Thursday, September 01, 2005

Cambodia approves child labor convention

Cambodia's National Assembly on Tuesday approved a convention initiated by the International Labor Organization (ILO) on efforts to ban and eliminate the most serious forms of child labor, The Cambodian Press Review reported on Wednesday.

Labor Minister Nhep Bunchin said approving the treaty will help more than not having any legal framework.

He insisted that with the ILO's cooperation, the government did well last year in dealing with excessive forms of child labor in Sihanoukville, Kampot and Kompong Cham provinces.

Children in Kampot's salt fields can now work in more appropriate sectors, Nhep Bunchin explained, highlighting also that children working on fishing boats in Sihanoukville can now perform jobs on land.

The government's efforts to stop child labor motivated the US to donated 1 million US dollars to the ILO to carry out programs to reduce excessive child labor in another four cities and provinces, Nhep Bunchin said.

Sixteen percent of Cambodia's 200,000 minors are working, said Cambodian People's Party (CPP)'s lawmaker Khoun Sodary, urging the government to take effect measures to reduce the number to 5 percent.

Khoun Sodary also suggested the Ministry of Justice classify underage and adult prisons in separate jails or send minor criminals to rehabilitation centers.

Opposition lawmaker Yim Sovann complained that due to poverty, forced labor and school dropouts among Cambodian children are increasing, which will affect the country's future economic development.

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