Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum (BSAF)
A Nationwide Movement for Rights of the Child in Bangladesh
Workshop in Chittagong
Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum (BSAF) as a member of the National Child Labour Welfare Council (NCLWC), BSAF intends to organize the workshops for the DCLWC in order to enhance the capacity of this high level council. The 1st divisional capacity building workshop was organized on 26 May 2016 at the Hotel Peninsula at Chittagong. The workshop was organized by BSAF with support from ILO and the Ministry of Labour and Employment which was attended by 35 of participants from different stakeholders. It was a day-long program started at 10:15 A. M. Mr. Khondaker Mostan Hossain, the joint secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Employment chaired the inaugural session. Mr. Md. Emranul Huq Chowdhury, Chairperson of Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum (BSAF) spoke on the occasion. The whole session was moderated by Syeda Munira Sultana, National Project Coordinator, CLEAR Project of ILO Bangladesh Country Office. The workshop was divided in to 3 sessions; Inaugural, working and closing sessions.
The participants were given a one page questionnaire (Pre-orientation assessment) and asked to fill-up that. At this stage Mr. Mostan Hossain gave a power point presentation on the remarkable achievements of the govt. over the last couple of years in regard to eliminating child labour. His presentation covered the following areas:
- Legislations and Policies
- International Commitment
- Strategic areas to eliminate HCL and WFCL
- Formation of Child Labour Council at national level and other tiers
- Technical Assistance from ILO
- Contribution of NGO, INGO and Social Partners
- Institutional Capacity Building
- SDG Commitment and way Forward
Mr. Mostan categorically mentioned that, govt. has vision 2021 to transform Bangladesh as middle income country and by implementing Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) targets; Bangladesh will be free from child labour by 2025.
After then the session was facilitated by two facilitators. They were Mr. AKM Masud Ali Khan and Mr. Abdulla Al Mamun. Mr. Masud Ali in his deliberations clarifies the definition and age of child labour according to NCLEP and BBS. He pointed out that working children and child labour is not same. Number of children engaged in different works is more than the number of child labour. He pointed out that Bangladesh govt. has ratified ILO c182 but not the ILO c138 and c185. However, according to labour law amended in 2013, children could not be appointed in any job before 14 years of age. He analyzed the objectives of the NCLEP 2010.
Group # 02: Challenges of the committees
- No concern department
- Lack of coordination with concern department
- Inadequate manpower for monitoring
- Weakness in social movement
- Implementation of laws and policies
- There is no budgetary allocation for the working committee
Group # 03: Identify priorities that would be looked into.
- Mechanical/ Engineering workshop
- Truck/ Tampoo and Bus helper
- Construction work
- Steel and metal factories
- Welding and gas burner
- Brick and stone crushing
- Automobile Workshop
Group # 04: In order to eliminate child labour what social initiatives should be taken in Chittagong division area.
- Social awareness raising
- Uses of Social media network
- Cultural activities
- To inform the religious institution and campaign through the Imam and purohito
- Initiative taken by the local government institutions to identify hazardous work
- Community based child organization and ensure child participation
- Parents and guardians should be aware
- Pro active role of print and electronic media
- Alternative care and keep families under the social safety net program
At the concluding session Mr. Mostan Hossain gave vote of thanks through his brief speech. The key recommendations were discussed in the committee meeting.
Key recommendations by the participants:
- To identify hazardous work the local government institutions should take the initiative
- Electronic and print media should play pro active role for raising awareness about the bad consequences of child labour
- To work properly ministry should allocate a budget for the working committee
- Go, NGO coordination must needed to implement the NPA of NCLEP.
- Ministry should increase the number of labour inspector for proper monitoring
- Proper/strong supervision through UNO and committee member is needed at root level
the process of elimination of child labour. He further said that, his administration is working to eradicate begging from the Khulna district.
Mr. Khondaker Mostan Hossain, Joint Secretary of MoLE in his speech as the guest of honour said, govt. is committed to eliminate child labour (CL). According to the Labour Law 2006 (Amended in 2013), no child under 14 could be appointed in job. Children between 14 to 18 years of age could be appointed in job, but in any case they should not be appointed in any hazardous job. By the year 2021 there would be no hazardous child labour (HCL) in Bangladesh. Mr. Mostan further said that, as per SDG goal 8.7, there would be no child labour in Bangladesh by the year 2025.
