FCEF works to stop child labour

Kameli Batiweti. Picture: FILE

Businesses in Fiji were urged to continue to support the work towards eradicating all forms of Child Labour by the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation (FCEF) CEO Kameli Batiweti.

He stressed the importance of businesses to know the legislative provisions which relate to child labour and the kinds of work children of different ages could carry out and under what conditions.

Mr Kameli also said the FCEF would disseminate information to its members to raise awareness and encourage them to share this information in their businesses and organisations.

“It is our responsibility, as adults and parents, to ensure that no child under the age of 15 is employed or is tasked to undertake work on behalf of an adult(s), in Fiji,” he said.

A child’s mental and physical make-up was not designed for work at that young age, Mr Batiweti said.

He added a child was subjected to mental anguish and physical torture when adults chose to ignore this basic principle.

“Our children today are the future leaders of tomorrow, let us not interrupt this journey and their dreams,” he said.

International Labour Organization (ILO) Office for Pacific Island Countries director Matin Karimli said the ILO’s role was to see employers and businesses continue to participate in this global agenda of the elimination of child labour as well as contribute to solutions to end child labour.

The FCEF in collaboration with the ILO scheduled a virtual seminar for its members to discuss ways of eradicating child labour in supply chains and collaborate on sustainable practical solutions in the context of COVID- 19.

Mr Karimli said the seminar would also be contextualised from the angle of COVID-19 as child labour estimates would continue to increase.

“The seminar provides the platform for business leaders from multiple sectors to contribute to Sustainable Development Goals Target 8.7,” he said.

“It is time to take action to reverse the trends as this will result in these children getting back into the school system.”

The FCEF stated it would be providing awareness programs for the members who would attend the seminar.

The federation had made a pledge this year to work towards improving responsible business conduct with an aim to eliminate child labour in Fiji’s business practices.

It was stated the FCEF would establish a committee to support the provision of training and awareness programs for business communities in ending child labour, modern slavery which encompassed forced labour and human trafficking in global supply chains, specifically targeting FCEF members and the informal business sectors.

This committee would be tasked to oversee the FCEF 2021 action pledge to eliminate child labour.

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