Saudi Arabia protects childhood: There is no work for those under 15 years old

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Saudi Arabia protects childhood: There is no work for those under 15 years old


Thursday – 26 Shaaban 1442 AH – 08 April 2021 AD Issue No. [
15472]


A Saudi woman works to serve customers in a food shopping center in Jeddah (AFP)

Dammam: Iman Al-Khattaf

Saudi Arabia decided the age of 15 years to be the minimum age for work, after the Council of Ministers approved the “National Policy for the Prevention of Child Labor” at its session this week, which included stopping the exploitation of children in employment and work, provided that work is permitted for children between the ages of 13 and 15 years in work They are fixed and according to specific hours, without prejudice to the rights of the child to education and play.
Haila Al-Mukairish, Executive Director of the Family Affairs Council, said that the Saudi Cabinet’s decision to issue a national policy document for preventing child labor provides an environment conducive to preventing child labor in Saudi Arabia, and contributes to reaching a society in which children enjoy childhood rights, education, and the development of their capabilities and capabilities.
Al-Mukairish explained to Asharq Al-Awsat that the national policy assumes the task of setting guidelines for the country’s efforts in preventing child labor, and setting priorities for government action and stakeholders based on the recognition that all individuals, old and young, have rights. However, children need additional attention to ensure protection. Necessary and ward off harm from them by virtue of their age.
Regarding the most prominent elements of the new national policy, the document included expanding the knowledge base related to child labor, improving the law and its enforcement and prosecution, as well as promoting decent work for adults and youth of legal age for work, improving social work and social protection mechanisms, in addition to promoting quality education opportunities for all children. And raising awareness on the topic of child labor.
For his part, Dr. Hadi Al-Yami, a member of the Saudi Shura Council and Chairman of the Council’s Human Rights and Supervisory Bodies, affirms that this decision is in line with the global trend to prevent child labor, adding, “The Kingdom has enacted many laws and legislations in this context during the past period, including the Child Protection System. , In addition to the issuance of the Juvenile Law, which is considered a quantum leap in protecting children’s rights.
Al-Yami indicated during his interview with Asharq Al-Awsat that the new national policy was flexible. Because it allowed children between 13-15 years of age to be employed in light work for certain times, and this means that the work does not affect their health, and is not strenuous and exceeds their energy and capabilities.
He explained that the policy of preventing child labor would lead to increased enrollment rates of children in the education sector and reduce educational losses, given the harmful effects of child labor and preventing them from continuing their education.
For her part, Dr. Sarah Siraj Abed, Regional Director of the National Family Safety Program in the Western Region, affirms that the national policy to prevent child labor is in the interest of society as a whole, considering that childhood and its protection is a fundamental factor in creating a safe environment that preserves the rights of the child guaranteed by the Saudi constitution based on the teachings of Islamic law and in support of the laws and regulations that protect children and preserve their childhood and safety.
In her speech to Asharq Al-Awsat, Abed indicated that the National Family Safety Program appreciated all the support provided by the legislative and executive system in the field of child protection, as child labor and employment is one of the issues that the National Family Safety Program focused on raising awareness. He organized the awareness campaign in this field entitled “A Red Card Against Child Labor”, a national campaign launched by the Youth Safety Group of the Program Against Child Labor in 2014, which aimed to highlight the issue of child labor and educate society on the negative effects of the exacerbation of such a phenomenon.


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