Child Labor, One of the Repercussions of Crisis in Syria

In any society, the exploitation of children in different kinds of work deprives them of their childhood and hinders their ability to attend school. Besides, child labor has dangerous and harmful mental, physical, social and moral impacts on children; impacts that need orchestrated efforts by International organizations and governments of the world’s countries to eradicate the phenomenon of employing children.

The World Day against Child Labor, which falls on June 12, was marked this year by stressing the need to provide more social protection to all children of the world, particularly those under armed conflicts.

Syria is known among other countries of the region of having very developed laws in terms of prohibiting child labor and protecting the rights of its children, particularly the right to receive qualitative education and health care.

The ongoing war on Syria, caused by foreign-backed terrorism, has left thousands of Syrian families displaced in refugee camps set in neighboring countries, thereby exposing the Syrian children to various forms of exploitation, including child labor.

A recent UNICEF report said that 90% of the unorganized labor force in Jordan is from the Syrian children staying in the refugee camps there. Those children are working within bad and hard conditions in which they suffer serious violations.

On the other hand, displaced Syrian children staying at temporary sheltering centers in Syria and who are not able to have access to education have been the target of the government's keen efforts aiming to help them return to school to continue their study.

Syria marked the World Day against Child Labor by holding a workshop to shed light on the violations being committed against the Syrian children at refugee camps and to stress the need to protect these children against child labor.

The workshop, which was held by the Syrian Commission for Family and Population Affairs in cooperation with the UNICEF, focused on the importance of associating the humanitarian assistance provided to the displaced families with the commitment of these families to allowing their children to join schools.

The UNICEF was urged to follow up the conditions of the children of the displaced families in refugee camps, to put an end to the violations being committed against the Syrian children and to act immediately against the governments which give a blind eye to these violations.

Participants in the workshop affirmed that psychological and social support programs dedicated for the families staying at temporary sheltering centers should promote anti-child labor concepts. They urged more support for vocational education and for the reactivation of vocational training centers.

The importance of disseminating awareness about the bad impacts of child labor and against all forms of abuses was also stressed during the workshop.

Minister of Social Affairs Kinda al-Shammat regretted the international organizations’ silence towards the grave violations being committed against the Syrian children at refugee camps, stressing the need to ensure protection to these children, as the humanitarian file must be kept away from any kind of politicization that serves the purposes of anti-Syria countries.

The minister said that the armed terrorist groups have committed grave violations against children in several areas in Syria, pointing out that the ministry has spared no effort to document violations such as the recruitment of children in the ongoing fighting, the violence against children and the worst forms of child labor.

Hadeel al-Asmar, President of the Syrian Commission for Family and Population Affairs, affirmed the importance of coordinating the efforts of the government parties and non-government organizations to combat child labor and fight all forms of violence against children.

H. Mustafa