PESHAWAR, Nov 8: Speakers at a workshop here on Thursday said that lacunas in child protection laws were hindering their effective implementation.

They demanded of the government to end child labour in the country and provide free of cost education to children having five to 16 years of age.

The workshop titled ‘Tackling child labour through effective legislation, implementation and monitoring’ was arranged for journalists by Society for Protection of the Rights of the Child (Sparc).

Sparc national manager Gulnaz Zahid and provincial manager Khalid Mehmood were key speakers at the workshop. Journalists belonging to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata attended the workshop.

The speakers stressed the need for eliminating all forms of child labour. They termed weak implementation of relevant laws, inadequate facilities, ineffective monitoring system and emergence of informal sector as root causes of child labour in the country.

On the occasion, Ms Zahid explained various forms of child labour. She said that situation was alarming as the last survey, conducted in 1996, showed that 3.3 per cent children were working as labourers in the country.

She said that Article 25-A of Constitution guaranteed free of cost education to children having five to 16 years age but government was yet to implement it. “With devolution of powers now it is the duty of each province to focus on such issues and control child labour,” she said.

Ms Zahid said fresh survey should be conducted on child labour in the country. She said that some children quit education owing to corporal punishment at schools.

She said that effective monitoring system wasn’t established to eliminate child labour. Implementation of relevant laws was unsatisfactory, she added.

Ms Zahid said that all stakeholders should be sensitised because joint efforts could minimise the growing ratio of child labour in the country. She highlighted the role of media in sensitising masses and stakeholders in this regard.

She said that there was no specific law for domestic child labour. She said that Pakistan as a signatory of United Nations Convention on Rights of Children was bound to take effective steps for elimination of child labour. Ms Zahid said that there were some lacunas in the child protection laws, which were hindering their effective implementation.

Besides poverty and unemployment, inadequate budgetary allocation, ineffective monitoring system and weak enforcement of relevant laws were responsible for increase in child labour in the country, she added.

Mr Khalid also gave a presentation regarding laws for protection of the rights of children. He said that laws were not fully implemented.

He said that domestic labour should be included in child protection laws. He stressed the need for bringing change in the system to ensure protection of child rights and provision of educational facilities to children.

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