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LAW0426 Employment Law in a Global Context : International Labour Organization

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1.Identify and critically examine a contemporary employment issue relating to global employment. This contemporary issue will form the basis of your presentation in Assessment 1 and will be developed further to produce the written report required for Assessment 2.

Assessment Criteria
Things student must have done to acquire a 70% or above
1. Significant legal issues to be identified/ critical arguments to be made
Identification of a contemporary legal issue.

A critical approach taken.

Legal issues are scrutinised with reference to relevant law, policies and procedures.
2. Research
Competent use of relevant materials as discussed in class and obtained through own detailed research i.e. journals etc.

3. Relevance (evaluation of research)
Detailed knowledge of relevant cases selected, explained, analysed and correctly applied as appropriate.

4. Quality of the written argument, creativity and critical thinking
The answer must be written in a logical, sequential manner with a sophisticated analysis and critical thinking applied.

5. Presentation and quality of written communication/
language skills

There should be few spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors, if any The quality of the presented work should effectively articulate the argument being advanced to produce an excellent answer.

6. Other comments/if any, for example, re:
Strengths/weaknesses/areas for improvement
Drawn reasonable conclusions that specifically address the issue at hand. The student must offer their own insights into the effectiveness of the law that are well thought through and clearly argued. 

Answer:

Introduction

The purpose of this report is to through a light upon the ongoing problem of child labour in Nigeria. The report would conduct a critical examination of the existing legal provisions present in Nigeria along with laws provided by international governing bodies such as the United Nation International Children Education Fund (UNICEF) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) for the purpose of protecting the rights of children. Child labour is a global sin. The future of the children is compromised with for a few dollars in form of child labour. However this evil practice is deemed necessary in some situations where the children or their families need income in order to provide by survival necessities. When a child engages in labour he or she has to work hard in such phase of life where they require proper education and upbringing in order to be self-sufficient in future. Not all children engage in child labour through their own will, moreover most of the child labour in Nigeria is forced. Both domestic and international legislations have set a minimum age below which a child is not supposed to engage in heavy labour. However it is often seem that the legislations merely act as a framework with little implementation to support their cause.

According to Putnick, Diane and Marc Bornstein all young person and child have rights irrespective of where they live and who they are. These rights include right to protection, survival and education. Almost all governments in the world have made a promise with respect to fulfilling,respecting and protecting these rights, however these rights are still violated every day. According to Maconachie, Roy and HilsonNigeria has been subjected to criticism for the violation of human and children’s rights within its territories. The report provides an understanding with respect to the current situation of child labour in Nigeria along with throwing light upon international and domestic legislations with respect to child labour. The report also provides recommendations which could aid towards enhancing the situation of child labour in the country.


Child Labour in Nigeria

The urban centers of Nigeria are exposed to child labour prevalently. The primary reason for this is the large volume of migration of people from rural to urban areas in the country. The population has increased drastically in the country so has the rate of migration from rural to urban sectors. For example in Uyo the capital of Akwa Ibom State has undergone rapid urbanization and the struggle for better life has brought various poor rural families to the area. This has been the main reason why children are forced to work in order to add on to their family income towards their bid to survival. The rate at which child labour is growing in Nigeria is alarming. In the year 1995 there were twelve million reported cases of child labour in the country. The number grew to fifteen million till the year 2006 in relation to children indulging in labour under the age of fourteen years. According to recent statistics as per the year 2016 more than twenty million Nigerian children have been made the victims of child labour in the country. It has been estimated by the International Labour organization that out 100 million Nigerian children 30% of the population would be subjected to child labour by the year 2020.

In Nigeria children work in diverse sectors which include domestic help, mining, armed conflicts, fishing farms child trafficking and street hawking. The most common form of child labour in the country is street hawking where children work the whole day depriving them the opportunity to be enrolled in schools and further the children who are already enrolled in schools are forced to drop out. According to Awosusi& Adebo (2012) most of the child labourers in the country are subjected to psychological, mental, physical and sexual abuse.  The children are made to work for an extended period in harsh working conditions with little pay benefit if any.

