Change in mindset can stop hazardous child labour
Change in mindset and awareness among stakeholders including employers and parents can stop hazardous child labour, said speakers at a roundtable yesterday.
A five-year national strategy to abolish such child labour by 2016 has already failed and the government should immediately formulate a new plan, they said.
Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum organised the discussion on “Elimination of Hazardous Child Labour in View of SDGs: Challenges and Way Forward” at the capital's The Daily Star Centre.
The speakers said the children are getting involved in risky jobs mainly because of poverty, dropping out from schools, climate change and untimely marriage.
Presenting a keynote paper, Prof Mohammad Nazmuzzaman Bhuiyan of Dhaka University said 3.5 million children aged between 5 and 17 are involved in different occupations in the country.
“Of them, 1.28 million are engaged in hazardous labour,” he said, referring to National Child Labour Survey of 2013. He added the government should take steps to establish effective monitoring and evaluation system both for government agencies and other organisations.
Abdullah Al Mamun, programme co-ordinator of Manusher Jonno Foundation, said instead of seeking remedies, policymakers should seek preventive actions so that children do not get involved in risky jobs.
Lawmaker Jebunnesa Afroz said child labour can be stopped if all public representatives, from union parishad members to MPs, work in building awareness.
Instead of attending seminars and rallies, lawmakers have to go to remote areas and work, said lawmaker Nurul Islam Talukder.
Israfil Alam, member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour and Employment, said migration caused by climate change is one of the key reasons behind child labour.
Lawmakers Shamsul Alam Dudu, Kamrun Nahar Chowdhury, Quazi Rosy and Hosne Ara Lutfa Dalia, among others, spoke.
Speaking as the chief guest, State Minister for Labour and Employment Mujibul Haque Chunnu said the government is prompt in taking action against violation of labour law.
A 15-member technical committee will submit a report by the end of July while a draft copy of the bill will be ready by August, he said, adding that the government will also take a national action plan to abolish hazardous child labour by 2021.
BSAF Chairperson Emranul Huq Chowdhury stressed more budget allocation in this regard.