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14.06.2005 General News

Adopt time bound programmes to fight child labour


Accra, June 14, GNA - Communities, Non Governmental Organisations and Districts Assemblies have been urged to adopt time-bound programmes to intensify actions to end child labour.

Mrs Agelina Baiden Amissah, Deputy Minister of Education, said the Government had integrated its action against child labour in mines and quarries within a broader framework of working with the Ghana Mines Workers Union and the Chamber of Mines, Community Opinion Leaders, Community Based Organisations and Civil Society. Mrs Amissah said this at a durbar organised by Centre for Community Studies and Development and International Needs sponsored by International Labour Organisation in Accra to mark "World Day against Child Labour," which fell on June 10 2005. She said currently the Government was facilitating the resolution of several conflicts between mining companies and illegal miners in order to assist illegal miners to regularise their activities through the formation of cooperatives with proper mining licences.

The law required District Assemblies to form small-scale gold mining committees to assist in effective monitoring and to help to regulate activities of small-scale miners. She said child labour was a human rights issue and children needed to be protected since children, who work prematurely became adults, who had no skills, adding, "it is a law and order issue and perpetrators, who exploit children, should be brought to book". She said many youth often without legitimate employment because they lack the relevant skills, as a result they turn to small scale mining, an activity undertaken under life threatening conditions to the extend that deaths are reported to have occurred in deep pits and under landslides. She said the situation was serious when children were involved, adding that the Government statistics showed that some 10,000 children were involved in mining and stone quarrying.

Ms Yaa Yeboah, Technical Adviser, ILO Ghana, said since most children worked out of poverty it was necessary to take a holistic view of the fight to stop child labour and child exploitation. She said education was the key to tackling child labour but added that families needed sustainable livelihoods if their children were to remain in schools and not to work to buy food and pay medical bills and school fees. She said families should to be sensitised to appreciate the cost to their children's future when they worked prematurely and the knock-on effect for their communities.

As part of activities to mark the day school children from selected schools went on a route match through the principal streets of Accra, bearing placards some of which read: "Child Labour Go Away From Us"; "Children Are Too Small To Work" and "Free Children From Child Labour". They also dramatised the effects of child labour.