As Uganda commemorates World Day Against Child Labour, rights activists have called on government to tighten policies and legislation against abuse of child rights.
The Minister of State for Gender and Culture Affairs, Ms Peace Mutuuzo who, on Wednesday, presided over the ceremony at Madibira Primary School playgrounds in Busia border town said child labour denies children their right to childhood, a good education and growing up in a safe and protected environment free from harm.
“Children shouldn’t work in fields, but on dreams,” Ms Mutuuzo said.
According to her, there couldn’t have been a better venue than Busia border town where the prevalence of child labour is alarming because of the cross border trade that has not spared the children.
Children are often seen carrying heavy merchandise across the borderline, many times sent by adults in return of some commissions.
“Our choice of venue is intended to raise the profile of our fight against the vice of child labour in this area but also the country at large,” Ms Mutuuzo said.
However, human rights activists argue that despite several legislative policies by the international community and the government of Uganda, child labour continues to be prevalent.
Globally, it is estimated that 211 million children between the ages of 5-14 years and a further 141 million aged 14-17 are involved in some form of economic activity.
From the 2018 Statistical Abstract conducted by Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) for 2016/2017, Child labourers increased to 2,055,000 up from 2,009,000 over the 2011-2012 period with over half of the children doing hazardous work.
The number of children doing hazardous work in urban areas is higher than those in rural areas.
Credit: Daily Monitor