« International Cocoa Initiative on World Child Labour Day | Main | StreetNet International joins trade unions calling for the implementation of ILO Convention 182 »

LESOTHO. National Union of Hotels, Food and Allied Workers (NUHFAW) support Day of Action

The majority of population earn their living in the subsistence farming and stock rearing. The predominant practice has hitherto been for the boys aged 4years upwards to herd life stock suffering a number of retarding factors in the moral and spiritual development such as being exposed to harsh climatic conditions: torrential rains snow blizzards etc. and worst still being able to attend schools. Thus perpetuating vicious circle of poverty due to lack of acquiring functional skills for subsistence and improvement of quality of life.

High rates of unemployment and underemployment have contributed markedly to child labour. High proportion of Basotho males worked in the Republic of South African mines. But the restructuring of the mining industry in South Africa has resulted retrenchments of significant basotho mine workers. Children have been withdrawn from schools in to labour market so as to supplement family incomes.
The other element is the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS infections and has claimed its toll: 30% of the economically active population i.e working population aged between 18 and 49 years, leaving the children and elderly people exposed to vagaries of poverty. Children have been forced to find employment to support both elderly and sick people. The emergence of child-headed has forced most children to fend for themselves to support their siblings.
Lesotho being an ILO member state is bound to observe the declaration of the fundamental principles of Human rights and the fights at work. In addition the Lesotho has ratified the two core ILO conventions viz Convention No. 138 on minimum age and Convention No. 182 on elimination of worst forms of child Labour and therefore see to it that the principles enshrined in these instruments are realized both in Law and Practice.
It should be noted that Lesotho has ratified the United Nations Convention on the rights of a child. And the United Nations Covenant on economic Social and Cultural Rights.

Another special feature of agriculture is the extend to which child workers form a major part of the work force in many countries. The ILO report 1996 report that 20 developing countries put a proportion of economically active children aged 5-14 years in farming, animal husbandry. As this emphasizes: “ the implications of this figures is clear, if the majority are located in developing countries and large number of children from the ambit of protective legislation “ many children are killed, injured, or fall ill as a result of their work.
It was emphasized in 2006 at the International Conference that “ Unless a concerted effort is applied to reducing child labour in agriculture, it will be impossible to achieve the ILO goal of the elimination of child labour in the 2016”.
A second edition of the ILO report indicate that over 132 Million children age 5 – 14 years work in agriculture – up to 70 per cent of working children.
The children are exposed to dangerous work and toxic pesticides, work long hours, some times in extreme temperatures and can end trapped in forced or bonded labour. As a result working children generally are out of schools.
As Lesotho does not represent a large portion in commercial agriculture, but processed food products are consequently taking a large scale of in many sectors.
It is therefore NUHFAW’s effort, calling upon all employers to whom NUHFAW has Collective relationship to commit to work with NUHFAW at National and International level to eliminate the child labour along their supply chains. As a result of weight of child labour in agricultural sector, join the world that the processed food products can confidently be confirmed to be child - labour free.
And further more NUHFAW is calling upon the ministry of Labour and Epmloyment and other government agencies to facilitate, as a matter of agency, the enforcement of provisions of the Labour Code and other relevant instruments.
It is NUHFAW’s believe as emphasized in the IUF publications that adult poverty is the root cause of child labour. Action to improve the living and the working conditions of adult workers in agriculture and may other sectors is the key to elimination of child labour, which means enforcing employment rights and strengthening the position of the trade unions in the sector.