Somalia, UNICEF, ILO pledge more efforts to end child labor

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Somalia, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) said Saturday that they have agreed to scale up efforts to end child labor in the African country.

On the occasion of the World Day against Child Labour, they said in a joint statement issued in Mogadishu that ending child labor can only happen through a collective systematic approach with a strong understanding of the root causes and a legal framework that prohibits children from entering the workforce at an early age.

The Somalian government has made efforts to eliminate child labor in the country. However, there is a long way to go to fully change the situation.

Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Abdiwahab Ugas Khalif said many families are forced to send their children to work due to economic hardship and lack of decent employment opportunities for family heads.

“Even more concerning, children who are recruited by militias or groups are forced into dangerous life-threatening roles such as soldiers, cooks, and cleaners,” Khalif said, calling for a well-developed national policy against child labor.

The UNICEF and ILO said even though there are different reasons behind child labor in Somalia, the government is working hard in close partnership with the international community to identify and eliminate child labor from Somalia.

Alexio Musindo, ILO director for Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan, and South Sudan as well as special representative to the African Union, said his organization is supporting Somalia to conduct a child labor assessment in order to better understand the key drivers of the situation in the country.

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