Le Lézard
Subjects: CHI, AVO

Urgent action needed to tackle child labour caused by Syrian crisis: Save the Children and UNICEF


AMMAN, July 2, 2015 /CNW/ - The conflict and humanitarian crisis in Syria are pushing an ever increasing number of children into exploitation in the labour market, and much more needs to be done to reverse the trend, according to a new report released by Save the Children and UNICEF.

The report shows that inside Syria, children are now contributing to the family income in more than three quarters of surveyed households. In Jordan, close to half of all Syrian refugee children are now the joint or sole family breadwinners in surveyed households, while in some parts of Lebanon, children as young as six years old are reportedly working.

The most vulnerable of all working children are those involved in armed conflict, sexual exploitation and illicit activities including organized begging and child trafficking.

"The Syria crisis has dramatically reduced family livelihood opportunities and impoverished millions of households in the region, resulting in child labour reaching critical levels," says Dr. Roger Hearn, Regional Director for Save the Children in the Middle East and Eurasia. "As families become increasingly desperate, children are working primarily for their survival. Whether in Syria or neighbouring countries, they are becoming main economic players."

The report finds that a spiraling number of children are employed in harmful working conditions, risking serious damage to their health and wellbeing.

"Child labour hinders children's growth and development as they toil for long hours with little pay, often in extremely hazardous and unhealthy environments," says Dr. Peter Salama, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. "Carrying heavy loads, being exposed to pesticides and toxic chemicals, and working long hours ? these are just some of the hazards working children face every day around the region."

Three out of four working children surveyed in Jordan's vast Za'atari refugee camp have reported health problems at work, according to the report. A further 22 per cent of children casually employed in the agricultural sector in Mafraq and the Jordan Valley have also been injured while working.

Moreover, children who work are more likely to drop out of school ? adding to fears of a "lost generation" of Syrian children.

UNICEF and Save the Children call on partners and champions of the No Lost Generation Initiative, the wider international community, host governments, and civil society to undertake a series of measures to address child labour inside Syria and in countries affected by the humanitarian crisis.

"Syria's children are paying a heavy price for the world's failure to put an end to the conflict", the report concludes.

Stats and facts

About UNICEF
UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca.

SOURCE UNICEF Canada



News published on 2 july 2015 at 09:39 and distributed by: