Child labor denies children many of their human rights, including the right to education, to rest and leisure, and to be free from economic exploitation. These rights are enshrined in international conventions including the Convention on the Rights of the Child (ratified by Uganda in 1990), the International Convention on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ratified in Uganda in 1987), and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.

Labor also competes directly with going to school. Although Uganda’s progress in increasing rates of primary enrolment is substantial compared to other sub-Saharan neighbors, the primary completion rate is still much lower than desired, with only 49% of pupils finishing primary school in 2005. In this way, even when children are not directly harmed through their employment, they are nonetheless denied the opportunity to build skills to secure future employment.

By obstructing the development of human capital, child labor is directly impeding Uganda’s long-term economic growth, and ultimately consigning millions of Ugandans to continued poverty.

“Child labor and poverty are inevitably bound together and if you continue to use the labor of children as the treatment for the social disease of poverty, you will have both poverty and child labor to the end of time.”

Grace Abbott