Legislation update necessary to prevent exploitation of children

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‘Child labor is worldwide ‘menace’ not phenomenon in Kuwait’

KUWAIT CITY, June 14: At a time when Kuwait is keen to protect children and take necessary measures to care for them and prevent their exploitation, it is necessary to update the legislation on the rights of children, reports Al- Qabas daily. The statistics issued by the Public Authority for Civil Information shows the presence of more than one million Kuwaiti and expatriate children, “aged below 18 years,” and the International Day for the Prevention of Child Labor confirms the need to implement intensive inspection campaigns to punish anyone who breaks the law. Despite the broad commitment of Kuwait and government agencies to provide welfare, education and distinguished health services for children, some employ them, but this is done to a limited extent.

Dr Al-Fraih

Coinciding with the International Day for the Prevention of Child Labor, Al-Qabas daily observed many youngsters working in car repair garages and building and construction works. When asked for the reason some of the garage owners put the blame on the parents saying they come seeking for job because the parents cannot afford to meet the daily expenses, while others come in the name of learning the job. They pointed out that working in garages involves a high degree of safety, especially since the age group that works is within a limited framework, which is some kind of customer service or to purchase spare parts, and it is not hard work for them. In some residential areas and at roundabouts and roadsides of main roads children are seen selling watermelons or food products and supplies especially after the Maghreb prayer until late at night while some take to begging and 13 children of different nationalities, accompanied by their parent, were arrested during March and April this year.

The Ministry of Interior had announced earlier that these violations would be dealt with in a legal manner and that cases had been registered against parents of guardians under the item ‘Negligence in the care of a minor’. Some rights guaranteed by law include the right of the child to grow up in a cohesive family, provide protection from all forms of violence, harm or abuse, prevention of physical, moral or sexual abuse, protection from all forms of discrimination and right to education, entertainment and access to information. Human rights activists have called on the concerned authorities to take deterrent measures against anyone who exploits children and violates their innocence. Deputy Head of the National Human Rights Office, Dr. Siham Al- Fraih said that child labor in Kuwait is not a phenomenon as it is seen in various countries of the world, indicating that the cases registered in the country are few compared to other countries. Lawyer Muhammad Al-Majidi confirmed that the Kuwaiti law on the protection of children’s rights is distinguished and protects children from any abuse or exploitation they may be exposed to by their parents.

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