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Govt Pledges Policy To Eliminate Child Labour

The Fijian Government has pledged to formulate a National Child Labour Policy to eliminate child labour in Fiji. The announcement was made by the Minister for Children Mere Vuniwaqa yesterday
30 Mar 2021 11:30
Govt Pledges Policy To Eliminate Child Labour
Minister for Women, Children And Poverty Alleviation Mere Vuniwaqa with members of the workshop to eradicate of child labour by 2025. The workshop took place at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva on March 29, 2021. Photo: Leon Lord

The Fijian Government has pledged to formulate a National Child Labour Policy to eliminate child labour in Fiji.

The announcement was made by the Minister for Children Mere Vuniwaqa yesterday at a workshop at the Grand Pacific Hotel.

The workshop discussed the next steps to take to address the issue and achieve total eradication of child labour by 2025.

Ms Vuniwaqa announced that apart from formulating the policy, Government would:
– Review the current National Employment Policy,
– Finalise the National Occupational Health Services Strategic Plan
– Formulate a paperless labour inspection programme.

Education, she said was a huge priority for the Government which had always tried to support the institution of family in the Fijian society to nurture the next generation of Fijians.

She said education was an important driver out of poverty and every Fijian child must be given this basic right to enjoy to the fullest and end the cycle of child labour.

“The Fijian Government’s political will is designed to set-up our young people and young families for greater prosperity in a growing economy with free education, free textbooks, subsidised transportation to school, and specific social assistance programs to ensure primary and high school education of Fijian children at the least,” Ms Vuniwaqa said.

“Fiji is very committed to eradicating child labour you can see that in the legal reforms that have happened over the years but what’s more important now that we are putting a national action plan together is to ensure that the key stakeholders can address this collaboratively as a nation to implement what they come up with in the plan.”

 

Challenges In Tackling Child Labour
She stressed that while partnerships and pledges had been established, the challenges to addressing the issue of child labour takes new turns as is the case for the COVID-19 crisis which has brought additional poverty.

“School closures have aggravated the situation and many children are labouring to contribute to the family income,” she said.

“Millions more children risk being pushed into child labour as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, which could lead to the first rise in child labour after 20 years of progress, according to the International Labour Organisation and UNICEF.”

In the last 20 years she said statistics showed that almost 100 million children had been removed from child labour, bringing numbers down from 246 million in 2000 to 152 million in 2016.

Furthermore, every year an estimated $176 billion is lost in potential future wages when children engage in hazardous labour instead of completing their education.

 

Feedback: fonua.talei@fijisun.com.fj



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