Child labour remains a serious issue affecting millions worldwide, robbing children of their childhood, education, and future. Each year, on June 12, Rwanda joins the world in marking the international day against child labour that aims at shedding light on this global issues and support for the eradication of child labour.. The theme for World Day Against Child Labour 2023 is “Social Justice for All. End Child Labour” emphasizing the profound link between social justice and the fight against child labor. The International Labour Organization (ILO) defines child labor as work that deprives children of their childhood, potential, and dignity, and is harmful to their physical and mental development. In its most extreme forms, child labor involves children being enslaved, separated from their families, exposed to serious hazards and illnesses, and left to fend for themselves on the streets of large cities, often at a very early age, as stated by the ILO. ALSO READ: Will the world end child labor by 2025? According to World Vision, at the beginning of 2020, one in 10 children aged five years and above were engaged in child labor worldwide, which is equivalent to 160 million children, with 69 million girls and 97 million boys. As of 2022, an estimated 79 million of these children are engaged in dirty, dangerous, and degrading work. How is child labor being curbed in Rwanda? Available information from the National Commission for Human Rights’ 2022 report indicates that, mining is among the worst forms of child labour prohibited because it may be hazardous to the child life affect their security and morality as provided for by the Ministerial Order of 2010 determining the list of worst forms of child labour, their nature, categories of institutions that are not allowed to employ them and their prevention mechanisms. “Among 91 monitored mines, the Commission found that 90 (98.9%) do not employ children. There is one mine where the Commission found that it employs 3 children out of 87 workers,” read part of the Commission’s 2022 report. ALSO READ: The perils of child labor and efforts to tackle it Evariste Murwanashyaka, the head of programs at CLADHO (an Umbrella of Human Rights Organizations in Rwanda aimed at defending, protecting, and promoting Human Rights and Social Justice) and National Child Rights Observer, states that the organization plays a role in advocating for the types of jobs children engage in. For instance, they sensitize parents, children, and sectors that often employ children by explaining children's rights and the labor laws regarding jobs prohibited for children. This ensures that they make informed decisions and take action against those who torture or heavily exploit child labor. We work with local government and the Ministry of Labor to identify places employing children, so that we can rescue them from hazardous or exploitative work, and ensure they are in safe environments, explains Murwanashyaka. He also highlights that CLADHO conducted research in 2017 on children engaged in domestic work, revealing a significant number of children working as house helps. A recent report released by the US Embassy in Rwanda indicates that 5.5percent of children currently participate in domestic work. Murwanashyaka emphasizes the need for greater efforts to mobilize parents and employers to be aware of what tasks a child is permitted to do and what is prohibited. Jean De Dieu Bagirihirwe, the union organizing officer at the Rwanda Workers' Trade Union Confederation (CESTRAR), emphasizes that they are enhancing the capacity of union representatives in the workplace to identify and report any form of child labor present. We conduct joint inspections with district labor inspectors to enforce legal provisions related to the elimination of all forms of child labor. We support the Ministry of Public Service and Labor in annual compliance forums on labor standards to disseminate the provisions of labor law and remind employers of their crucial role in complying with all labor law provisions, especially those related to preventing child labor, he states. Bagirihirwe also highlights mining, agriculture, and domestic work as the main sectors where child labor is prevalent. He underscores the potential punishments for those found guilty of engaging in child labor, citing article 117, which specifies offenses and penalties related to prohibited work for children. The article reads in part that: Upon conviction, the offender is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than two years and not more than five years, along with a fine ranging from Rwf500,000 to Rwf5m. The 2018 labor law in Rwanda provides a list of prohibited forms of work for children below 18 years of age and outlines penalties related to such work. These mechanisms are in place to protect children's rights, and their enforcement is consistently advocated for. According to article six, it is prohibited to subject a child below the age of 18 to physically harmful work, such as work underground, underwater, at dangerous heights, or in confined spaces. Prohibited work also includes tasks involving dangerous machinery, equipment, tools, manual handling or transport of heavy loads, working in environments with damaging temperatures, noise levels, or vibrations, and working long hours, at night, or in confined spaces.