The children in Nigeria have to attend compulsory schools till they reach the age of nine years. The primary education is the country is not only free but also compulsory. However most of the children who are a part of child labour do not get enrolled in schools. Moreover other factors like teenage pregnancy, early marriage; religious and cultural issues and poverty increase the dropout rates and subsequently child labour.

The Domestic Legal Framework for Child Protection in Nigeria

Various legislations and policies have been adopted and enacted by the federal government of Nigeria for enhancing children’s welfare through the eradication of child labour and implementation of child rights. The child rights in Nigeria are established through various international instruments and municipal laws. For instance specific fundamental rights are provided to all citizens of the country along with children by the constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria. The preservation and protection of children and their dignity is provided through various forms of offences established through the criminal code. The following is the overview of the legislation available for the protection of protecting children in Nigeria.

  • The Child’s Rights Act (CRA) 2003
  • Edo State Female Genital Mutilation (Prohibition) Law 2002
  • Cross River State Girl Child Marriages and Female Circumcision (Prohibition) Law 2000
  • The Sharia Penal Codes of Zamfara, Kaduna and Sokoto States of Nigeria equally provide protection to children against physical and psychological violence
  • Bauchi State Hawking by Children (Prohibition) Edict of 1985 CAP 58
  • Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Law Enforcement and Administration Act 2003;
  • Ebonyi State Law No. 010 (2001) on the Abolition of Harmful Traditional Practices Against Children and Women

The protection of children in Nigeria had been set by the Children and Young People's Act 1943 which had been passed by the British government and which primarily dealt with juvenile justice. The legislation had been incorporated in the federal laws of the country in the year 1953. The protection provided by the legislation was however not adequate according to theUnited Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice, TheAfrican Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC) and the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC). This stimulated the government to draft the present Child Rights Act 2003 (CRA) which establishes an enhance child protection system along with providing them the opportunities to take part in their own developments. These rights were not present in the Children and Young People's Act 1943. The CRA had been enacted in the year 2003 with respect to protecting and proving rights to the Nigerian children. The legislation defines a child as any person who is under the age of eighteen years. The legislation is divided into 11 schedules and 278 sections and provides four fundamental rights to children which are right to development, protection, participation and survival.

International Law for Children Protection

The ACRWC was the initial regional treaty in relation to child rights which had been mostly modeled on the basis of the principles of CRC. According to its preamble children hold a privileged and unique position in the African society and they have to be provided with legal protection along with particular care in relation to social, moral, mental and physical development. Article 2 of the ACRWC defines a child as any human being below the age of 18. According to international labour law standards a child is not allowed to be indulged in heavy full time labourunder the age of fourteen. However according to the labour law of Nigeria children age till which child labour is not allowed is only twelve years. The charter promotes anti-discrimination against children along with stating that children have inherent right to life and to be protected by law. The charter prohibits any capital punishment to children who are under the age of eighteen.

The European Convention on the Exercise of Children’s Rights (ECECR), emphasizes in its preamble about the aim of promoting the best interest and rights of children. The charter provides that children should be given the opportunity to exercise their rights in family proceedings, they have to be provided with all information relevant for their benefits and further the views of the children has to be provided with due weight wherever and whenever it is required. The charter is also applicable on people who are under the age of eighteen.

The most comprehensive document in relation to the right of children is the CRC. The treaty has been the longest to be enforced and not only protects the rights of the child in time of peace but also during times of armed conflicts. The treaty is also famous because it was the first of its kind to act as a binding international law. It created new rights for children which had not been previously present like the right of preserving identity (Article 7 and 8), special protection to refugee children (article 20 and 22), right to practice their culture (Article 8 and 30), freedom of expression (article 13) and the right to fair trial through article 40. The CRC provides four P’s for the children which involve participation in decision making, protection against discrimination, prevention of harm to children and provision related to assistance for providing necessities. The minimum age convention 1973 had been initiated as a common instrument to set minimum age required for the purpose of employment.

