National Child Labour Policy to be validated

 

  • stakeholders workshop held to discuss draft policy

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, June 14, 2018

A validation workshop to deliberate the Draft National Child Labour Policy for Guyana saw the input of concerned stakeholders including labour organisations, activists and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).

The draft policy was crafted after an extended period of consultations with the pertinent stakeholders from Regions Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight and Ten.

The discussion, which was held at the Herdmanston Lodge, was hosted by the Ministry of Social Protection’s the Department of Labour on June 12.  Opening the workshop, Chief Labour Officer, Charles Ogle, underscored the government’s determination to eliminate this scourge from Guyana’s landscape.

“The Ministry of Social Protection wishes to make it abundantly clear that it is determined to absolutely eradicate child labour from our society, however, and wherever it exists. and it is for that reason that we are so anxious to develop a policy which is embraced by all.”

Forceful prosecution is not the ministry’s priority, Ogle said, rather, it believes in education and sensitisation, and “if those techniques fail, only then the ‘prosecutorial machinery’ would be activated.” He added that “current and prospective perpetrators need to understand that with or without the pending policy, it would not be business as usual.”

Statistics show that 218 million children worldwide, between five (5) and seventeen (17) years are in employment. Among them, 152 million are victims of child labour; almost half of them, 73 million, work in hazardous child labour.

UNICEF representative Palo Marchi, congratulated Guyana for leading the policy’s development, which, when adopted and implemented, places it ahead of many Caribbean countries. He said, “more so, the development of the policy will push an agenda”.

The National Child Labour Policy will address the harmful consequences of child labour on the nation’s children and its limiting effects on national development. Among areas for consideration is the review of legislation and policies related to child labour, strategies for the reintegration of children involved in child labour and resource allocation for supportive services to prevent and combat child labour.

The workshop forms part of a series of activities being executed in observance of World Day against Child labour, which is being observed under the theme “Generation Safe and Healthy, End Child Labour”.

By: Synieka Thorne.

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