Kabul [Afghanistan], June 13 (TN): The head of the International Labour Organization (ILO) has warned of an increase in the number of children who are engaged in work generally and mainly with hazardous jobs, Afghanistan-based TOLO News reported. The ILO’s head in Afghanistan Ramin Behzad issued the warning on World Day Against Child Labour.
Ramin Behzad said, “More than 1.06 million children were engaged in labour in Afghanistan in 2020 and 2021. We counted those between 5 to 17 years old.” The United Nations had organised a gathering in Kabul to mark World Day Against Child Labour under the title of “Social Justice.”
Taliban-led Ministry of Public Work (MoPW) said that over one million children are engaged in hazardous work and nearly 2 million others are working on the street, as per the TOLO News report. Sharafuddin Sharaf, chief of the office of the Taliban-led Ministry of Public Work (MOPW) said that 19.5 million children exist in Afghanistan and 11.4 million of them have been enrolled in school.
Sharafuddin Sharaf said, “19.5 million children exist in Afghanistan. 11.4 million of them are enrolled in school, but because of imposed wars and poverty and economic problems, 7.8 million of children are not in school. 1.2 are engaged in hazardous work and 1.9 million of them are doing normal work on the streets,” TOLO News reported.
Meanwhile, Sharaf Hameedi, head of the national union of labour, said that children have been facing hardships in Afghanistan and added that some of them work for over 15 hours. He said that the children should not work for over 35 hours in a week, however, the truth is that the children in Afghanistan are working for over 15 hours in 24 hours.
In a tweet, UNICEF Afghanistan said that one in five children in Afghanistan is engaged in child labour. It further said, “No matter the cause, UNICEF aims to end child labour in all forms,” according to TOLO News report.
The international aid to Afghanistan has been reduced and the country’s USD 9.5 billion assets abroad have been frozen after the Taliban took control of the country in August 2021.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres tweeted, “Shamefully, 160 million children worldwide are victims of child labour today. That’s almost 1 in 10 children. On this #EndChildLabour Day we must commit to redouble efforts to stop this harmful practice & protect children from exploitation.” (TN)