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Sunday May 19, 2024

Labour laws implementation difficult as dept operating at half of its capacity: secy

By our correspondents
December 11, 2023

The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Pakistan in collaboration with Sindh Human Rights Commission (SHRC) launched on Sunday a study on ‘Domestic Child Labour in Pakistan’ authored by SHRC Chairperson Iqbal Detho.

The study comprises of legal and administrative gaps in implementation of child rights laws. The programme was moderated by FES Pakistan’s representative Abdullah Dayo. 

He said that the study report will also be translated in Urdu language for better audience reach and awareness.

This image shows speakers posing for a group picture during a study launch on ‘Domestic Child Labour in Pakistan’ authored by SHRC Chairperson Iqbal Detho on December 10, 2023. — Facebook/Sindh Human Rights Commission
This image shows speakers posing for a group picture during a study launch on ‘Domestic Child Labour in Pakistan’ authored by SHRC Chairperson Iqbal Detho on December 10, 2023. — Facebook/Sindh Human Rights Commission

Germany’s consul general in Karachi, Dr Rudiger Lotz, shed light on the detrimental impact of labour in children’s development, which compromised on their dignity and childhood essentials. He lauded the efforts of government bodies and German political foundation FES for their advocacy on child rights.

Detho highlighted the cases of child abuses in the country, including that of Farzana from Islamabad and Fatima Fariro from Ranipur, and examined them within the international, national and provincial legal frameworks. He asserted on the gravity of bonded labour and termed it a heinous offense, while discussing the Sindh Bonded Labour Act of 2016. He also touched upon the Labor Force Survey and Section 374 (unlawful compulsory labour) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

Sindh secretary for labour, Shariq Ahmed, spoke about the challenges in implementing the laws, because the labour department was operating at half of its required capacity.

Senator Taj Haider highlighted that many laws in Pakistan were not in accordance with the international conventions the country had signed. He stressed on the need for the state’s intervention in understanding why children were not attending school, suggesting that the authorities should engage with parents to address this issue.

Barrister Rida Tahir highlighted the legal gaps regarding child domestic labour. Referring to an International Labour Organization’s (ILO) report, she said the data indicated that women and girls were often hired under the pretext of being skilled babysitters.

ILO representative Saghir Bukhari noted an increase in child labour after the Covid-19 pandemic and stressed on creating awareness among parents about the issue. Trade unionist and political activist Habibuddin Junaidi appreciated the efforts made by the SHRC.

FES Pakistan country director, Dr Niels Hegewisch, thanked the participants and pledged for more collaborative efforts with government and civil society to highlight challenges and advocate for necessary changes in policies and implementations to tackle domestic child labour in Pakistan.

In his concluding remarks Sindh caretaker minister of information, minority affairs and social protection, Ahmad Shah, said that the government was committed to strictly implement the labour and trade union laws in the province. He said that the Pakistani civil society and every educated person had to play their role in discouraging and ending the menace of child labour in the country.

Shah said the Sindh government had taken the lead in passing the legislation to protect the rights of the downtrodden sections of the society in a bid to help them. In response to a question, the minister said that funds had been released by the government for the repair of all the government school buildings that were destroyed during the recent floods in the province.