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Thursday, September 10, 2015, Bhadra 26, 1422 BS, Zilqad 25, 1436 Hijr

Move to ensure welfare of working children
Banani Mallick
Published :Thursday, 10 September, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM  View Count : 22
The government is going to set up a separate permanent section for the wellbeing of the children working in the country and abroad to ensure their safety and security in workplaces.
Khandaker Mostan Hossain, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment on Tuesday said that a Child Labour Section (CLS) has been established under the revenue budget of the Ministry.
"The government is going to set up this section permanently so that we will not face the same consequences like that we faced earlier through opening up a child labour unit run under a project," he said.
Experts and child rights activists expressed their apprehension if this section will be able to fulfil the expectation of ensuring welfare of the children.
Earlier from 2007 to 2011, a Child Labour Unit (CLU), a five year project of ILO, under the Ministry ran to monitor and preserve data on child labour across the country.
In order to eliminate child labour from urban informal economy, the Ministry with the assistance of ILO has implemented the Urban Informal Economy (ULE) project of Support to the Time Bound Programme (TBP) towards the Elimination of Worst Forms of Child Labour (WFCL) in Bangladesh during January, 2007 to December 2011.
This temporary project of Child Labour Unit was run by the ministry's regular staff.  
When asked about the aim of the CLS, Mostan Hossain said that this section is about to work as a secretariat to monitor the activities targeting elimination of child labour all over the country.
According to the organogram of the CLS, an Assistant Secretary and a computer operator will work under the Child and Women Labour wing.
A permanent set up of CLS or section is a long-felt demand of the representatives of the civil society.
Sabira Nupur, National Advocacy Coordinator of World Vision Bangladesh said that government's specific structure is needed to monitor the present status of working children across the country.
"We could have avoided the killings of Rajon and Rakib if the government had monitored the child workers through its own mechanism," she noted.
Khandakar Jahrurul Alam, Executive Director of Centre for Services and Information on Disability which is also advocating for the elimination of child labour, said that although government has promised to set up this section for a long time but in reality there is no progress.
Expressing his doubts on the success of CLS, especially working at the grassroots level, he said that the overall monitoring is not possible by this section.
 "The supervision or ensuring welfare for child workers will be possible if government framed an independent ministry or department for children," he noted.
Another official of the Ministry of Labour and Employment on the condition of anonymity said that still district committees, upazila committees have not been formed. 
Appreciating the government's steps to open CLS, Sharfuddin Khan, an expert, said that the government should recruit people who have experiences and knowledge on the issue.
"If needed government should arrange an orientation programme on Child Labour for those are going to join the section," he added.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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