Relentless Efforts to Combat Child Labour in Syria

World Day Against Child Labour 2020 focuses on the impact of crisis on child labour. The COVID-19 health pandemic and the resulting economic and labour market shock are having a huge impact on people’s lives and livelihoods. Unfortunately, children are often the first to suffer.

The crisis can push millions of vulnerable children into child labour. Already, there are an estimated 152 million children in child labour, 72 million of which are doing hazardous work. These children are now at even greater risk of facing circumstances that are even more difficult and working longer hours.

This year, the World Day Against Child Labour is conducted as a virtual campaign and is being organized jointly with the Global March Against Child Labour and the International Partnership for Cooperation on Child Labour in Agriculture (IPCCLA) .

In Syria, the government and civil societies  continue to exert relentless efforts to put an end to child labor that has increased during the terrorist war on Syria which led many children to drop out of schools and become victims of violence and different abuses. Many children also lost family care, became beggars and were recruited by terrorist organizations as child fighters which is the worst form of child labor.

 Maisaa Maidani, Director of the Social Services Department At the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor, told SANA that within its anti-COVID-19 precautionary measures, the ministry has taken some health measures at child care institutes, including disinfection and awareness campaigns as well as some procedures to follow up the health situation of homeless children before admitting them to the social care institutes or juvenile care centers.

 She said the Ministry is carrying out a case management program for handling various social phenomena and issues including child labor, with focus on dealing with the causes of this phenomenon, in addition to forming a committee for helping children who fall victim to violence, human trafficking, and recruitment.

Maidani pointed out that the Ministry is  finishing up the procedures for issuing the law of child rights, which is in its final stages,  indicating that it will be in the form of principles in accordance with those of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child.

On her part , the  Director of the Family Issues at the Syrian Commission for Family and Population Affairs Rana Khleifawi indicated that the commission has prepared the national plan for  combating all  forms of child labor and protecting  them from violence  as it continues  updating all the related  data and completing  field studies on the reality of child labor in the work environment ,  the types of work children are  doing  and the economic situations  of their families.

Khleifawi indicated that they have finished  a field study on the reality of child labor in the Hassiaa  area in  Homs and the industrial zone in Damascus, while  similar studies are  being pursued in other regions.

She underlined   that the output of these studies will  contribute to finding  solutions and response plans to address the phenomenon of child labor , in addition to help empower children by helping them remain in schools and empower their families economically

Khleifawi noted  that the commission is working to update its   2020-2030 early childhood strategies   in cooperation with concerned  ministries and  authorities.

She  explained that  the Family Protection department , which was  opened by the commission  in 2017, aims at  protecting  women and children from violence and providing  health, psychological and educational services for  children who have been subjected to all forms of  violence.

Khleifawi highlighted  that Syrian laws and legislation related to child protection are compatible with international laws, legislations and agreements..

Rawaa Ghanam