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Businesses Urged To Take Up Responsibility In Ending Child Labour In Ghana   
 
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14-Jun-2016  
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Children have a right to grow up in a safe and healthy environment and, on this World Day Against Child Labour, Challenging Heights wishes to draw the attention of the government, corporate organisations and the entire public on their crucial role in combating child labour in Ghana.

The Ghana Statistical Service estimates there are 1.9 million victims of child labour in Ghana and 1.2 million of them are engaged in hazardous labour.

The theme for this year, ‘End Child Labour in Supply Chains in Ghana-Together we can!’ is a wake-up call for everyone, particularly companies and other institutions to put in place structures to eliminate all forms of child labour to ensure children enjoy their basic human rights.

Corporate organisations and businesses need to understand that children have rights and acknowledge that they have a responsibility to respect these rights by preventing the exploitation and abuse of children at any level in their supply chain.

At Challenging Heights, we believe that the best place for children to work is in the school. Under no circumstance should a child be forced or encouraged to sacrifice her/his freedom, potential, dignity and education to work to fend for her/himself and/or provide for her/his family.

With millions of children in child labour here in Ghana, all supply chains are at risk of having child labour present at some point in their supply chain.

From agriculture to manufacturing, services to construction, there needs to be a focus on explicitly combating all forms of child labour as part of a broader goal of realising social and economic development.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that ‘every organ of society’ should contribute to ensuring that human rights are observed and implemented, and this includes business enterprises.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which has been ratified by Ghana, obliges states and enterprises to ‘recognise the right of the child to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child’s education or to be harmful to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development’.

It is therefore paramount for business enterprises to identify, prevent, mitigate and account for how they address child labour situations in their supply chains by assessing the actual and potential impacts of child labour in their business, act upon the findings and communicate how they are addressing the situation.

Guided by the two ‘Conventions’ on child labour of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), namely Minimum Age Convention (No138) and the Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labour (No 182) both ratified by Ghana, as well asnational legislations and frameworks, we recommend that businesses should:

·Develop a formal company policy to be approved at the most senior level of the organisation prohibiting all forms of child labour in the supply chain system.

 

·Explicitly state in contracts with suppliers that child labour should be eradicated and labour rights across all sub-contracted operations should be realised.

·Have a policy that prohibits employees from using children as domestic servants.

·Train staff and suppliers to instruct them on company’s action plan against child labour and how they should contribute to combating child labour.

·Work with relevant stakeholders such as the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ministry of Employment and Labour, Trade Unions and NGOs to tackle child labour and make sure that labour rights are enforced.

·Get involved in efforts to combat child labour in industries where child labour is rampant (e.g. fishing, cocoa, mining and quarrying) by partnering and/or funding NGOs, CSOs and government agencies.

·Set up a supply chain monitoring system and invest in a management system that can credibly assert that the company’s supply chain is free from of all forms of child labour and does not violate any rights of a child.

·Strongly condemn the use of children in hawking their products on the streets. E.g. children selling chocolates, ice cream, biscuits, soft drinks and sachet water.

Today, we also call for action from the government, which is the effective primary tool in the fight against child labour to seriously make this mission to eliminate child labour a priority and further collaborate with institutions, organisations and companies working to bring an end to child labour.

We are also advocating for the Ghana Standards Authority to come out with a quality mark for companies to put on their products to signify that no children were used in the production of those goods.

The general public should join hands with us to accelerate the elimination of child labour in supply chains by refusing to purchase goods and services from children who work during school hours and at night.

Employing children perpetuates child labour and child labour perpetuates poverty. By creating more jobs and providing better wages for adults, poverty would be alleviated and fewer children would be exploited.

 

Signed,

Pomaa Arthur

Communications Manager

Challenging Heights
 
 
Source: Peacefmonline.com
 
 

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