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Afghanistan: Children

Volume 494: debated on Thursday 25 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to (a) identify viable alternatives to child labour and (b) improve children’s working conditions in the mining industry in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. (281621)

Viable alternatives to child labour in Afghanistan include raising family incomes and increasing the availability of primary and secondary education. The Department for International Development (DFID) is helping raise family incomes by spending over £180 million on economic development over the next four years (nationally and in Helmand province). DFID’s support for schooling comprises a £225 million contribution to the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) over the next four years.

Afghanistan has now signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which recognises the right of the child to be:

‘protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child’s education, or to be harmful to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development.’

Afghanistan’s responsibilities under this Convention are monitored by the Afghanistan Independent Human Right Commission, support for which is provided by a number of other donors. The Government of Afghanistan has also recently launched a programme that will help identify unlicensed mining operations and enforce safer mining practices.