Four children were found in Mataba commercial center selling sugarcane while nine were carrying sugarcane loads.
According to Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Alexis Rugigana, the Police spokesperson for Northern region, some of the children are involved in harsh labor to gain some money and others are sent by their parents.
“Most of the time children buy sugarcane at lower price and sell them with a profit, it attracts many children to be involved in such illegal activities, and others are sent by their parents to feed their families, practices that must not be tolerated,” said CIP Rugigana.
He added that, there are times children are found with their parents going to markets, carrying heavy loads, which contravenes with children’s rights and affects their development.
CIP Rugigana warned residents against engaging minors in harsh labor like rice farming, mining, rearing cattle among others, saying that such acts are against the law and those involved will be arrested and brought to justice.
“We will keep on conducting different operations to fight against child labor and ensure children enjoy their holidays. We are urging parents to give proper guidance to their children for a better future, in accordance with their rights as provided by the law” the spokesperson said.
Rwanda has put in place several measures to end child labor, which has resulted into majority victims being withdrawn from child labor activities and returned to school.
“Several campaigns are being conducted to sensitize the public against child abuse and other violations children’s rights. Child protection is a collective responsibility; everyone should understand that whoever exploits or deprives a child of their rights will face the wrath of the laws,” he emphasized.
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 spokesperson 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.