Lahore:Director General Labour Welfare, Punjab Hamayun Mazhar Sheikh has said that Punjab government is fully committed to eradicate child labour particularly its hazardous forms. He stated that projects have already been launched in Lahore and Kasur districts which are aimed at elimination of bonded child labour through education, microcredit and other social services.
He was addressing the seminar and Children’s Mela organized by the Child Labour Unit of the Labour Department, Punjab on the occasion of World Day Against Child Labour. The day is observed on the call of International Labour Organization. The theme was “Human rights and social justice, Let’s end child labour”. On this occasion, ILO released statistics according to which 115 million children are engaged in hazardous work like work with dangerous chemicals and machinery, night work and work with exposes them to physical and sexual abuse. Working children and families from brick kilns participated in the event and presented songs and progammes. Director General Labour Welfare Punjab stated that Punjab government has started a 5-year project ‘Combating Worst Forms of Child Labour’ in Layyah, Jhang, Chakwal and Jhelum to eliminate hazardous child labour through education, microcredit, skill training and community monitoring. A project has been started in Lahore and Kasur districts to educate 7000 children at brick kilns. Shoaib Khan Niazi, president of Brick Kiln Owners Association expressed his full support in making brick kilns free of child and bonded labour.
ILO Director in his message stated that through ILO’s help, over 70000 working children have been rehabilitated in Pakistan from football, surgical and carpet weaving sectors. He stated the ILO with cooperation of European Union has launched a project to address child labour in Sahiwal and Sukkur districts.
Earlier, Saeed Awan Director of Child Labour Unit mentioned that survey by government of Pakistan shows there are 3.3 million child laburers in Pakistan, most of them in Punjab. He stated that tailor made programmes are being launched to address hazardous forms of child labour in Punjab. A large number of NGOs, trade unions, employees and government officers participated in the seminar. It was told that Punjab government has extended project of elimination of bonded labour at brick kiln to four more districts.