Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, November 22nd, 2019

World Day against Child Labor: Children Shouldn’t Work in Fields but on Dreams

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World Day against Child Labor: Children  Shouldn’t Work in Fields but on Dreams

The continuity war has caused a huge number of children are subject to hard labor in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, this situation has not only forced them to abandon their education but also paved the way for being recruited by terrorist groups. Globally, around 168 million children are engaged with hard labor in the world; thereof Afghanistan got a high place with 59% of its children are working in hard labor field while they should work on their dreams. As media quoted from Abdul Ahad Farzam, a member of Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, 75% child labor in Afghanistan has caused by family poverty and unfavorable social customs. He added that war and extension of insecurity has challenged the rule of law in provinces, and so a large number of children became the caretaker or breadwinner of their families.
According to an estimated report reflected by Tolonews, “Afghanistan has nearly six million children engaged in the labor market, which would give it one of the highest rates in the world. Commentators have expressed grave concerns about the trend, urging the central government to take action to stem the phenomenon.” According to experts, there are many factors which contribute in increasing child laborers in the country but the main factors which are mostly blamed consist of persisting war, unemployment and addiction with increasing number of orphans and widows in the country. Thousands of children have lost their fathers, elders and so compelled to fight for living. For example, yesterday Tolonews gave out an interview conducted with few child laborers in Kandahar province: “Five years ago my father passed away, so we don’t have any one else at home and I am the worker, and I must find money - there is no other way for me.” Likewise, it was quoted from another young worker in Helmand province, “How will I find money if I go to school while my father is jobless and I have to work?”
Thus, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) recently reported two million children under five and 485,000 pregnant and lactating women are severely deprived of health and food security. Nevertheless, the World Day against Child Labor has not drown much attentions in Afghanistan even the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs did not trouble itself to hold even an iconic ceremony on this occasion. Unfortunately, the political climate in Afghanistan is so busy with hot political issues as such news  are easily forgotten and never gain its importance; we must accept that these news is a misfortune sign for future indicating a very weak generation that easily can trapped by terrorist groups .
Therefore, it is very important to raise this issue so that it may lead to serious measures in the future. Children are the future citizens and leaders of this country if we have no sound children, we would not have a sound future. However, it is appreciated that the government of Afghanistan has recently ratified the children protection law but there are many impediments which challenge implementation of this law. For example, the general security is one the main challenge; many parts of the country are completely under the control of armed opposition. The insecurity is not only one of the main obstacles which prevent children from legal protection but also impede many social and empowering programs.
Moreover, those parts of the country that are under control of the armed opposition, the children are misused and sent to the front of the war. Hence all government and non-government organization has to support and save the children lives and secure their place of residence so that they can enjoy their basic rights. However, we should not put everything on the shoulder of government; we can take part in cultivating the culture of supporting each and other, especially vulnerable groups of society such as women and children. There are many children and women, even in secure provinces that are victimized by social customs, violence and lack of quality educational system.
Anyhow, the main responsibilities are on the shoulders of government relevant agencies to design serious plans for child promotion and social awareness. Programs such as making short films, short TV and radio shows can be effective in this regard but identifying the factors that lead to child labor are more important for rooting out the issues. Poverty is one of the main causes of child labor in Afghanistan and many countries in the world but many years of war and violence have unprecedentedly increased poverty in Afghanistan, and many families have difficulty in providing their daily living.
Consequently, it is necessary to eliminate poverty so that no family compelled to impose hard labor on their children.  Besides, the existence of child labor is a sign of social classification in society. In fact, they are the indicators that some parts of society are deprived of equal opportunities. Child labor increases wealth accumulation to those who exploit children, thereby it increase the social class distances, increase poverty and prevent children from gaining sufficient knowledge and skills; As a result, it reduces the productivity of labor in the community. Given the above, the governments should strive to eliminate the class distances in society with distributing economic resources equally so that all citizens. Last but not least, the government should ensure that no children are misused by terrorist groups in Afghanistan.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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