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Government told to enforce laws on child labour

By Andrew Ssenyonga

Added 11th May 2017 10:22 AM

According to Mohamed Ndifuuna, the executive director of HURINET, there is need to further strengthen collective responsibility and involve all the stakeholders in curbing child labour.

According to Mohamed Ndifuuna, the executive director of HURINET, there is need to further strengthen collective responsibility and involve all the stakeholders in curbing child labour.

The government has been told to help enforce prevailing laws to speed up the judicial process of prosecuting the perpetrators of child labour.
This call was made on Wednesday in Ntinda by Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) including; Human Rights Network Uganda (HURINET), Bread for All (BFA) and Twerwaneho Listeners Club (TLC).


This was during the launch of a report on the state of child labour in pozzolana mining in Uganda which highlighted the plight of children in areas where the vice is taking place.


 According to Mohamed Ndifuuna, the executive director of HURINET, there is need to further strengthen collective responsibility and involve all the stakeholders in curbing child labour.


"We need to take action as stakeholders and show all Ugandans that we are serious in the struggle to reduce child labour. Let us all work as one unit and share information to better position ourselves in fighting against child labour," Ndifuuna said.


He added that government as part of its duty to protect against business- related human rights abuse must enforce the laws that are in the land against child labour.


"The government must take appropriate steps to ensure, through judicial, administrative legislative or other appropriate means that the children affected and their families get access to effective remedy," he explained.


 He agreed that the government's ratification of workers convention will help reduce the prevalence of child labour.


Gerald Kankya, the executive director TLC said Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) should introduce legally binding human rights due diligence for companies seeking investment licenses in Uganda through new regulations.


"Parliament through its committees should play its oversight role in monitoring companies' compliance to human rights standards and labour laws," he said.


Kankya asked the ministry of Gender Labour and social Development to work with companies to streamline the labour issues by ensuring that those who use child labour are blacklisted or licenses cancelled.


According to the report titled child labour in the supply chain of LafargeHolcim in Uganda; unresolved issues companies have benefited from child labour for over 10 year now.


It states that for more than 10 years, LafargeHolcim and its suppliers benefited from child labour among artisanal miners who supplied raw materials (pozzolana) to the company.


Hima cement is the company that works under the hospice of LafargeHolcim an international company.


Twerwaneho Listeners' Club (TLC) and Bread for All (BFA) made the research on child labour in the sub-county of Harugongo in Fort portal Municipality Kabarole district where pozzolana is mined.


The study interviewed 20 working children between the ages of 12 and 17. It showed that approximately 150 children worked in the quarries that were supplying pozzolana to Hima Cement Limited.


Many children who worked at the quarries dropped out of school and did not proceed to secondary level.


They reported having experienced injuries. They also reported that working in quarries had a negative impact on their health and physical development.


The report called upon LafargeHolcim to work with its suppliers to implement programmes that enable former child laborers to return to school or receive vocational training in order to generate another source of income.


The Hima Cement country chief executive officer Daniel Petterson denied having child labour within their chain of supply.


"Following the child labour allegations in 2016, LafargeHolcim group commissioned an investigation by an international qualified audit that found no evidence that they use children in their chain," he explained.

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