31% Afghan Child Labourers Work For 9-15 Hours Per Day

Kabul – The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) releases its research report on the situation of child labourers in Afghanistan, which is the result of extensive field research activities across the country. The data collection exercise began in July 2005 and the research findings were analysed and the conclusions drawn in April - May - 2006.
The present study indicates that child labourers in Afghanistan are lacking all forms of protection and care by the State and their number is increasing on a day-to-day basis.

In general, 18,443 children and 501 adults were interviewed by 40 AIHRC staff and volunteers.

In order to prepare this report, the research focused on child labourers in areas such as age, gender and type of work. In addition, the access by child labourers to education, working hours and factors leading to the employment of children are among the issues covered in the research.

Afghanistan ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1994 and is, therefore, bound to its implementation. Additionally, efforts have been made to make use of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) instruments and the Afghan domestic law with regard to this study.

Children are considered one of the most vulnerable social groups and due to their vulnerable position, child labourers are more prone to danger than any other segment of the child community.

Some Findings

Child labourers in Afghanistan work for 9-15 hours per day in an average basis, It means that these children start work in the early morning (6 am) and finish at 6-8 pm. 43% child labourers are under the age of 12 and 35% are aged 12-15. Only 35% child labourers attend school, whose education quality has been evaluated as too poor. Out of the child labourers who attend school, the majority must work to make such an attendance. 85% child labourers are boys, but this figure does not include the uncounted number of girls who work in the house. 96% child labourers stated economic problems as their main reason to work. But some families believed that work is useful for children. 13.4% child labourers are engaged in pedlary and 8% in street labour including beggary. 12.4% child labourers are engaged in factories and workshops. During the study, 1,414 child carpet-weavers were interviewed. The child interviewees were even 6 years old and must have worked for 12 hours per day. The Commission calls on the State of Afghanistan to design urgent, effective programmes for protection against child labour in the light of its national and international child rights commitments. The report presents a series of recommendations to the State and other responsible institutions for protecting against child labour and preventing the number of child labourers from further increasing.

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