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2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Congo, Democratic Republic of the

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 27 August 2008
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Congo, Democratic Republic of the, 27 August 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48caa46737.html [accessed 22 December 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.

Selected Statistics and Indicators on Child Labor845
Working children, 10-14 years (%), 2000:39.8
Working boys, 5-14 years (%), 2000:39.9
Working girls, 5-14 years (%), 2000:39.8
Working children by sector, 5-14 years (%):
     – Agriculture
     – Manufacturing
     – Services
     – Other
Minimum age for work:15
Compulsory education age:Not compulsory
Free public education:No
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2003:61
Net primary enrollment rate (%):
School attendance, children 10-14 years (%), 2000:65
Survival rate to grade 5 (%):
ILO-IPEC participating country:Associated

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) work in subsistence agriculture and have been used as forced laborers in the mining of natural resources such as gold and diamonds.846 According to Global Witness, children dig holes and wash, sort, and carry minerals near copper and cobalt mines.847 Children also work as dishwashers, guards, and grave diggers.848

During the reporting period, children continued to be involved with armed groups in the Ituri district, the two Kivu provinces, and other areas within the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.849 Children associated with these groups are sexually exploited and forced to work as combatants, porters, and domestic laborers.850

Children are trafficked within the DRC for forced labor and sexual exploitation.851 Armed groups continue to abduct Congolese children in Rwanda for military service in the eastern DRC.852

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law sets the minimum age for employment at 15 years.853 Children between 15 and 18 years may be employed with the permission of a parent or guardian. Children under 16 years, however, may work no more than 4 hours per day.854 The law defines and prohibits the worst forms of child labor, and the penalty is imprisonment for a maximum of 6 months and a fine. The law bans forced or bonded labor, the recruitment of anyone under 18 years into the Armed Forces, and the use of children in hostilities.855 The law also makes illegal the use of children as a means for trafficking drugs or engaging in other illicit activities such as prostitution or the production of pornographic materials.856 According to USDOS, the enforcement of child labor laws, particularly in the mining sector, is inadequate.857

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

In 2007, the Government continued to implement a national plan for Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration of combatants, including children supported by UNICEF and the World Bank.858 With the Government's support, UNICEF and the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo advocated for the release of all children associated with armed forces and groups.859 UNICEF also managed a program to provide children working in mines with psychosocial support and access to education.860 The Government also participated in a global USDOL-funded USD 7 million project implemented by ILO-IPEC to prevent the involvement of children in armed conflict and support the rehabilitation of former child soldiers. The project withdrew 4,335 children from child soldiering and prevented 4,560 children from involvement with armed groups in seven countries, including the DRC.861 In 2007, USDOL awarded a 4-year USD 5.5 million grant to Save the Children UK and the American Center for International Labor Solidarity to combat the worst forms of child labor and reintegrate war-affected children in the DRC.862 The project targets 8,000 children for withdrawal and 4,000 children for prevention from entering exploitive child labor.863 In 2007, the Government also participated in a USD 1.28 million project implemented by ILO-IPEC and funded by the Government of Norway to prevent the involvement of children in armed conflict and support the rehabilitation of former child soldiers in the DRC and Burundi.864

The DRC was 1 of 24 countries to adopt the Multilateral Cooperation Agreement to Combat Trafficking in Persons and the Joint Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, in West and Central African Regions.865 As part of the Multilateral Cooperation Agreement, the governments agreed to use the child trafficking monitoring system developed by the USDOL-funded ILO-IPEC LUTRENA project; to assist each other in the investigation, arrest, and prosecution of trafficking offenders; and to protect, rehabilitate, and reintegrate trafficking victims.866


845 For statistical data not cited here, see the Data Sources and Definitions section. For data on ratifications and ILO-IPEC membership, see the Executive Summary. For minimum age for admission to work, age to which education is compulsory, and free public education, see Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Loi no. 015/2002 du 16 Octobre 2002 portant Code du Travail, article 133; available from http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/SERIAL/62645/52447/F1638018233/COD-62645.pdf. See also U.S. Department of State, "Democratic Republic of the Congo," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2007 Washington, DC, March 11, 2008, sections 5 and 6d; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2007/100475.htm.

