Maat: The government, civil society, and private sector are partners in combating child labor
Okeil: It is necessary to provide alternatives to child labor that are in line with national and international conventions
Gouda: Child labor undermines the achievement of sustainable development goals
Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights organized a consultative meeting in Minya Governorate within the framework of the "Innocence Lost among Dust" Initiative, in the presence of jurists, civil society representatives and stakeholders, on the causes of the phenomenon of child labor in Minya Governorate, and its effects on children. During the meeting, participants stressed the importance of the national plan to combat the worst forms of child labor, which is a step forward in the right direction, but efforts to combat child labor should not be limited to the government only, but rather the efforts of civil society and even the private sector, which is considered a major party in the phenomenon, must join forces.
Participants also indicated that the phenomenon of child labor is inseparable from other negative social phenomena such as early marriage and increased childbearing rates. The three issues require intensive awareness campaigns involving civil society and the government to reduce all phenomenon that would optimally affect children's access to their rights.
Ayman Okeil, an international human rights expert and President of Maat, recommended the need to governing anti-child labor efforts, where the government shall integrate with civil society and the private sector, in order to be more effective. Okeil also indicated that it is necessary to support initiatives that would provide suitable alternatives for working children and highlighted the need for these alternatives to be compatible with the conventions governing the conditions of child labor, such as not affecting their right to education, and being compatible with their physical strength, and governed by a limited number of hours during the week.
Abdellatef Gouda, coordinator of the "Innocence Lost Among Dust" Initiative, stated that the initiative comes within the framework of supporting Egypt’s efforts to implement Agenda 2030 for sustainable development, adding that child labor would negatively undermine the development process, as it mainly intersects with the Goals 3 and 4 on the right to health and education, as well as Target 8.7 on working conditions.
It is worth noting that the "Innocence Lost Among Dust" Initiative comes within the framework of the project to eliminate child labor in Egypt, under the agreement signed between Maat and ADMC, and funded by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO).