Legal framework for child protection not enough

Children must be educated on their rights, but more importantly, they must be taught to stand up for their rights and know where to go to enforce those rights,. says a legal professional.

19 April 2021 | Social Issues

NAMPA

KHORIXAS

Children’s advocate Ingrid Husselmann says having a good legal framework for child protection is not enough and more needs to be done to properly implement child protection laws and make them effective.

Husselman told Nampa that child labour in Namibia is a reality and most cases remain unreported.

“There are many other laws in Namibia aimed at protecting children from the harmful effects of child labour, but the reality is that simply having a great legal framework for child protection is not enough.

“Children must be educated on their rights, but more importantly, they must be taught to stand up for their rights and know where to go to enforce those rights,” she said.

Namibian communities, she added, must report child labour when they become aware of it to relevant authorities responsible for child protection.

Government ministries and agencies must be properly funded and equipped to provide the best possible response to root out child labour.

Seven cases

Seven cases of child labour were recorded from 2015 to 2019, of which six were domestic child labour cases and one was a case of trafficking for child labour, the executive director of the ministry of industrial relations and employment creation, Bro- Mathew Shinguadja, recently said.

“From 2015 to 2019, two cases of child labour were recorded at Divundu in Kavango East Region while one case each was reported at Opuwo in Kunene Region, Outapi in Omusati Region, Eenhana in Ohangwena Region, Nature in Kavango West and Etenderera in Kavango East Region,” said Shinguadja.

Long-term effects

Commenting on the effects of child labour, clinical psychologist Shaun Whittaker said it affects children's emotional well-being as they are deprived of their privileges such as playing with children of the same age.

These children, he said, are forced into doing work that adults are supposed to do and it hurts them emotionally and they are not physically and mentally strong enough to do domestic work.

“In the long run, it could be that they will not grow up as normal children. These children could grow up with severe limitations and could even not cope in schools if they are enrolled for learning because labour can physically and emotional affect them,” he said.

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