846 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: DRC," section 6d. See also Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict, Struggling to Survive: Children in Armed Conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, New York, April 2006, 6, 36; available from http://www.watchlist.org/reports/dr_congo.report.20060426.pdf. See also Human Rights Watch, DR Congo: Army Abducts Civilians for Forced Labor, New York, 2006; available from http://hrw.org/english/docs/2006/10/13/congo14387.htm.

847 Global Witness, Digging in Corruption, Washington DC, July 2006, 32-33; available from http://www.globalwitness.org/media_library_detail.php/154/en/digging_in_corruption.

848 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: DRC," section 6d.

849 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, Democratic Republic of the Congo: Priorities for Children Associated with Armed Forces and Groups, London, July, 2007, 1; available from http://www.childsoldiers.org/Priorities_for_Child_Soldiers_in_DRC_-_briefing_to_UN_August_2007.pdf. See also UN Security Council, Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, New York, June 28, 2007, para 17; available from http://daccessdds.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N07/390/16/PDF/N0739016.pdf?OpenElement.

850 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: DRC," section 5, 6d. See also United Nations, Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, New York, June 28, 2007, para 11, 26-27; available from http://daccessdds.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N07/390/16/PDF/N0739016.pdf?OpenElement. See also Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, Priorities for Children, 6-7.

851 U.S. Department of State, "Democratic Republic of the Congo (Tier 2 Watch List)," in Trafficking in Persons Report – 2007, Washington, DC, June 12, 2007; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2007/82805.htm. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: DRC," section 5.

852 UN Security Council, Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict para 22-23. See also Human Rights Watch, Renewed Crisis in North Kivu, New York, 2007, 49; available from http://hrw.org/reports/2007/drc1007/drc1007web.pdf.

853 Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Code du Travail, article 133.

854 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: DRC," section 6d.

855 Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Public Comments based on response to Federal Register Notice, Kinshasa, January 7, 2005. See also U.S. Embassy – Kinshasa, reporting, March 1, 2007, para A. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: DRC," section 6d, 6c.

856 Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Public Comments, January 7, 2005, section 3a, 3d.

857 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: DRC," section 6d. See also U.S. Embassy – Kinshasa, reporting, December 15, 2006, para 3-4.

858 Multi-Country Demobilization and Reintegration Program, MDRP Democratic Republic of the Congo Activities at a Glance, [online] [cited December 14, 2007]; available from http://www.mdrp.org/drc_main.htm. See also Multi-Country Demobilization and Reintegration Program, Status of the MDRP in the Democratic Republic of the Congo – July 2007, [online] [cited December 14, 2007]; available from http://www.mdrp.org/PDFs/DRC_PartCom_300707_en.pdf. See also United Nations, Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict para 64.

859 UN Security Council, Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict para 61.

860 UNICEF, UNICEF – Congo, Democratic Republic of the – The big picture, [online] 2007 [cited November 26, 2007]; available from http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/drcongo_636.html.

861 ILO-IPEC, Prevention and Reintegration of Children Involved in Armed Conflict: an Inter Regional Program, Technical Progress Report, Geneva, March, 2007, 46.

862 U.S. Department of Labor, Notice of Award: Cooperative Agreement, Washington DC, September 27, 2007. See also USDOL-ILAB, U.S. Department of Labor awards more than $54 million to eliminate exploitive child labor around the world, Press Release, October 1, 2007; available from http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/ilab/ILAB20071498.htm.

863 U.S. Department of Labor, Notice of Award.

864 ILO-IPEC, E-mail communication to USDOL official, December 12, 2007.

865 Catholic Relief Services official, E-mail communication to USDOL official, October 2, 2006. See also ILO-IPEC, Combating the Trafficking of Children for Labour Exploitation in West and Central Africa (LUTRENA), Technical Progress Report, Washington, DC, September 1, 2006, 2.

866 ECOWAS and ECCAS, Multilateral Cooperation Agreement to Combat Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, in West and Central Africa, Abuja, July 7, 2006, 5-7. See also ILO-IPEC, Combating the Trafficking of Children for Labour Exploitation in West and Central Africa (LUTRENA), Technical progress Report, 10-11.

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