Mr. Md. Abdus Samad, Divisional Commissioner of Khulna division delivered his speech as the Chair of the session. Mr. Samad thanked the Minister for coming to Khulna and his commitment to the elimination of child labour. He said, the presence of the Minister encourages all concerned stakeholders. He announced his all-out support and cooperation to achieve the target of eliminating HCL by the year 2021. He appealed the Minister that, MoLE should create a welfare fund, from which distressed children will be given assistance which eventually will contribute in elimination of HCL and CL.
In his speech of Chief Guest, Mr. Mujibul Haque said, govt. is committed to eliminate HCL by the year 2021 and all other forms of child labour (CL) by the year 2025. He said, definition of child labour differs from one law to another, i.e. Children Act and Labour Law. These kinds of difference sometime misguide people and bad doers take advantage of these. Child labour has been reduced significantly (About 50%) comparing to the survey of 2003 and 2013. It is possible because of govt. and others’ effort. Bangladesh proves that, they can do. MoLE is planning to develop a scheme by the year 2017 through children engaged in labour would be given support. The minister said, Bangladesh entrepreneurs are very intelligent. They know how to compete in the world market. Law would be developed for the domestic workers. To eliminate HCL, a few sectors should be identified. Because, it would be difficult to bring positive result if govt. deals all sectors at a time. Hence tannery sector has been identified as first of this kind.
At this stage of the workshop, Mr. Khondokar Mostan Hossain, Joint Secretary of MoLE shown a power point presentation, where he shown the major interventions of MoLE to address the HCL and CL, technical support from ILO, collaboration with BSAF and other NGOs, formation of child labour welfare council etc. Over the last couple of years. A short documentary was shown where the child labour and their right to education were highlighted. The documentary was developed by the MoLE, ILO, BSAF, MJF and Save the Children in Bangladesh.
Mr. Abdulla Al-Mamun, the Program Coordinator of Manusher Jonno Foundation and member of National Child Labour Welfare Council who was the facilitator of the workshop, started the business session. He started with the pre test of the participants.
Through power point presentation, he raised some concerns related to CL and HCL. Those were:
- Who are Child
- Definition of child
- Existing laws, policies in regard to children and child labour
- Where we are now
Mr. Khondaker Mostan Hossain, Joint Secretary of MoLE, at this stage analyzed and revised the suggestions and comments passed by the participants.
As chief guest of the workshop, Mr. Mujibul Haque, the State Minister of MoLE passed his remarks that, we all GO and NGO officials should do additional work out of our routine tasks if needed for the sake of the children and child rights (CR).
Child bonded labour would be included in the HCL list when it would be revised.
In his concluding remarks as the Chair of the session, Mr. Abdus Samad, the divisional commissioner of Khulna said, law should be amended where necessary. GO-NGO collective and coordination is important to achieve the targeted elimination of HCL by the year 2021 and all forms of CL by the year 2025. Implementation of policies, laws etc. are important. Khulna divisional administration will take initiative to meet all industry owners with a view to discuss about the HCL and CL and the government’s stand on these issues. The Chairperson emphasized on the organization of such workshop at district and upazila levels.
He thanked the State Minister for his coming and attending the workshop; all government officials from ministry, different districts and upazilas; ILO, BSAF, all other NGOs and INGOs, media and professionals for attending and contributing in the workshop. He specially thanked ILO for their continuous support to the government in achieving the target.
Ms. Syeda Munira Sultana of ILO expressed her thanks to the minister for his presence in the workshop, keen interest to children and commitment to eliminate child labour. Ms. Munira expressed her gratitude to all govt. officials and others who participated and contributed to make the event a success. She finally declared conclusion of the day-long workshop.
Output of the 2 workshops:
- All the DCLWC member were present in the Workshops and after the workshop they sat together to discuss the recommendations of the workshop which was headed by the Divisional Commissioner
- 7 UNOs of Chittagong division and 10 UNOs from Khulna division were participated in the workshops
- Presence of the Govt. representatives like State Minister, joint Secretary of the Ministry, Divisional Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner have enriched the discussions, encouraged others and contributed lots to serve the purpose of the workshop
- At Khulna some print and electronic media covered the news.