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2006 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 31 August 2007
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Congo, Democratic Republic of the, 31 August 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d7492b42.html [accessed 23 August 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 Labor
Percent of children 5-14 estimated as working:39.8%1085
Minimum age for admission to work:151086
Age to which education is compulsory:Not compulsory1087
Free public education:No1088*
Gross primary enrollment rate in 2003:62%1089
Net primary enrollment rate in 2002:Unavailable
Percent of children 10-14 attending school:65%1090
Percentage of primary school entrants likely to reach grade 5:Unavailable
Ratified Convention 138:06/20/20011091
Ratified Convention 182:06/20/20011092
ILO-IPEC participating country:Yes; associated1093
* Must pay for school supplies and related materials.

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Children work in the informal sector and in subsistence agriculture, which constitute the largest parts of the economy.1094 Some parents make their children hunt, fish, engage in prostitution, or beg in the streets to support their families instead of attending school.1095 Children have been used as forced laborers in the mining of natural resources such as gold, coltan, and copper.1096 In the Katanga province, according to Global Witness, children dig holes, wash, sift, and transport to pay school fees and support their families.1097

Children continue to be involved with armed groups outside of the government's control in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. Children associated with these groups are forced to work as combatants, laborers, and sex slaves. Girls in particular are compelled to provide sexual services and domestic labor for extended periods of time.1098

Children are trafficked within the Democratic Republic of the Congo for forced labor and sexual exploitation.1099 Most trafficking occurs within the eastern provinces of the country, where government control is weak and armed groups continue to abduct and forcibly recruit children.1100

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law sets the minimum age for employment at 15 years.1101 Children between 15 and 18 may be employed with the permission of a parent or guardian. Children under 16, however, may work no more than 4 hours per day.1102 The law defines and prohibits the worst forms of child labor under penalty of imprisonment for a maximum of 6 months and a fine.1103 The law bans forced or bonded labor,1104 the recruitment of anyone under 18 into the armed forces, and the use of children in hostilities.1105 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.1106 According to the U.S. Department of State, the enforcement of child labor laws, particularly in the mining sector, is inadequate.1107

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

The government is implementing a national plan for Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) of combatants, including children, supported by the World Bank.1108 World Bank programs include projects directed specifically at child soldiers. These projects are: the Support for the Reunification and Reintegration of Former Child Soldiers in the DRC, implemented by Save the Children; and Situation Assessment and Pilot Projects for Demobilization and Reintegration of Child Soldiers in Orientale, Northern Katanga and Maniema Provinces, implemented by the International Rescue Committee the International Foundation for Education and Self-Help (IFESH), and CARE International.1109 The government continues to participate in a global 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.1110 This project targets a total of 5,264 children for withdrawal and 4,250 children for prevention from involvement with armed groups in seven countries, including the DRC.1111

In 2006, the government created a national committee to combat the worst forms of child labor and finalized a paper on poverty reduction strategy that highlights the problem of child labor.1112

In partnership with an international organization, the Ministry of Women's and Family Affairs and Labor began to implement an action plan against sexual exploitation, and the government attended regional meetings on human trafficking and sought to coordinate with neighboring governments to address the problem of human trafficking in the region.1113


1085 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates, October 7, 2005.

1086 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 – 2006 Washington, DC, March 6, 2007, Section 6d; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006/78728.htm.

1087 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: DRC," Section 6d.

1088 Ibid., Section 5.

1089 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Gross Enrolment Ratio. Primary. Total accessed December 20, 2006; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org.

1090 UCW analysis of ILO SIMPOC, UNICEF MICS, and World Bank surveys, Child Economic Activity and School Attendance Rates.

1091 ILO, Ratifications by Country; accessed September 25, 2006; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/docs/declAFpr.htm.

1092 Ibid.

1093 ILO-IPEC, IPEC Action Against Child Labour-Highlights 2006, Geneva, October, 2006; available from http://www.ilo.org/iloroot/docstore/ipec/prod/eng/20061019_Implementationreport_eng_Web.pdf.

1094 U.S. Department of State, " Congo, Democratic Republic of the," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2005, Washington, DC, March 8, 2006, Section 6d; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/61563.htm.

1095 Ibid.

1096 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: 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, p 6; available from http://www.watchlist.org/reports/dr_congo.report.20060426.pdf. See also Global Witness, Digging in Corruption, Washington DC, July 2006, p 10 and 32; available from http://www.globalwitness.org/media_library_detail.php/154/en/digging_in_corruption. 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.

1097 Global Witness, Digging in Corruption, p 32-33.

1098 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: DRC," Section 5. See also Human Rights Watch, Democratic Republic of Congo: Briefing to the 60th Session of the UN Commission on Human Rights, [online] 2004 [cited October 20, 2006]; available from http://hrw.org/english/docs/2004/01/29/congo7128.htm. See also Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict, Struggling to Survive, p 6.

1099 U.S. Department of State, "Democratic Republic of the Congo (Tier 2 Watch List)," in Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006, Washington, DC, June 5, 2006; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2006/. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: DRC," Section 5.

1100 U.S. Department of State, "Trafficking in Persons Report – 2006: Democratic Republic of the Congo ". See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: DRC," section 5.

1101 Code du Travail, Article 133.

1102 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: DRC," section 6d.

1103 Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Public Comments based on response to Federal Register Notice, Kinshasa, January 7, 2005.

1104 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: DRC," Section 6c.

1105 Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, public comments based on response Federal Register Notice, Kinshasa, January 7, 2005. See also Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, Child Soldiers Global Report 2004, November 17, 2004; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/document_get.php?id=801.

1106 Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Public Comments, January 7, 2005, Section 3a-3d.

1107 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2006: DRC," Section 6d. See also U.S. Embassy – Kinshasa, reporting, December 15, 2006, Paras 3 and 4.

1108 Multi-Country Demobilization and Reintegration Program, National Program: Democratic Republic of Congo, [online] [cited October 19, 2006]; available from http://www.mdrp.org/drc_main.htm. See also Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Creation du Comite Interministeriel Charge de la Conception et de l'Orientation en Matiere de Desarmement, Demobilisation et Reinsertion, Decret N. 03/041, (December 18, 2003).

1109 Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Creation du Comite Interministeriel Charge de la Conception et de l'Orientation en Matiere de Desarmement, Demobilisation et Reinsertion. See also Multi-Country Demobilization and Reintegration Program, National Program: DRC, p 4-8.

1110 ILO-IPEC, Prevention and Reintegration of Children Involved in Armed Conflicts: An Inter-Regional Programme, project document, Geneva, September 17, 2003, p 5-6.

1111 ILO-IPEC, Prevention and Reintegration of Children Involved in Armed Conflicts: An Inter-Regional Programme: DRC Country Annex, project document, Geneva, 2003, p 1.

1112 ILO-IPEC, Prevention and Reintegration of Children Involved in Armed Conflict: an Inter Regional Program, technical progress report, Geneva, September, 2006, Pages 3-4.

1113 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2005: DRC," Section 5.

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