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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Rwanda seeking to end child labor
through tough punishment: official 

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- Rwanda is looking at adopting stringent measures to significantly cut child labor cases in the country, a top official said on Monday.

Child labor offenders will face “tough penalties and heavy punishment,” Fanfan Rwanyindo, minister of public service and labor, told lawmakers on a law regulating labor in Rwanda.

“We are continuing to strengthen our efforts to bring an end to the cruel exploitation of those children engaged in child labor,” said Rwanyindo.

The minimum employment age in Rwanda is 16, according to the ministry of labor.

Children as young as ten are forced to spend long hours working in such areas as agriculture, mining and construction, often in harsh conditions and without access to healthcare, said the minister.

Some 2.1 percent of children in Rwanda are engaged in hazardous work, according to a 2015 survey conducted by the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda.

Data from the ministry of gender and family promotion indicates that more than 11,000 children were withdrawn from child labor in the last five years.

Donatille Mukabalisa, Rwandan speaker of parliament, said empowering poor families economically would play a crucial role in ending child labor since the majority of the children join labor force due to poverty in their families.

She called on the government to strengthen law enforcement and intensify monitoring to put an end to child labor.

Elizabeth Mukamana, a legislator, said ensuring access to quality basic education is critical for removing children from labor exploitation.

Last May, the cabinet of Rwanda asked relevant institutions, including the police to, closely monitor child labor and hold the offenders to account.

In Rwanda, children between five and 12 years old are allowed to perform unpaid household chores but are not allowed to work for more than 20 hours a week; children aged between the ages of 13 to 15 are allowed to perform light work, which includes domestic work and other family income-generating activities inside or outside of their household, in not more than 20 hours a week, according to the ministry of labor.

Children between the ages of 16 to 17 are allowed to perform all activities except the worst forms of child labor and hazardous work, according to the ministry.

             

 

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