, Northern Darfur, Northern State, and the Red Sea) Former Undersecretary of the Ministry of Labour and Administrative Reform asserted that there must be  a survey on  child labour and attract financial and technical support from the ILO to eradicate the phenomenon and to  reduce poverty rates by strengthening social safety nets.

Improved Country Level Child Labour:  

The Partnership Protocol Agreement was signed between the Government of The Sudan the International Labour Organization and the European Union on October 13, 2008 in Khartoum. Being the first time child labor elimination programmes were being implemented in the country, signing of the partnership protocol was followed by capacity building targeting government officials and non-governmental organizations.
The government of Sudan has made significant progress in revising the list of hazardous work. In January 2012, the National Steering Committee convened to endorse the list. The endorsed list was reviewed by ILO/IPEC legal specialist and comments forwarded to the government. The Sudan list of hazardous work covers emerging forms of hazardous child labour.
The Ministry of Education has initiated the process of developing a five years education plan for the country. A Stakeholder’s Education Conference took place in February 2012 bringing together stakeholders to input into this process. TACKLE input into the sector plan is to mainstream strategies to combat child labour.

Implement Child labour Strategies;

Government officials have been trained on mainstreaming child labour elimination in education sector plans, child labour reporting and laws, policies and reporting tools to support the fight against child labour. Trained officials have been instrumental in spearheading government planning for elimination of child labour.
In July 2011, TACKLE supported the Ministry of General Education and the National Council for Child Welfare to organize workshop that enhanced partnerships with different stakeholders and duty bearers to support tackling child labour through education.
Officials from the Sudan Bureau of Statistics officials were trained in November 2011 on child labour data collection through baseline surveys and rapid assessments. Subsequent to the training, plans are already underway to analyze the 2005 national census to retrieve child labour relevant data.

A major Achievement:
A major achievement in the past ten years in Sudan is the enactment of the Child Act in 2010.   Though there are many challenges in terms of nforcement.  Challenges remain in the areas of education, health, protection and participation  Significant progress in revising the list of hazardous work.
The endorsed list was reviewed by ILO/IPEC legal specialist and comments forwarded to the government.  The Sudan list of hazardous work covers emerging forms of hazardous child labor.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC):

Sudan signed The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in July 1991 and ratified it in September 1991.   The CRC contains four general principles:   non-discrimination   the best interests of the child. The right to express views and be heard and the rights to life, survival and development (Article 6).  Sudan had also signed the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict in 2005 and the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography in 2004 .  Sudan has also ratified the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child
In 2004 Child act was issued to protect children from abuse. Sudan also ratified all international conventions concerning child rights The Interim constitution of Sudan (2005) stated many child rights.
Policies and Programs Sudan has a long history of child legislation:   In 1909 an apprenticeship Ordinance determined the age of 10 as the earliest age for apprenticeship.  The cotton Ordinance of 1926 which was designed for cotton ginning factories, forbids the entry of children under 9 to enter cotton work rooms in factories.   It also prohibited the work of children under 12 in nights and more than 7 hours in a day. The minimum age was later been revised and raised to14 years. .
The regulations of this ordinance continued in effect until it was repeated in the labor Relations Act of 1981.  The domestic Service Act of 1955 stated that domestic servants should obtain an identity card which should not be issued to persons under 15 years of age
After independence Sudan Permanent Constitution contained many articles concerned with child welfare.  Article (26) of that constitution stated that" the State shall provide care for the young and protect them against exploitation and physical and spiritual negligence.   This Act prohibited the work of Juveniles - defined as any person under the age of 18 – with the exception of vocational schools, training workshops not for purpose of profit and those who work within their families enterprise or under the supervision of the family.  A major shortcoming of these legislations is that they were dealing only with children working under an employer, although the majority of children are self-employed.
The National Council for Child Welfare warned of the spread of child labour in the country, criticising the non-enforcement of the Children’s Act.
Chancellor Oumeima  Abdelwahab  Abdeltam from the NCCW  revealed the presence of Sudanese children under the age of 14 who are enrolled in work. 
Iman Syed Ahmad, the Secretary of Women and Children's Affairs in the Sudanese General Workers Union, thus commended Bahri locality’s experience with children through an education-for-work project, appealing to circulate the experience to more localities.
Furthermore the Ministry of Education should issue a decree for school and university administrators,  criminalising  the expulsion of students because of the non-payment of tuition fees in cases where they are exempt from paying tuition, he  Abdeltam added.