Govt Admits Failure To Honour Child Conventions

The government has admitted that though it has failed to comply with the international conventions on children's rights it has ratified.

Labour and Home Affairs Minister, Peter Siele, told a workshop on Friday that some of the conventions were ratified 10 years ago yet nothing has been done to comply with them. He cited the convention that requires the country to draw up a list of hazardous work for children. He said this has not happened because of a shortage of labour officers in the country. Though the Employment Act provides for a penalty of P1,500 or imprisonment for 12 months or both for the employment of children under the age of 15, no one has been punished though child labour is rampant in the country. Siele told the workshop on the hazardous list of work for children in Botswana that child labour is rampant at the household level, but the government can do little because homes are private places that are difficult to access by officers. It is said fighting child labour in farms in areas like Gantsi is difficult to deal with because many children work under the pretext that they are helping their parents.

"It is hard to combat it in this scenario, as their parents lead a nomadic life from one employer to another and they don't have a place called home, this leads to children being used as child labourers both paid and unpaid," one participant said. Work in agriculture, retail and trading sectors were identified as some of the activities posing hazard to children.

Editor's Comment
Let’s get the constitutional amendment right

Their concerns highlight the need for meaningful dialogue between government and relevant stakeholders to ensure the best interests of the country are served.This was in addition to other voices from opposition politicians and civil society organisations.The stance underscores the importance of citizen participation in the constitutional amendment process. The AFM rightly assert that such weighty matters demand thorough discussions to reflect the...

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