The increase in cases of child labour in Uganda has attracted the ire of government and other players who have warned that the practice is detrimental to the physical and psychological development of children.
According to the available data from the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development child labour has increased especially during the Covid-19 lockdown because several children are now out of school.
Yet some children are equally concerned that the government is largely focusing on the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic ignoring other forms of violations of their rights taking place in homes and on streets.
Globally, 170 million children are engaged in one form of child labour or another.
In Uganda, the number is two million comprising children aged between 5-17yrs.
According to the state minister for Youth and Children, Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi, child labour limits the physical, psychological, and moral well being of the children.
“We should understand, the war against child labour is not the war against all child work but it is the work that comprises physical, mental, and moral development of a child,” said Nakiwala.
She said children should only be engaged in the work that is commensurate with their age considering their physical, cognitive, and psychological development.
“By the Constitution of Uganda, I wish to take this opportunity to urge individuals, employers, and others not to employ children below the age of 16,” she said.
Nakiwala called upon all the district labour officers to regularly carry out child labour specific inspection as part of the government’s efforts to eliminate the practice in the country.
“Although teaching children how to work is very important in our society, the right of children to education should not be compromised, “she said