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Dhaka Tribune

Govt to eradicate child labour by 2019

Update : 31 Jan 2016, 07:46 PM

The government is now aiming to eradicate child labour from the country within 2019, after failing to meet the 2015 target set under the National Child Labour Policy.

“We are accepting the fact that we have failed to fulfil our promise to remove child labour, but we are hopeful to achieve the target within 2019,” said Abul Kashem Masud, joint secretary to Labour Ministry, yesterday.

The decision was made following an international conference in Sri Lanka on December 8 last year, where it was proposed that all kind of child labour be eradicated from South Asian countries by 2019.

Directives regarding the conference have already been forwarded to the ministry, Masud said.

Bangladesh is hoping to set an example for other countries that are working to reach the sustainable development goal’s (SDG) global target of eradicating child labour from all countries within 2025, Masud told a discussion at the capital’s Daily Star Bhaban.

The ministry has formed a child labour eradication council – with the labour minister as the president, the joint secretary said, adding that the council was now working to form district-level committees and monitoring teams.

Syeda Munira Sultana, national project coordinator for International Labour Organisation, said it was high time for the government to ensure a budget and a time frame to eradicate child labour. The previous 2015 target could not be met because of fund shortage, she said.

Sabira Sultana, national advocacy coordinator at World Vision, mentioned a 2014 survey of 803 families in the capital, in which they found 48.5% children from the families were working in the informal garment sector, even though the government had removed child labour from established RMG factories.

Besides, 16.5% children were working in transport sector, 14.8% in waste management, 11% were street children and 5.6% were working as household helps.

Last year’s policy on domestic workers was yet to be published as a gazette, Sabira said.

She also pointed out that even though every police station is supposed to have a child service desk in accordance with the Children Act 2013, most stations in the capital had no clue about the issue.

Social Welfare Secretary Tariq-ul-Islam, the chief guest at the programme, admitted that child-friendly officers were rare in the police stations. “We have talked to police authority and they have assured us that work is under way regarding this.” 

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