Child rights activists in a seminar in Dhaka on Monday demanded inclusion of domestic works on the list of hazardous works for children. Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum organised the programme titled ‘rights of child domestic workers at risk: possible way forward’ at Bangladesh Institute of Administration and Management Foundation auditorium. They that the government prepared the list of hazardous works for children in March 2013 marking 38 types as hazardous including working in factories, carrying goods at ports and ships, working as helpers on public transports and some other works but domestic work was not on the list.
The Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies assistant executive director, Syed Sultan Uddin Ahmed, presented the keynote paper and said there were around 420,000 domestic workers in the country and more than 50 per cent of them belonged to age group 5-15 years.
‘A huge number of children are engaged in domestic work and they are being deprived of the fundamental human rights including rights of education, health, food, clothing and recreation,’ he said.
In 2001-2013, a total of 798 domestic workers were victimised by domestic violence of which— 398 people died, 299 were injured and 100 were sexually harassed.
He has said that violence against domestic workers is going on as they are yet to be recognised as labourer according to the Labour Act 2006.
The social welfare state minister, Promode Makin, addressed the seminar as the chief guest and he said that implementation of existing laws and policies could ensure the rights of children and end child labour.
The BSAF director, A S Mahmood, suggested that implementing registration and inspection system, fixing wages and ensuring punishment against domestic violence could be helpful to stop violence against children and domestic helps.
The Democracy Watch founding executive director, Taleya Rahman, has urged the government to introduce child allowance to the poor families who are forced to engage their children as domestic helps.
Terre des Hommes Netherlands country director Mahmudul Kabir and BSAF chairman Md Emranul Haq Chowdhury also spoke.
-With New Age input