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Experts ‘hopeful’ over updates to national child labour strategy

By Rana Husseini - May 08,2023 - Last updated at May 08,2023

 

AMMAN — Secretary-General of the National Council for Family Affairs (NCFA) Mohammad Miqdadi said that he is hopeful that a recent child labour national strategy would help curb school dropout numbers and minimise the employment of children in the Kingdom.

In June 2022, the Cabinet approved the updated national strategy to reduce child labour for 2022–2030, along with its 2022 implementation plan.

The strategy considers internal and external developments that affect child labour, amendments to national legislation — including the 2014 Juvenile Law, and updated surveys and statistics related to child labour.

“Last month, we announced the launch of the strategy. The NCFA’s role is to follow up on the implementation of this strategy and work plan,” Miqdadi told The Jordan Times in a recent interview.

The NCFA will write periodic reports about the implementation of the strategy and present them to the Cabinet, according to Miqdadi.

One of the Council’s main concerns is school dropouts, Miqdadi added.

“We feel that following the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of school dropouts surged, which resulted in an increase in child labour figures in the Kingdom,” Miqdadi explained.

“We are hopeful that the strategy will work towards guaranteeing a quality school environment for children so they commit to their education, rather than enrolling in the labour market,” the NCFA official maintained.

“We hope that the government and the relevant entities tasked with implementing the strategy allocate the budget necessary to combat child labour in Jordan,” Miqdadi added.

A total of 172 cases of child labour were handled during the first six months of 2022, according to statistics issued by the Ministry of Labour in September 2022.

Financial motives remain the reason that children are forced into the labour market, according to experts quoted in the study.

Ministry officials stated then that the average child labour victim is 14 years old, although the law forbids the employment of children under the age of 16.

Most child labourers work in manufacturing, retail, agriculture, auto repair and the service sector, according to ministry officials.

The law forbids the employment of children in hazardous work environments before the age of 18, provided that their working hours do not exceed six hours daily and that they do not work at night, on official holidays or at the weekend.

Executive Director of Tamkeen for Legal Aid and Human Rights Linda Kalash said that her entity was one of many that “worked with the government to modernise the strategy to combat child labour in Jordan”.

“It is important that we have a strategy, but what is more important is ensuring its proper and serious implementation by all relevant governmental and non-governmental organisations,” Kalash told The Jordan Times in a recent interview.

Almost one in 10 children are involved in child labour, according to data from the International Labour Organisation and UNICEF.

The international organisation stated that 160 million children, including 63 million girls, are involved in child labour world wide.

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