The National Council for Family Affairs (NCFA) last week held a series of meetings with stakeholders to update the National Framework for the Reduction of Child Labour and the Manual on Applied Measures, which were prepared and approved by the government in 2011.
The meetings served as a platform to discuss the first draft of the updated framework prepared by a technical committee comprising members of the ministries of social development, labour, education and interior, in addition to representatives of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and UNICEF.
Asked about the reasons behind the update, NCFA head of research and studies directorate Mai Sultan stressed the need to adapt the framework to the recent changes in national legislation concerning child labour, pointing to the amendments made to the Juvenile Law in 2014 and to the 2018 draft strategy for children in street situations.
“We wanted to be aligned with the established policies on child protection, centred on case management as a holistic approach for service providers,” Sultan noted.
In order to advocate for child labour issues and support the implementation of the draft provisions on child work through education, NCFA has previously worked to reconstitute the National Committee for Child Labour, making it serve as a platform for national dialogue on child labour issues and an engine for policy formulation, legislation reform and advancement.
In addition, the council established a national institutional mechanism for coordination among partners aimed at ensuring the provision of quality and comprehensive services, defining the roles and responsibilities of all institutions working in this area and implementing transformation mechanisms that protect children from falling into labour exploitation.
However, child labour rates in the Kingdom have doubled compared with pre-crisis figures, according to the latest national survey on child labour carried out in 2016 by the Centre for Strategic Studies in cooperation with the ILO, the Ministry of Labour and the Department of Statistics.
Surveying some 20,000 families across 12 governorates and the Zaatari refugee camp, the assessment revealed that 75,982 children in the five to 17 age group were working.
In 2018, the council said it will work on updating the Manual on Applied Measures and on preparing the final draft on the new framework, to later submit it for approval at the Prime Ministry.
In addition, standard operational procedures will be tested, and further steps will be taken in order to train relevant stakeholders involved in the application of the framework, according to Sultan.