Wanted: Global awareness and activism to prevent child labour

11Jun 2019
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Wanted: Global awareness and activism to prevent child labour

The World Day Against Child Labour is an International Labour Organisation (ILO)-sanctioned holiday first launched in 2002 aiming to raise awareness and activism to prevent child labour.

It was spurred by ratifications of ILO Convention on the minimum age for employment and ILO Convention on the worst forms of child labour.

The World Day Against Child Labour, which is held every year on June 12, is intended to foster the worldwide movement against child labour in any of its forms.

ILO , the United Nations body that regulates the world of work, launched the World Day Against Child Labour in 2002 in order to bring attention and join efforts to fight against child labour.

This day brings together governments, local authorities, civil society and international, workers and employers organisations to point out the child labour problem and define the guidelines to help child labourers.

According to ILO's data, hundreds of millions of girls and boys throughout the world are involved in work that deprives them of receiving an adequate education, health, leisure and basic freedoms, violating this way their rights.

Of these children, more than half are exposed to the worst forms of child labour. These worst forms of child labour include work in hazardous environments, slavery, or other forms of forced labour, illicit activities such as drug trafficking and prostitution, as well as involvement in armed conflict.

Children in Tanzania engage in the worst forms of child labour, including in mining, quarrying, and domestic work. Other gaps remain in the legal framework, including protections for child engagement in illicit activities and domestic work.

In 2017, Tanzania made a minimal advancement to eliminate the worst forms of child labour. The government published regulations to define hazardous work for children in several sectors and, for the first time, explicitly prohibited hazardous tasks for children in the fishing industry.

Despite these initiatives to address child labour, Tanzania is receiving this assessment because it continued to implement a policy and practice that delayed advancement in eliminating the worst forms of child labour.

Since 1984, the government has regulated access to secondary education through the Primary School Leaving Exam. Students who do not pass the exam do not have an opportunity to re-take the exam, and must drop out of public school, preventing them from continuing their education.

Students in Mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar complete primary education at the average age of 14.

Children in Zanzibar who do not pass the exam can find themselves both out of formal education but still below the minimum age for work, which is age 15, leaving such children at increased risk of child labour. Although the government has expressed its intention to phase out the National exam by 2021, it has yet to initiate efforts or make preparations to do so.

The government also explicitly supports the routine expulsion of pregnant students from public schools, making them more vulnerable to the worst forms of child labour.

In the same vein, the government has established institutional mechanisms for the enforcement of laws and regulations on child labour. However, gaps exist within the authority of the labour ministries of Mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar that may hinder adequate enforcement of their child labour laws.

Persons with albinism are humans: The world can help to protect them

Albinism is a condition some people and animals are born with. This condition is caused by a lack of pigment (colour) in their hair, eyes, and skin. A person or animal with albinism is called an albino. Many albino people prefer to be called a person with albinism . There are ten different types of albinism.

People with albinism can have white or light blonde hair. They can have very pale skin. Their eyes are blue, or rarely pink-ish. People with albinism can have problems such as bad vision and getting sunburnt easily. This is because people with albinism have less pigments in their eyes, skin and hair.

Albinism is rare in the United States. One out of every 20,000 people in the United States has albinism. There are about 15,945 people in the United States who have albinism.

Vision problems in albinism include nystagmus (irregular fast movements of the eyes), strabismus (where the eyes fail to balance) and refractory errors (like being near-sighted or far-sighted).

Albinism is the congenital absence of any pigmentation or colouration in a person, animal or plant, resulting in white hair, feathers, scales and skin and pink eyes in mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish and other small invertebrates as well.

Varied use and interpretation of the terms mean that written reports of albinistic animals can be difficult to verify.

Albinism can reduce the survivability of an animal; for example, it has been suggested that albino alligators have an average survival span of only 24 hours due to the lack of protection from UV and their lack of camouflage to avoid predators.

Albino animals have characteristic pink or red eyes because the lack of pigment in the iris allows the blood vessels of the retina to be visible.

Familiar albino animals include in-bred strains of laboratory animals (rats, mice and rabbits), but populations of naturally occurring albino animals exist in the wild, e.g. Mexican cave tetra.

Albinism is a well-recognised phenomenon in molluscs, both in the shell and in the soft parts.

It has been claimed by some, that albinism can occur for a number of reasons aside from inheritance, including genetic mutations, diet, living conditions, age, disease, or injury. However, this is contrary to definitions where the condition is inherited.

International Albinism Awareness Day is celebrated annually on June 13 to celebrate the human rights of persons with albinism worldwide.

Around the mid-2000s, reports made public a rising number of violent attacks on and murders of persons with albinism in Tanzania.

Many reports have accused perpetrators to attribute magical powers to the bodies of persons with albinism and, thus, to be motivated to use them for lucky charms and occult rituals. Until 2015, perpetrators killed more than 70 victims and harmed many more.

In response, the Tanzania Albinism Society (TAS) and other NGOs began campaigning for the human rights of persons with albinism.

TAS celebrated the first ‘Albino Day’ on May 4, 2006. It became ‘National Albino Day’ from 2009 onwards and was eventually called 'National Albinism Day'.

On an international level, the Canadian NGO Under the Same Sun (UTSS) joined late Ambassador of the Mission of Somalia to the United Nations (UN), Yusuf Mohamed Ismail Bari-Bari, in his effort to pass a resolution promoting and protecting the rights of persons with albinism.

Such a resolution came about when the Human Rights Council on June 13, 2013 adopted the first resolution ever on albinism. Later on, in its resolution of June 26, 2014 the Human Rights Council recommended June 13 to be proclaimed as International Albinism Awareness Day by the United Nations' General Assembly.

The UN's General Assembly, then, adopted on December 18, 2014 resolution to proclaim, with effect from 2015, June 13 as International Albinism Awareness Day. The chosen date is reminiscent of the UN’s first ever resolution which was passed on June 13 a year before.

Today, IAAD is celebrated around the world from Tanzania, to Argentina, to Senegal, to Fiji, France, the United Kingdom and Namibia.