The call was made on Sunday, by the District Political and Civic Education Officer (DPCEO) in Nyamagabe District, Assistant Inspector of Police (AIP) Olivier Placide Kagiraneza, after finding six children aged between 10 and 11 in a tea plantation located in Gifurwe Cell, Buruhukiro Sector.
In his address to the residents, AIP Kagiraneza outlined effects of child labor saying that, “Any child who is subjected to forced labor risks dropping out of school, suffering from exhaustion and malnutrition, long-term health problems, pesticide poisoning, physical injuries and psychological damages among many other negative consequences.”
He added: “There are clear laws against child labor and several campaigns have been conducted in order to sensitize the public against such child rights violations, and everyone should understand that whoever exploits or deprives a child of their rights will be brought to justice.”
“Parents should know, they have the primary responsibility of ensuring children are not exploited or prematurely forced into labor,” he emphasized.
AIP Kagiraneza further appealed to the public to stand up against child abuse and report all forms of abuse to ensure that abusers are dealt with by the law.
“The economic development of any country greatly depends on its youth as a driving force. As such, every effort should be mobilized to safeguard children since they are the future of the country, and this is among the government’s priorities,” he said.
Article 6 of law No. 71/2018 of 31/08/2018 relating to the protection of the child defines a child as “any person under 18 years of age.”
“Parents and guardians should remember their responsibility of looking after their children and avoiding any form of abuse that makes children escape from their homes,” the officer added.
Article 6 of the law regulating labor in Rwanda, prohibits subjecting a child below the age of 18 to any form of works, which are physically harmful to the child; work underground, underwater, at dangerous heights or in confined space; work with dangerous machinery, equipment and tools or which involves manual handling or transport of heavy loads; work in an environment, which exposes the child to temperatures, noise levels or vibrations damaging his/her health; work for longer hours or during the night or performed in confined spaces.