The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in Uganda is fueling child labour in the east African country, a human rights report said on Wednesday.
Titled “I Must Work to Eat: COVID-19, Poverty, and Child labour in Ghana, Nepal, and Uganda,” a 69-page report was released by Initiative for Social and Economic Rights (ISER) and Human Rights Watch.
The report said the unprecedented economic impact of the pandemic, together with school closures and inadequate government assistance, is pushing children into exploitative and dangerous child labour.
Publishing ahead of the World Day against Child Labour, which falls on June 12, the study examined the rise in child labour and poverty during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the impact of the pandemic on children’s rights.
Children described working long, grueling hours for little pay after their parents lost their jobs or income due to the pandemic and associated lockdowns.
The ISER interviewed 32 children, aged between 9 and 16, who worked at gold mines, stone quarries, fisheries, in agriculture, in construction, and selling items on the street.
Many, according to the study, described hazardous working conditions, and some reported violence, harassment, and pay theft.
“The Ugandan government and donors should prioritise cash allowances to protect children’s rights and enable families to maintain an adequate standard of living without resorting to child labour,” the report said. (Xinhua/NAN)