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Child Labour and Human Rights Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Jamal, India May 21, 2004
Human Rights , Labour Rights , Child & Youth Rights , Media   Opinions


• Poverty
• Vested interests of employers
• Indebtedness
• Sustaining Factors
• Cheaper labour
• Irreplaceable skill

Promoting Factors

• Absence of Compulsory education
• Apathy of Government


In a country like India where over 40% of population is under extreme poverty, child labour has become a complex issue. Poverty pushes a child into work and exploitative condition at an early age. However it is a widely accepted misconception that child labour is an unavoidable consequence of poverty, but it is true that child labour is mainly caused by poverty. It is poverty which forces parents to send their children to seek employment to supplement low family income.

Vested Interests of Employers

Employers give certain justifications for employing children to suppress their guilt and hide their vested Interest. They say that the work keeps children away from starvation. They are prevented from committing crime which they would have indulged in it they had no jobs. But the fact is employers employ them to save labour cost in production, which ultimately leads to profit maximization.


Indebtedness among families especially rural agricultural indebtedness is another may cause for families to keep their children employed as domestic servants, agriculture workers. This is also one of the major causes for bonded labour.

Cheaper Labour

Child labour ensures more profits and higher productivity for the employers since child labour is cheap compared to adult labour. Most of child labourers are employed in small scale or cottage industries, for example: Bidi making fire, crackers etc., where generally investments are limited, so children being source of cheap labour are employed.

Irreplaceable skills

A very common justification for sustaining child labour is that there are certain works which can only be performed by children for example in the gem polishing industry of Jaipur it is believed that gem polishing can only be learned through practice right from childhood.

Absence of Compulsory Education

Absence of any provision for compulsory education is another cause of it. Substandard education facilities cost of education and low quality or education offered all combine to perpetuate the problem, since family of child labourers consider education as “time consuming” “money consuming” and “unproductive” exercise.

Government apathy

Until now the Government believed that child labour can not be eradicated completed therefore they have only tried to improve their working conditions and stop their exploitation. The Government holds the view that eradicating child labour is not feasible because they can not provide substantial alternate employment to them.

Condition of Child Labourers

Two decades after the International year of child, children in India are still working in precarious conditions detrimental to their health and development. At very early age many of them are involved in household work they are often among the most vulnerable and exploited fall yet hey are also the most difficult to protect.

A large number of child workers are virtually confined in small rooms under inhuman conditions and most unhygienic surroundings of various chemicals, glass, firework, gem polishing or carpet making industrial units. The hazardous conditions take their toll; children suffer from lung diseases, T.B., eye infections and diseases, asthma. Some are injured in fire incidents.

Some of them are bounded labourers; there were many incidences especially in carpet manufacturing belt of U.P. The commercial sexual exploitation of children has become a global issue. Indicators show that children are increasingly being bought and sold across borders by organised networks.

Child labour has many repercussions on children well being and personality developments for e.g. Working children are denied educational opportunities and their mental growth is thereby stunted. Working for long hours, usually away from their families, they are totally deprived of their childhood joy getting no time for recreation or rest or for emotional sustenance, which is normally derived from family members.


U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child

It is because of widespread plights of children, that in Dec. 1976, the United Nations adopted a resolution which proclaimed 1979 as International year of children, as a part of advocacy on behalf of children. After a decade of campaigning, the UN General assembly adopted the convention on the Rights of child on November 20th, 1989. The adoption of convention was not only a great step for promotion of child rights but also constitutes a legal binding instrument to fend children’s right. The nations of the world have agreed on the minimum standard set out in the convention, for the protection of children right to survival, health, education.

Generally speaking, the provision of convention applies for four main areas of children rights:


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Hi ! I am a professional social worker. most of my writings and poems are reflections of my day- today work and issues. I also write poems in Hindi, which so far cannot be posted on TIG.
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