By Staff writer
Prince Abdulaziz bin Talal Al-Saud warned situated is being exacerbated by Covid-19 crisis
A demand has been made for urgent action to tackle the plight of over 15 million children in the Arab world who are victims of child labour.
Prince Abdulaziz bin Talal Al-Saud, [resident of the Arab Council for Childhood and Development (ACCD) and committee chairman of the Prince Talal International Prize for Human Development, said the situation is being exacerbated by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Marking the UN’s World Day Against Child Labour, Prince Abdulaziz said: “Children are the future of the region; caring for their childhood, developing their talents and their psychological and physical wellness, ensures a better future for all of us.”
Nearly 15 percent of all children in Arab states is estimated to be engaged in some form of child labour, according to a report by the International Labour Organisation, although it is feared this number could be even greater.
Prince Abdulaziz said that while armed conflicts and strife had led to the displacement of families, leading to tens of thousands of children being forced out of school and compelled to work even in hazardous labour, the current Covid-19 situation will further amplify the problem.
“The crisis will push many families into unemployment and poverty putting pressure on children. Many will be forced into labour in addition to being exposed to violence, and psychological and physical abuse,” he said.
He cautioned that, in order to ensure that a significant portion of the new generation is not lost, their well-being must be prioritised by doubling the efforts to curb child labour in all forms be it in agriculture, services or industry.
“More alarmingly, several of our children are being forced to engage in illegal activities or street work and separated from families. That must stop,” he said. “We must restore the dignity of our children and ensure that every child in the Arab world has access to education as well as a strong support system to promote their social, physical and psychological well-being.”
He stressed the commitment of the Arab Council for Childhood and Development – regionally and globally – to implement a legal framework to prevent child labour, ensure financial inclusion, drive policies to provide social protection and reduce poverty, take immediate and effective measures to eliminate forced labour, end modern slavery, and human trafficking.
“Our goal is to ensure the prohibition and eradication of child labour of all forms by 2025, and to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030, as we believe that returning children to their rightful place at schools is key to poverty alleviation and the upliftment of communities,” he added.