Child labour is a very complex problem with its root in the socio-economic environment of the country. It stems from poverty, lack of education and health facilities and better avenues of employment. Eradication of child labour is indeed a formidable task. While legislations do help to a considerable extent, mitigation of child labour problem is not possible unless its fundamental raison d’etre is attacked. Alleviation of poverty, check on population growth are the essentials. Education and health facilities national conscience is required. This can be done through mass communication regarding the evils of the problem in the media and running anti-child labour campaigns.
Experience has shown that withdrawing children from the worst forms is possible, but cannot be successful without a strong political will. This ‘will’ must be embedded in a national policy that addresses issues such as improved legislation and enforcement; improved methodologies for identifying these children; awareness raising at all levels of society and the provision of viable alternatives for the children and their families, including rehabilitation measures.
For nearly past ten years, the issue of the child labour has been agitating the minds of different sections of society. The All Pakistan Federation of United Trade Unions (APFUTU) of Pakistan has also not remained unaffected. The APFUTU has taken up this issue at the national and regional levels. At the present time APFUTU has set up National Child Labour Cell which has taken up several projects within their programmes giving sufficient importance to the issue of child labour in accordance with the workshop organized by the APFUTU Educational Institute as well as including schools for the education of child labourers. It was decided that APFUTU should encourage some of their own selected workers to become trainers. It is understood that all workers should develop sensitivity in respect of child labour. APFUTU has also been vigorously taking up the issue of child labour at various governments for commission on labour. This point was also highlighted at the National Level.
Following the first World Summit for Children in 1990, to which our country Pakistan was one to the co-hosts, a National Plan of Action was formulated. The World Declaration and plan of action formed the basis for NPA, which tabulated national indicators and targets to achieve the goals for the year 2000. the NPA also gave detailed monitoring system for reviewing progress of goals. in 1995, the Government of Pakistan and Unicef undertook a (Mid-Decade Review) revealed that while some progress had been made in some areas such as access to basic health and primary education, the coverage, quality and service delivery did not keep pace with the rate of increase in the numerical strength of the facilities. The reason for slow progress were resource constraint and an unstable security environment.
The End Decade Review process provided another opportunity for stocktaking. The Pakistan EDR, ” National Report on follow-up to the World Summit for CHildren”, a document prepared for the special Session on Children, present a summary of our achievements in the light of promises made in 1990. A sobering appraisal, it revealed that many of the promise made were not kept. Many reasons were also given for not meeting our obligations to children including, the now familiar, resource factor, political instability, the Afghan refuge burden and regional insecurity. Buton a positive note, it did prompt the government to embark on an exercise to document its child rights initiative and gather data from which to judge it performance.
THE GLOBAL MOVEMENT FOR CHILDREN
Unicef, in alliance with BRAC, Netaid.org Foundation, plan, Save the Children and World Vision, has started a Global Movement for Children.Launched by Mr. Mandela and Ms. Machel in May 2000, the GMC has brought together some of the world’s largest child rights organizations in a partnership to raise awareness of the issues facing the world`s children in the run up to the special session for children.
The GMC seeks to build a massive constituency of people from all walks of life to support child rights and demand accountability and action for children in the next century, and calls for leadership at every level of society – both public and private, adults and young people alike – to change the world for children and with children. The first major initiative of the Global Movement for Children, ” Say Yes for Children” will tally pledges throughout the world, culminating with a presentation of the results to heads of state and governments at the Special Session on Children. The ten principles of the Say Yes pledge are part of the Special Session`s draft outcome document. So far over 49,000,000 pledges have been made.
THE 10 SAY YES CAMPAIGN OBJECTIVES.
1: LEAVE NO CHILD OUT:
Because every girl and boy is born free and equal in dignity and rights, all forms of discrinination and exclusion against children must end.
2: PUT CHILDREN FIRST
Governments must meet their obligations to children and young people. At the same time, everyone, including individuals , Trade Unions, NGOs, religious groups, the private sector, and children and adolescent themselves, must recognize their responsibility to ensure that child rights are respected.
3: CARE FOR EVERY CHILD
All children must enjoy the highest attainable standard of health, especially through immunization, good nutrition and diet, clean water and adequate sanitation, proper housing and safe and healthy environment.
4: FIGHT HIV / AIDA
Children and adolescent and their families must be protected from the devasting impact of HIV / AIDS.
5: STOP HARMING CHILDREN
The violence and abuse that children suffer must be stopped now. And the sexual and economic exploitation of children must also end.
6: LISTEN TO CHILDREN
Everyone must respect the right of children and young people to express themselves and to participate in decisions that affect them, consistent with their evolving capabilities. And we must listen and act.
7: EDUCATE EVERY CHILD
All girls and boys must receive a compulsory, free primary education of good quality.
8: PROTECT CHILDREN FROM WAR
Children must be protected from the horrors of armed conflict.
9: PROTECT THE EARTH FOR CHILDREN.
There must be urgent steps by every one of us, including governments, civil society and the private sector, to assure the well-being and security of future generations by safeguarding the environment at global, national and local levels.
10: FIGHT POVERTY; INVEST IN CHILDREN
Because children suffer the most from poverty, the fight against it must begin with them. This includes investing in social services that benefit the poorest children and their families, such as basic health care and primary education.At the same time, the well-being of children must be a priority objective of debt relief programs, development assistance and government spending.
The Global Movement for Children was launched in PAKISTAN on April 26, by the president of Pakistan at a Child Rights Festival in Lahore.The event, organized different organizations, was attended by thousands of children. They Say Yes campaign in Pakistan has gathered 100,000 pledges.