Over 300 penalized for engaging minors in child labour

On 8 February 2018 at 11:13

The Ministry of Labour (MIFOTRA) has announced that 352 people who were found engaging minors in child labour were arrested and penalized by law in the year 2016/2017.

The numbers were revealed yesterday in Kigali in a press conference that was organized by a local organization the Voice of Children Today (VCT), an association of working children.

The penalized are individuals, company managers and household heads. The law says that a person found employing minors are fined with between Rwf500,000 and one million.

The officer in charge of Social Security and Child Labour Control at MIFOTRA, Damien Nzamwita said that the report of the year 2016/2017 revealed 352 people who were penalized but added that the monitoring exercise will continue until they eliminate child labour.

“We have set these sanctions as a way of eliminating child labour. We believe there are people capable of doing those jobs, so we shall work with the media to create this awareness,” he said.

The law says that only people from sixteen and above are allowed to do payable jobs, however, VCT says that children below sixteen are also employed in different jobs.

The officer in charge of fighting rural migration in VCT, Diane Benimana said that in their observation, some children employed as domestic house-helps are even below fifteen.

“Household jobs affect physical and mental development of children; these children wake early in the morning and sleep late night. People should know and respect the rights of children by helping them to prepare for their future,” she said.

According to the Integrated Household Living Conditions Survey (EICV) of 2013/2014, a total of 222,918 children were engaged in child labour, where among them 59,931 or 41% were domestic workers, 51,200 ( 35.1% ) in agricultural, animal resources and fishery activities while 4,888 (3.3%) were engaged in mining.

Law Noº13/2009 Regulating Labour in Rwanda Article 4 prohibits the employment of children under 16 years of age even as an apprentice. A child aged 16-18 years may be employed provided: the rest period between two working days is at least 12 consecutive hours when the work is proportionate to their capacity, is not at night or involve labouring in insanitary or dangerous conditions dangerous to their health, education or morals.

Damien Nzamwita