The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Labour, Senator Matthew Jaye says that the National Action Plan (NAP) on the elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour is the way and the only way forward for the future of youthful generation of Liberia.
“I therefore urge the Ministry of Labour which is the lead actor to sell the NAP Document constructively to the public and government agencies through civil education and most importantly to the first Branch of Government for budgetary support.”
Senator Jaye said that as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Labour, he will work with other members of the committee in identifying support for the NAP Document as well as lobby with his colleagues to make sure that the National Action Plan is given the fullest support.
He said the vulnerabilities of children can be attributed to life-cycle challenges, natural disaster, medical problems, induced economic shocks and social exclusion amongst others.
Senator Jaye made these assertions on Friday, October 11, 2019 when he served as Key Note Speaker and Chief Launcher at the official launching program of the National Action Plan (NAP) Document on the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour in Liberia held at the Ministry of Labour on United Nations Drive in Monrovia.
Speaking on the topic “Upholding the effective abolition of child labour”, Senator Jaye said that there are concerns about the impact of child labour on fundamental rights as it relates to National Development for this government. He noted that these concerns drive from harmful effects of hazardous work that appeal to not only the psychological, but also the development of the child.
“Child Labour manifest itself in various forms and in all of the sectors to include domestic service, commercial agriculture, fishing, mining, rock crushing, street selling and prostitution. Child labour should not be confused with “Youth Employment” as from the minimum working age, young people should be able to engage in decent work, but still need protection from hazardous work and other forms of child labour.”
The River-Gee County Senator said that Child Labour is an inhumane form of exploitation that is a violation of fundamental human rights. It is recognized and defined by international communities and is a declared policy of the international communities calling on all governments to abolish the practice.
Providing the overview of the NAP Document, the Director of the Child Labour Section at the Ministry of Labour, Madam Patient Heah, said that NAP document was developed through a rigorous process, based on findings from a background study conducted on Child Labour issues in Liberia in 2013. She informed the gathering that due to the findings it was compelling for the development of a NAP on Child Labour.
The process also involved the holding of series of meetings, workshops and consultations between 2014-2017 with financial and technical assistance from the International Labour Organization (ILO), and the WINROCK International ARCH project. It took into consideration the energy and expertise of the technical Working Groups, the local and international consultants to have this NAP where it is now.
She noted that the NAP document is geared toward addressing Child Labour issues in Liberia and has an implementation time from 2018-2030, it outlined three major pillars to responding to Child Labour issues which include; Awareness and Social Mobilization, Legal framework and Institutional Capacity and Social Protection and Economic Empowerment.
She used the occasion to thanked all of the partners that provided the needed assistance and to the most zealous National Steering Committee on Child Labour.
The National Action Plan Document on the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour which runs from 2018 to 2030 was developed by the Ministry of Labour and the National Steering Committee on Child Labour, with support from the International Labour Organization (ILO) and Winrock International/ARCH Project.
It is a National frame Work Document which seeks to mobilize actors at all levels to intensify the national response and deepen the understanding of the risks and consequences of child labour. It is also a comprehensive strategy to prevent and protect children from activities detrimental to their health, education and development.
The NAP Document has been approved by the Cabinet and endorsed by the President of the Republic of Liberia, H. E. Dr. George M. Weah.
tthe launching program which was also part of the Commemoration of the International Day of the Girl Child brought together stakeholders and partners in the fight against child labour in Liberia including the United States Embassy, ECOWAS, ILO, UNICEF, Chinese Embassy, the Liberia Labour Congress, Liberia Chamber of Commerce, line Ministries and Agencies of Government, members of National Steering Committee on Child Labour amongst others.