Mogadishu, June 13 (Indus Prism) Somalia, the Unicef and the International Labour Organization (ILO) have agreed to scale up efforts to end child labour in the African country.
On the occasion of the World Day against Child Labour, they said in a joint statement issued here on Saturday that ending child labor can only happen through a collective systematic approach with a strong understanding of the root causes and a legal framework that prohibits children from entering the workforce at an early age.
The Somalian government has made efforts to eliminate child labor in the country. However, there is a long way to go to fully change the situation, reports Xinhua news agency.
Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Abdiwahab Ugas Khalif said many families are forced to send their children to work due to economic hardship and lack of decent employment opportunities for family heads.
“Even more concerning, children who are recruited by militias or groups are forced into dangerous life-threatening roles such as soldiers, cooks, and cleaners,” Khalif said, calling for a well-developed national policy against child labor.
The Unicef and ILO said even though there are different reasons behind child labour in Somalia, the government is working hard in close partnership with the international community to identify and eliminate child labor from Somalia.
Alexio Musindo, ILO Director for Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan, and South Sudan, said the organization is supporting Somalia to conduct a child labor assessment in order to better understand the key drivers of the situation in the country.
In terms of child labour, Somalia’s labour code stipulates 15 years old as the minimum working age, and 18 as the minimum working age for ‘hazardous work’.
In spite of this, according to Unicef, 49 per cent of children in Somalia work, with girls being disproportionately affected.