Last Updated: Thursday, 17 April 2014, 13:11 GMT

2002 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Namibia

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 18 April 2003
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2002 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Namibia, 18 April 2003, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d748a130.html [accessed 20 April 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Government Policies and Programs to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor

The Government of Namibia collaborated with ILO-IPEC and UNICEF on a national child labor survey in 1999.2515 The tripartite Labor Advisory Council, comprised of government, union and private sector representatives, sponsored a series of awareness-raising workshops in 2001 for employers on child labor regulations.2516 Police and immigration officials have received training in combating trafficking in persons.2517 The Ministry of Health and Social Services is running a Street Children Program that seeks to place street children in shelters and register their parents in income-generating programs.2518

The Ministry of Basic Education, Sport and Culture is building and renovating school facilities, and working to improve access to basic education for children from marginalized groups. Specific efforts include the creation of community-based curricula, mobile schools and school meal programs.2519

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 2000, the ILO estimated that 17.4 percent of children ages 10 to 14 years in Namibia were working.2520 Approximately 95.4 percent of working children live in rural areas, with 77.8 percent working in agriculture, hunting and forestry.2521 Children in Namibia also work in trading, basket weaving, beer making, barbering, herding, and selling firewood.2522 During the war in Angola from 1975 to 2002, there were reports that children were reportedly recruited children by Angolan armed forces from Northern Namibia to fight in Angola against rebel forces.2523

Education is compulsory in Namibia. Children are required to be in school until they complete their primary education or until the age of 16.2524 Although the Constitution mandates that primary education shall be free, in practice there are numerous fees for such items as uniforms, books and school improvements.2525 In 1998, the gross primary enrollment rate was 126.1 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 86.3 percent.2526 Attendance rates for Namibia are not available. While enrollment rates reflect a level of commitment to education, they do not always reflect children's participation in school.2527

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The Labor Act sets the minimum age for employment at 14 years, prohibits the employment of children under the age of 15 in any mine or industrial setting, and prohibits children under the age of 16 from working underground.2528 The Constitution provides that children under 16 are entitled to be protected from economic exploitation and are not to be employed or required to perform work that is likely to be hazardous, harmful to their health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral, or social development, or to interfere with their education.2529 The Constitution also prohibits slavery and forced labor.2530

The Ministry of Labor is responsible for enforcing the Labor Act.2531 The ministry has limited resources and its 24 inspectors are not trained specifically in child labor issues.2532 Labor inspectors have experienced difficulties inspecting family-owned, commercial farms to investigate child labor.2533

The Government of Namibia ratified ILO Convention 138 and ILO Convention 182 on November 15, 2000.2534


2515 Government of the Republic of Namibia, Namibia Child Activities Survey 1999: Report of Analysis, Ministry of Labour, Windhoek, December 2000, iv [cited August 29, 2002]; available from http://www.ilo.org./public/english/ standards/ipec/simpoc/namibia/report/namibia.pdf.

2516 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2001: Namibia, Washington, D.C., March 4, 2002, 494-96, Section 6d [cited August 29, 2002]; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2001/af/ 8395.htm.

2517 Ibid., 494-96, Section 6f.

2518 ILO, The Effective Abolition of Child Labour: Review of Annual Reports under the follow-up to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, GB.280/3/2, Geneva, March 2001, [cited August 29, 2002]; available from http://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/relm/gb/docs/gb280/pdf/gb-3-2-abol.pdf.

2519 Government of the Republic of Namibia, Ministry of Basic Education, Sport, and Culture, A Decade of Peace, Democracy and Prosperity 1990 – 2000, [online] [cited August 29, 2002]; available from http://www.op.gov.na/ Decade_peace/b_edu.htm.

2520 World Bank, World Development Indicators 2002 [CD-ROM], Washington, D.C., 2002. The Namibia Child Activities Survey 1999 found that 16.3 percent of children aged 6 to 18 years were working. Government of the Republic of Namibia, Namibia Child Activities Survey 1999, 40.

2521 Government of the Republic of Namibia, Namibia Child Activities Survey 1999, 5 and 7.

2522 Ibid., 4. 84.4 percent of children worked on family farms or in their own home. Government of the Republic of Namibia, Namibia Child Activities Survey 1999, 58.

2523 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Namibia, 492-94, Section 5.

2524 Constitution of the Republic of Namibia, 1990, (February 1990), Article 20 [cited August 29, 2002]; available from http://www.uni-wuerzburg.de/law/wa00000_.html.

2525 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Namibia, 492-94, Section 5. See also Constitution of the Republic of Namibia, 1990, Article 20.

2526 World Bank, World Development Indicators 2002. A study conducted for the Ministry of Health and Social Services estimated that there are 82,667 orphans, representing 20 percent of all Namibian children aged 17 and younger. As a consequence of the HIV-AIDS epidemic, government policymakers face a budgetary choice between training replacement teachers or using those resources to assist HIV-AIDS affected children to pay school fees. See U.S. Embassy – Windhoek, unclassified telegram no. 0315, April 2002.

2527 For a more detailed discussion on the relationship between education statistics and work, see the preface to this
report.

2528 Government of the Republic of Namibia, Labour Act 1992, Section 42, cited in Government of the Republic of Namibia, Namibia Child Activities Survey 1999, 8.

2529 Constitution of the Republic of Namibia, 1990, Article 15.

2530 Ibid., Article 9. There have been reports, however, of children working as farm laborers without adequate compen sation. See U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Namibia, 494-96, Section 6d.

2531 ILO, The Effective Abolition of Child Labour, 322.

2532 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Namibia, 494-96, Section 6d. See also ILO, The Effective Abolition of Child Labour, 322.

2533 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Namibia, 494-96, Section 6d.

2534 ILO, Ratifications by Country, in ILOLEX, [database online] [cited August 29, 2002]; available from http://ilolex.ilo.ch:1567/english/newratframeE.htm.

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