The issue of child labour is violence against children and it should be taken up both at the national and Saarc forums, says a press release issued here Tuesday.
These were the recommendations of participants at a national seminar organised by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in collaboration with the Ministry of Human Rights. This national level technical consultation was focused on ‘Mainstreaming Child Labour Issues into Saarc Regional and National Frameworks of Child Protection and Violence against Children’ at the ILO Office in Islamabad.
Ministry of Human Rights Secretary Saeed Alvi was the chief guest at the consultation and in his opening statement emphasised the role of the government and the commitment of the government at the national and Saarc level to address the issue of child labour and violence and child protection.
Jahan Ara Wattoo, The Goodwill Ambassador for orphan children and the proposed Goodwill Ambassador for SAIEVAC requested
ILO to formulate a paper on child labour with policy level recommendations for SAIEVAC.
Manzoor Khaliq presented the statement on behalf of the ILO Director in which he applauded the role of ILO constituents and the civil society on child labour since the early 1990s. He expressed the importance of the commitment of the SAARC Development Goals.
Sherin Khan, ILO Senior Specialist on Child Labour for South Asia, highlighted Saarc frameworks and partnerships for addressing child labour. She reiterated ILO’s commitment to support the new apex body on children namely South Asian Initiative to End Violence Against Child (SAIEVAC).
Haji Javed, President Employers Federation of Pakistan emphasised their commitment for the collaboration at the regional Saarc level for resolving child labour issues with the Hague Conference on child labour (2010) as the road map. He expressed the need for child protection mechanisms at the provincial level and the Skilled Development Councils established in all the four provinces and even in the capital.
Zahoor Awan, General Secretary, Pakistan Workers Federation expressed the need to set up child protection systems and the need to strengthen efforts and networks at the Saarc Trade Union Council (STUC). He proposed STUC as the Federation working at the regional level to address violence against children at the workplace.
Dr. M. Saifullah Chaudhry, Senior Programme Officer ILO, presented the finding of his doctoral research that also included violence against children at the work with focus on the auto repair workshops in Rawalpindi. He provided evidence that how children endure psychological and physical violence at the hands of their Ustaads, which include profanities and corporal punishment. The study was highly applauded by the participants of the workshop as an eye opener on the violence against children in the workplace settings.
Riffat Ayesha, Director SAARC HRD Centre, presented a overview of the Saarc Development Goals.