Statement of the social workers volunteer of Imam Ali community on the occasion of the International Child Labor Day
This year, at the International Day for the Child Labor, many child rights activists are in shock of the Imam Ali’s community dissolve decision. One of the largest civil society organizations in Iran, which has been active to fight against child labor for more than two decades and has an acceptable record in this matter, is not allowed to operate (or in the other words),to support the most vulnerable sections of society.
This year, the International Labor Organization has declared “banning child labor with family-centered social support through middle circles” as the annual motto for fighting child labor around the world. But labor children in Iran have lost one of the largest institutions that sought to assert their rights by law. Although the protection of children and women affected by this institution is defined on as the basis of human duty, the issuance of dissolution order for this group that works in the field of social harms, in the days when the instances of the social harms are highest in recent decades, and the living issues of the people have increased hundred times. That means culminate in leaving the vulnerable sections of the society alone, especially the labor children on these hard days. The only result of the lack of supportive institutions that sympathetically pursue the rights of labor children, is increasing in the number of labor children, as well as increasing in the number of harms inflicted on this segment of society.
June 22 is the International Day for the Elimination of Child Labor. For many years, the issue of child labor with its irreparable consequences for children has been raised as a social issue by social activists, but neither the policy structure nor even the socio-cultural structure of society has dropped behind with the severity of this issue and it’s would resulting in crises. In all these years, instead of trying to understand the root of the problem, the emphasis only has been focused on reducing the issue. The policymaker and the planner see the solution in the implementation of plans to collect and organize children, and public opinion has a far-fetched definition of these children due to incorrect media information, which causes to misunderstood them. Civil society organizations can also be blackmailed or subject to legal impediments in the case of enlightenments of the matter.
One of the important issues that has reached a crisis stage in the field of child labor is that the root cuases of this issue and its consequences, for people who are in the position of policy-making and decision-making is unfamiliar. Is it possible to plan for labor children and ignore the severe poverty of the family? How many families have been lifted out of the poverty cycle by implementing projects that only erase the problem with topics such as “organizing labor children”? How many children have been forcibly prevented from entering the streets and underground workshops? Can we be aware of the physical, mental and sexual harm of labor children – as silent victims of this issue – and only talk about the high incomes of these children?
To underestimate this complex and large social issue, lead to decisions far from reality and not to address economic and cultural poverty as the most important cause of this issue, has only one result: the growing number of children who are forced to support their families. They must be forced to work and stay away from education, mental and physical health, and the acquisition of necessary social and personal skills. The result is that millions of children who experience all kinds of trauma through forced labor and their right to “have childhood” are denied .As the result, a reproduction of the poverty cycle for low-income families.
The motto of this year’s International Day for the Elimination of Child Labor is “Prohibition of Child Labor with Family-Based Social Support through Child-Supporting Middle Circles.” I wish the officials would reflect a little on this slogan this year. They may realize the irreplaceable role of non-governmental organizations in the proper and principled social support of low-income families, and know that the issuance of a dissolution order for them will exacerbate such issues.