In the face of increasing cases of child abuse in Africa, member states have been called upon to come up with comprehensive and effective child protection measures in line with international labour standards.

Despite efforts to eradicate child labour globally, Africa continues to experience the scourge with statistical estimates by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) showing that nearly 59 million children in the continent between the ages of 5 and 17 are child labourers involved in hazardous work.

It is against this background that more than 10 countries within the continent came together under the African Regional Labour Administration Centre (ARLAC) to share ideas on how they can construct and implement policies that address child labour.

Participants concurred that international labour standards stipulated by ILO must be promoted, included in each country’s legislation and be applied by all member states to end child labour.

The legal obligation to protect children’s rights rests with the governments hence the need to reinforce action to ensure elimination of child labour and slavery,” said Naomi Chakanya, a senior researcher with  the Labour and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe.

Children are involved in hazardous work and employed against their will in stone quarries, farms and mines and in other countries as soldiers despite a number of African countries being signatories to international conventions that protect children’s rights including the International Convention on the Rights of Children.