SEED calls on the Government of Iraq to bolster protections against the worst forms of child labor 

Erbil, Iraq – June 12, 2023: On the occasion of World Day Against Child Labor, SEED Foundation applauds the Government of Iraq’s endeavors to develop its first Child Protection Law, and emphasizes the critical importance of ensuring that this new framework adequately addresses the worst forms of child labor, promotes the recovery of children whose rights have been violated, and prevents the future exploitation of children across the country.

Throughout the ISIS conflict in Iraq, as well as before and since, thousands of children have been recruited or used by armed groups as scouts, porters, messengers, cooks, cleaners, domestic workers, soldiers, or for sexual purposes and forced marriage. It is important to recognize that any form of recruitment or use is considered to be among the six grave violations against children, as well as one of the worst forms of child labor. For children who survive such profound abuse of their fundamental human rights, addressing the impact of harm through the provision of specialized care and resources is vital to restoring a sense of safety and dignity, facilitating recovery and reintegration, and creating conditions that are conducive to growth and human flourishing.

SEED commends the Government of Iraq for prohibiting the recruitment and use of children within the draft Child Protection Law. This is an essential step in protecting children from violence, exploitation, and abuse, and enhancing the prospect of accountability for crimes committed against them.

To further strengthen the draft Child Protection Law and support a comprehensive, coherent, and consistent response to the recruitment and use of children, SEED proposes several key recommendations:

  1. To account for the diverse experiences of affected children and ensure that all victims and survivors are equitably recognized under the law, expand the scope of the prohibition to cover any recruitment or use of children, in any capacity, by any armed force or group.
  2. To build a strong protective environment and ensure that children whose rights have been violated can benefit from needed services and support, include provisions to address harm and promote recovery.
  3. To ensure the operationalization of available protections, integrate provisions to strengthen and standardize the implementation of existing frameworks.

Prohibiting the recruitment and use of children by armed forces and groups and ensuring that affected children receive the specialized care and support they need to recover and reintegrate is critical to restoring stability and rebuilding social cohesion in the aftermath of conflict. On World Day Against Child Labor, SEED calls upon the Government of Iraq to reaffirm its commitment to eradicating the worst forms of child labor so that all of Iraq’s children have the opportunity to thrive.


SEED Foundation is a local NGO in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, committed to protecting, empowering, and supporting the recovery of survivors of violence and others at risk. Our approach to this mission is integrative and holistic. We provide quality and comprehensive services, including mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS), legal, protection, and shelter services; training, capacity building, and education for those working to protect and serve survivors; and policy and advocacy to strengthen laws, policies, practices, and protections for vulnerable people, and to promote social change.

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