Child labor: the Conference of Catholic Bishops of the Diocese of Jasikan in dialogue with stakeholders
The Conference of Catholic Bishops of the Diocese of Jasikan in the Oti region engaged parents and stakeholders in the diocese’s fishing and cocoa communities to end child labor and abuse.
The church, as part of its corporate social responsibility, has established a committee to ensure the protection of children’s rights and the elimination of all existing forms of child labor and abuse in the diocese.
The Catholic Church diocese of Jasikan covers almost the entire Oti region.
Speaking at the ceremony, the regional director of social protection, Innocent Agbolosu explained the position of the law on parental responsibility towards children.
âAccording to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, child protection is about protecting children from violence, exploitation, abuse and neglect. This definition gives the states parties to this convention responsibility for formulating programs, policies and laws to protect children in their areas of jurisdiction. In addition, families, communities and even individuals must take concrete steps to protect children from abuse and exploitation.
Mr. Agbolosu also mentioned certain circumstances which may put children at risk of abuse.
âSome of us just give birth to children and we let them take care of themselves. It is a common practice for a man to marry four, five wives and each woman has to take care of her child. Worse yet, you see some of these kids taking care of themselves. So even during school hours they are busy. The law says that everyone who has a child has a responsibility to take care of them. “
Chief fisherman Daniel Vadze of Tapa-Abotoase said the number of cases of child labor on the lake is decreasing, but the punishment regime for those who traffic and use children on the lake is not enough powerful.
He also alleged that the lack of any educational infrastructure on the island is to blame for the use of children on the lake.
According to COCOBOD in Jasikan District, there are incidents of child labor in the various cocoa plantations, but this has been kept to a minimum due to various interventions made by the office to reduce the threat.
Reverend Father Pius Biamse, speaking to JoyNews on behalf of the diocese, said the initiative is just one of the church‘s social interventions aimed at raising responsible adults.
âIt’s our own future. If the children are not doing well now, how will our future be? As we can see with the dropouts, the number of girls at the lower secondary level is decreasing, so we need to do something. “
He added that the church is also concerned about recent crimes and murders involving children, hence the need to guide and secure them for the future.
âThe recent murder like what happened in Kasoa, (where, sic) teenagers are killing theirs. We know our children are also at risk. They learn a lot on the Internet and most of the time what they learn is bad.