Consider Socio-Economic Content in Child Labour Debate – Speaker

Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye, has observed that the world cannot talk of issues of child labour without considering the socio-economic content, which is deeply rooted in economic factors.

According to him, children of privileged parents who can afford to keep them in school are less likely to be subject of child labour and argued that the world needs to realize the current world economic order is fundamental to child labor and other child maladies in Africa.

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Speaker Mike Ocquaye and Mr. Kailash Satyarthi and his wife

Prof. Mike Oquaye made the observation when Indian child rights activist, Champion of the 100 Million Campaign against Child Labour and Nobel Peace laureate, Mr. Kailash Satyarthi, called on him at Parliament House.

He noted that in Africa where there is poverty, misery and disease, it is not easy to fight these elements and stressed that campaigners of child labour must also look at the root cause and to realize the precarious situation Africa is in.

“Today in Africa, we are inundated with cheap products from developed countries as a result of the world economic order and what the World Trade Organization (WTO) has fashioned out.”

He wondered how third world countries like Ghana can industrialize and produce their own products when they are constantly being threatened with sanctions by developed countries who believe their export interests are not being served.

He argued that Europe and British economic history are replete with child maladies in the early days of their struggle for economic revolution, arguing that there were no dirty jobs that five-year old children never did in England.

“Of course, this must be eliminated in Africa and anywhere but the world must realize the present economic order is fundamental to child labour.”

He averred that educated children are the best resource of any nation and that human resource is number one before any other aspect of an economic factor can bear consequence.

The Speaker pointed out that keeping a child in school is a way of preventing the child from being exposed to some of the child maladies and stressed that those in school are protected by the mere fence walls and cannot easily fall prey to miscreants.

He stated that government is aware aspects of child labour prevails and has made efforts to eliminate it and is pursuing it to its logical conclusion.

Indian child rights activist and Noble Peace laureate, Mr. Kailash Satyarthi, noted that the 100 Million Campaign against Child Labour is the most ambitious in human history and the largest involving young people.

According to him, 100 million or more young people are victims of violence that includes slavery, trafficking, prostitutions among many others while another 100 million young people are in universities, colleges, schools and professions ready to do something good for society and eager to take up challenges that will make the world a better place.

“Young people are not only full of energy and enthusiasm, they also have strong element of idealism that looks for better purpose of life and objectives but the world is not able to offer them a strong global platform,” he stated.

He indicated that working with children across 144 countries he has learnt how to connect with youth constituents so that hundred million young people would become spokespersons, change makers and champions of other children.

Youth and students, he said, who have access to phones and computers can become change makers by exposing and opposing injustices, wrongs and inequalities, atrocities and exploitation of young people in any part of the world.

“They can also be more responsible consumers and demand from big companies that no child labour should be engaged in the supply chain.”

“As responsible citizens and consumers, they can be global change makers so that young people’s leadership would be established to prevent them being disillusioned with the systems, establishments, institutions, families and societies.”

By Osumanu Al-Hassan/uthmanhass@gmail.com

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