Elimination of child labour only through education: Minister

LAHORE Punjab Minister for Labour Ashraf Khan Sohna has said that the current system of human services more reflects continuity of the slavery system of ancient times. Speaking at the launching ceremony of 'The state of Pakistans Children 2009, a report released by the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC), on Friday, he said that it was the first time the Labour Ministry allocated over Rs 1 billion for education and rehabilitation of registered labourer children. Sohna said that child labour could be eliminated from the society only through education. According to 18th Amendment of the Constitution the Sate has to provide education to every child less than 14 years age, he said and maintained the labour department had recommended free of charge education to the children. National Commission for Justice and Peace Director Peter Jacob said that as many as 10 million children in the country were without schools. A complete mechanism and transparent system for rehabilitation of misplaced children is the need of the hour, he said, adding that only with collective sense, the menace of child labour could be weeded out. Human Rights Punjab Secretary Arshad Bin Ahmad said that laws against child labour existed in the country, but they needed to be implemented. He said the government institutions assigned to eradicate child labour were not playing effective role while the advocates of civil society were also inactive in this regard. He further said it was need of the hour to give technical education to the children who were working as labourers. Human Rights Regional Director Arshad Malik said the masses were unaware of their rights and it was responsibility of the civil society to give them awareness so that they could educate their children. SPARC Regional Manager Sajjad Cheema said this was an opportune time to ask the State as to what had been done in the past 20 years for children. He said we needed to know why it was taking so long to legislate for the children; why budgetary allocations for child-centred programmes remained at bare minimum levels; why there was still no statutory body to protect and promote child rights in Pakistan.

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