PAN, March 12, 2009

80pc kids in Ghor condemned to child labor: AIHRC

The children who are forced into labor are aged between 7 years to 16 years

Muhammad Hassan Hakimi

Young unemployed Afghans in Ghor
CHAGHCHARAN Mar 12, 2009: Mostly young unemployed Afghans are seen waiting from dawn to dusk in the northwestern Ghor province, seeking jobs for earning a livelihood for their families. (Photo: PAN/Mahmmad Hassan Hakemi)

CHEGHCHERAN: Expressing its deep concern, Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) has said that 80 percent of children in western Ghor province have been forced into labor due to poverty.

Marzai Rahimi, head of child development section of the AIHRC in Ghor told Pajhwok Afghan News that a survey conducted in the province revealed that 80 percent of the children were involved into labor in the areas of agriculture and husbandry.

Rahimi cited economic problems and lack of awareness among the people major reasons behind the scourge.

About the bad impacts of labor work on the children, she said it presses the mentality of the children and physical pressure on a child marginalizes him from society.

"The children who are forced into labor are aged between 7 years to 16 years," she said.

Rahimi said that sixty percent of girls were forced into marriages before reaching the age of adultness. "When these girls go to the houses of their husbands, they forced them into labor," she claimed.

She said that the AIHRC had opened its branch in Ghor province a year back and exact figures of child labors in the province were not yet in hand.

The human rights official described the child labor a stigma in the society and stressed the need for improving the situation and provision of education opportunities to the children.

Muhammad Sarwar, 12, a resident of Quts village is one of the children forced into child labor.

Sarwar told this agency that he had lost his father and had four young brothers and one sister.

Due to economic problems, he said he was unable to get admission into a school and working at farms with his nine-year-old brother and mother.

"It is my desire to go to school, but the poverty is not allowing me to do so. Therefore, I use to work with my family at fields" Sarwar said.

Head of provincial education department, Muhammad Naeem Frogh said that the dropout of students from high schools was 25 percent.

He said the boys after abandoning their studies go to work as laborers.

Maulavi Ramazan Qasimi, head of social and labor affairs department in Ghor province said that 80 percent population of the Ghor province was attached with farming and husbandry.

He also termed economic problems the major cause of child labor and said the issue could not be resolved until the economic situation of the people was not improved.

"Our department does not have enough budget to tackle the problem and there are no job opportunities for children," Qasimi said.

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