Bolivia’s new Code on Children welcome, but concerns remain -- UNICEF
PANAMA CITY, 23 July 2014 – UNICEF welcomes Bolivia’s new Code for Children and Adolescents but remains concerned about two exemptions that leave children as young as 10 at risk of child labour.
Bolivia’s new Code states children and adolescents must be protected from economic exploitation or any work activities that interfere with their education, involve dangerous and unhealthy environments or threaten a child’s dignity or development.
The code also prohibits 21 forms of hazardous work to all children under 18.
Despite this progress, two exemptions leave children at risk. The first allows children as young as 12 to work with parental consent and the second permits children as young as 10 to be ‘self-employed’.
Currently 58 per cent of working children in Bolivia are under 14 and 90 per cent of child labour is in the informal economy. UNICEF is concerned the two exemptions leave children most in need of protection at risk.
Child labour deprives children of their right to go to school, threatens their health, exposes them to violence, and reinforces intergenerational cycles of poverty.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child, states all children have the “right to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child's education, or to be harmful to the child's health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development.”
This Convention was ratified by Bolivia on June 26, 1990.
The eradication of child labour is critical to eliminating extreme poverty and hunger, and ensuring all boys and girls complete primary schooling. It also helps to end violence against children, illiteracy, and HIV/AIDS and other diseases.
UNICEF is committed to continuing to work with the Government of Bolivia to protect children and eliminate all forms of child labour.
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