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Children rights and child labour in world

Updated on July 18, 2011


Child labour and the rights of children are two important international and widely spoken issues of recent times. while child labour is mostly a problem of the developing countries ofAsia.AfricaandLatin America. rights of the child is a world wide concern. Child labour in the garments factories ofBangladesh. jolted the garments sector heavily in 1994 when the Hark-in's bill was passed in the US Senate. Since then.Bangladeshhas seen an all-out effort by both national and international bodies, to the end of ensuring the rights for marginalized sections of our community. But in these efforts, there is often a tendency to ignore a large section of our society who have few means to voice their grievances and no platform to stand and demand their rights. They are the children and they constitute more than half of our total population.

Since child labour has become a burning issue, we should know who is a child and what child labour is. The main problem of defining child labour inBangladeshis that there is no specific period for sets the minimum age at 14, while the Factory Act 1965, sets it at 16. On the other hand, convention on the rights of child, has set the age limit at 18. Now should we call all work by children as child labour? The answer is negative. Because all work are not harmful for children, sometimes it could be beneficial. Even in the most affluent countries, children will around the house and may be spending a few hours a week working outside the family. The same is true inBangladesh. Many children are involved in household cores, fetching water or running errands or looking after younger children. In this way they add directly or in directly, to the family income, and also learn about their communities and prepare themselves for responsibilities in later life.

Child labour, however, implies something different that children are doing something that are harmful to their healthy development. They may be working in environments that are physically or morally dangerous, or they may be placing their soft bones and growing bodies under excessive strain causing permanent damage. And even safer conditions under the protection their parents, they may be working long hours sacrificing time and energy that they might have spent on their education or simply on the free formative experience of children.

There is hardly any source for precise information on child labour. The information that we get from various sources vary widely. It is difficult to get correct information on child labour. However, according to the Force survey 1990-91 ,the national labour force participation rate for children aged 10-14 was estimated at 40% for boys and 36% for girls. Child labour is much more prevent in rural areas where the participation rate for boys is 50% and for girls 42% in urban areas, the rate for boys is 28% and for girl 16%. The children also work in a number of occupations. while in rural areas, the main occupation is farming, but in urban areas, activities are much more diverse. Some of these are working in factories, selling goods in small shops, domestic servant, brick-braking, waste collecting, porter, etc. The children also earns a little amount. All the children do not get their wages in cash. Those who get cash, they earn about Tk. 15-30 per day in rural areas and urban areas children earn about Tk. 700-800 per month.

The present world, particularly the developed countries are giving more attention to human rights that includes rights of women and children. By today, a number of international convention on various rights of women and children have been adopted and subsequently signed and ratified by many countries. The united National General Assembly in 1989, unanimously adopted the convention on the Rights of the children (CRC). This convention provides the legal and moral basis for the well-being of the children. It bas been ratified by 191 countries (as of15 June, 1997) making it the most widely and most rapidly accepted human rights convention in history.Bangladeshwas one of the first countries to sign and ratify the convention. The CRC imposes clear obligations with respect to the administration of juvenile justice and the treatment of children in custody. According to the CRC, the rights of children are: (a) non-discrimination (Art-2), (b) the best interests of the child (Art-3), (c) the right to life, survival and development (Art-6), and (d) respect the views of the child (Art-6)

Bangladeshis the state party to the convention, is obliged under international law to comply with all of the convention's provision. But sadly the case seems to be the opposite. In the children Act 1974, article-396 of CRC has not been properly represented. But the national law particularly the constitution supports the country's efforts to improve the situation of children. Article-28 of the constitution makes it clear that there is no bar to special provision being made for children or women. But these all have remained, in most cases, mere paper provisions. Many children are not only deprived of the benefit from special procedures to uphold their rights in custody. they are often denied even the basic rights pertaining to all detainees.

Child labour inBangladesh, as in many other poor countries, can not be considered in isolation like one more disease that must be eradicated. In a country where more that 40% of the population live in object poverty (1997) and are unable to afford two meals a day, children are forced to the work place at a very early age, denied of their basic rights to education, health, nutrition and psychological well being. So the focus of attention needs to be less on child labour as an issue, and more on the children themselves on their needs and rights. The guiding principle, as set out in the CRC, should be the best interest of the child' identifying the needs that all children have, not just for physical and intellectual development but also for economic survival. As long as children are forced to see work to be in their own interests, they will continue to be working.

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