NHRC workshop on Bonded and Child labour

New Delhi, June 26, 2007

National Human Rights Commission is holding a National Level Workshop on Bonded Labour and Child Labour tomorrow (June 27, 2007). The workshop, which will be inaugurated by Justice Shri S. Rajendra Babu, Chairperson, NHRC will discuss a number of issues on bonded labour and child labour. Since the year 2003, the Commission has been organizing a number of workshops on the subject in association with the Ministry of Labour and concerned State Governments for District Magistrates and other State Governments officials. These workshops came out with some general recommendations which are-· Immediate financial relief of Rs.1000/- to each of the identified and released bonded labourers.· Prosecution to be launched in all cases of bondage.· Comprehensive survey to be carried out to determine the magnitude of the incidence of child labour including bonded child labour and those in hazardous categories.· Convergence of work done by Government Department and NGOs.· Deputy Commissioners to be the Centre of Convergence efforts related to bonded and child labour.· Constitution of District and sub-divisional level Vigilance Committees.· The Vigilance Committees should examine the status of already rehabilitated bonded labourers, plan for rehabilitation of identified bonded labourers, and monitor bonded labour prone areas/industries.· Periodic review of Vigilance Committees and their functions.· Comprehensive psychological rehabilitation of the families.· Severe punishment to brokers and middleman who traffic child labour and export children from one State to another.In spite of continuing efforts of the Commission child labour still persists in most of the States in India. This is continuing despite several pronouncement of the Supreme Court and sincere efforts of the social action groups and activists. The Commission has been urging the Government of India to re-write the Child Labour laws by viewing the issue from the perspective of the “Convention of the Rights of the Child”, 1989, which has been ratified by India and our own constitutional provisions of Article 21, 39 (e), 39 (f) and 45. The Commission feels the issue should be addressed on priority as now free and compulsory education has been made a fundamental right of every child up to the age of 14 years. In this field, the Commission feels that State Governments can take appropriate steps to ensure cent percent enrolment and retention of school going children, which will be a lasting solution to the problem of child labour.In the light of the above, the workshop to be organized tomorrow will deal with a number of issues. They include —-Constitutional provisions, Bonded Labour System (Abolition Act), disowning by states the existence of bonded/child labour, Centrally sponsored Schemes, convergence of schemes for meaningful, permanent and effective rehabilitation, Special problems on identification, release and rehabilitation of migrant bonded labourers (adults and children). Child labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, National Child Labour Project, State Level Monitoring Committee, District and sub divisional level Vigilance Committees, Orientation and Training of Members of Vigilance Committees and Magistrates, Role of NGOs and Monitoring and Evaluation of administrative structure in different states.The participants of the workshop will be Secretary, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment; Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Chief Secretaries and Labour Secretaries concerned, of all the States and Union Territories.*******

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