Nigerian Initiative of Combating Child Labour

A moderate advancement has been made by Nigeria with respect to the elimination of worst forms relating to child labour. A law has been adopted by the government which imposes limitations on the judges to provide for fines instead of or shorting of prison time in cases of human trafficking. The government has also taken the initiative to investigate and prosecute people and groups who had been linked with human trafficking which transported girls to Dubai for sexual exploitation. Child labour reporting has also been subjected to standardization by The National Steering Committee. However, children in Nigeria are still involved in worst form of child labour which includes armed conflicts and quarrying gravels. The domestic legal framework with respect to child labour as discussed above is inconsistent and below the standards of international frameworks. There have not been adequate initiatives taken by the government towards the implementation of National Action Plan with respect to the elimination of Child Labour. Moreover social programs initiated by the government are also not proving to be sufficient to address the problem of child labour. Three ILO conventions have been officially adopted by the Nigerian government which provides a minimum age of employment for children in industry, mines and sea. Exploitive labour has been prohibited by the CRA through the imposition of section 58-64 of the Labour Act. A few states have also banned working at the time of school hours for children. However the enforcement of such legislations is still a problem for the government.

Society and Child Labour in Nigeria

The major problem in relation to child labour in Nigeria is its uninterrupted acceptance within the society. Due to recent migration process child labour has become a common practice in the urban areas and the majority of the society is not understandings of the ill effects of the evil activity. The society is failing to realize that although children are proving to be a source of income their bright future is getting ruined. Girls are starting to work at a very early age mostly as child domestics which have become very common in the Nigerian urban society. According to Agénor, Pierre and Alpaslan,child labour has a drastic effect on educational achievements for the children. The high percentage of poverty within the country also makes child labour common within the society as it becomes compulsory for the children to earn a living for themselves and their families. According toMakindechild labour is in most of the cases converted into child abuse where the children are not paid what they deserve and is often exploited because of their needs. Child abuse is the major problem which is associated with child labour and not only causes physical damage to the children but also mental injuries which stay with they throughout their lives. The education system has been modified in Nigeria for the betterment of the children and primary education has been made compulsory, however if the society accepts child labour as a general practice than the children would not be compelled to attend school when it is required for them the most. The CRA has provided provisions for the establishment of Family Courts as per Part XIII Section 148-162. The courts are operated at both magistrate and high court level and has the power and jurisdiction to trial all cases in connection to claims, obligations duty, liability, interest, privileges and legal rights in relation to children. These courts provide protection to the children in the society by imposing special consideration in case of offences committed by children.

Conclusion

Children are the future of the nation and no country can prosper if its children are not protected and provided with proper care. According toSalmon, Claire and Tanguy, if the society does not stand up for children, then it does not stand for much. Through the above discussion it can be stated that there is a significant gap between the available laws and their proper implementations. One of the reasons for this can be identified as the lack of political will and economic power in relation to the government. The primary legislation for the protection of children in the country (CRA) has been provided with all necessary provisions which would not only protect the children against ill practices but also provide them the opportunity to prosper in a healthy environment. There are several treaties and conventions which have been discussed throughout the paper enacted for the purpose of safeguarding the rights of the children. Although there is intent from the government to implement such laws strictly within the territory, the proper implementation of such provisions is far from being achieved as shown by current statistics. On the other hand the major problem with international law is its unenforceability which is further hampering the protection of children and making child labour an increased threat for the modern day society and its future.

Recommendations

  1. Child Labour Units (CLU) have to be urgently strengthened within the Federal Ministry of Labour and productivity so that effective and strong coordination can be achieved along with identification and prevention of sectoral interventions.
  2. The Domestic child labour legislations have to be made consistent to international provisions through the domestication of certain international protocols and conventions in relation to child labour.
  3. Community and local level of governance must be incorporated with CLUs.
  4. The implementation of the child labour policies along with few specific activities of the national action plan have to be strengthened through the enhancement of CLUs within FML&P
  5. At all level of governance the child labour issue has to be incorporated as mainstream.
  6. The working relationship between the bodies established through ERA like state and national implementation committees along with family courts have to be enhanced so that pooled resources can be assessed and synergy can be fostered
  7. Raising awareness in the society in relation to the present and future implications of child labour through education.

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