English World

Children in child labor facing more precarious situation due to COVID-19: SADC

Xinhua English


GABORONE, June 11 (Xinhua) -- The situation of children especially those already in child labor is even more precarious due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) executive secretary Stergomena Lawrence-Tax said Friday.

Calling SADC member states to take a collective action to end child labor ahead of the commemoration of the World Day Against Child Labor, Lawrence-Tax said the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has compounded the prevalent challenges facing children. SADC is an inter-governmental organization with headquarters in Gaborone, Botswana.

"To mitigate the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on children, may I call upon SADC member states to continue implementing appropriate relief measures and interventions targeting the poor and vulnerable including in particular children who are more disproportionately affected," she said, a day before the main commemoration day usually celebrated on June 12 annually.

The provision of adequate social security including cash transfers and food handouts remains critical interventions for many families, she said, noting that education policies need to be sufficiently responsive to the plight of children especially those from poor families.

While it will take time to measure the full impact of COVID-19 on children, Lawrence-Tax said there is no doubt that the incidence of child labor continues to rise as the pandemic has destroyed livelihoods and deepened poverty thereby adding pressure on children to supplement household incomes through work.

Lawrence-Tax commended all SADC member states that have ratified the core international treaties relating to the protection of children from child labor such as International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention No. 138 on Minimum Age for Admission to Employment (1973) and ILO Convention No. 182 on Abolition of the Worst Forms of Child Labour (1999).

Since 2002, the World Day Against Child Labor has focused global attention on the need for everyone to play a part in ensuring that children have the best foundation to realize their full potential as responsible and productive members of the society.

The Day's theme for this year -- Act now, end child labor!-- resonated with the 2019 decision taken by the United Nations General Assembly of declaring 2021 as the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour. Enditem