Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 December 2014, 12:47 GMT

2005 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Djibouti

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 29 August 2006
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2005 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Djibouti, 29 August 2006, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d748e719.html [accessed 26 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 Child Labor Measures Adopted by Governments
Ratified Convention 138
Ratified Convention 182
ILO-IPEC Member 
National Plan for Children
National Child Labor Action Plan 
Sector Action Plan 

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Statistics on the number of working children under age 15 in Djibouti are unavailable.1412 In rural areas, children perform unpaid labor on family farms or herding livestock.1413 In urban areas, children work in the informal sector in small-scale businesses, trade, catering, crafts, or as domestic servants.1414 Children displaced from neighboring countries also work in the informal sector as shoe polishers, car washers, khat1415 sellers, street peddlers, money changers, beggars, and in commercial sexual exploitation.1416 Many of these same children become victims of trafficking.1417 Commercial sexual exploitation of children reportedly occurs in urban areas, particularly among displaced children from Somalia and Ethiopia.1418

Education is free and compulsory for children between the ages of 6 and 16 years.1419 Although education is free, the additional expenses of transportation, uniforms, and books often prevent poor families from sending their children to school.1420 In 2003, the gross primary enrollment rate was 42 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 36 percent.1421 Gross and net enrollment ratios are based on the number of students formally registered in primary school and therefore do not necessarily reflect actual school attendance.1422 Gross and net enrollment ratios are based on the number of students formally registered in primary school and therefore do not necessarily reflect actual school attendance. Primary school attendance is particularly low in rural areas where many people are nomads or semi-nomads.1423 According to one estimate, approximately 65,000 school-aged children are currently not attending school in the country.1424 As of 2001, 80 percent of children who started primary school were likely to reach grade 5.1425

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The worst forms of child labor may be prosecuted under different statutes in Djibouti. The Labor Code sets the minimum age for employment at 14 years.1426 Forced and bonded labor of children is also prohibited, and according to the U.S. Department of State, there were no reports that these practices occurred.1427 Djibouti does not have compulsory military service.1428 Since 1994, entry into the military is voluntary.1429 The Penal Code provides protection for children against many of the worst forms of child labor, such as the use of children for prostitution, pornography, and trafficking of drugs.1430 The authority to enforce child labor laws and regulations rests with the Police Vice Squad "Brigade Des Moeurs" and the local police department "Gendarmerie". The Labor Inspection Office has the authority to sanction businesses that employ children.1431 However, according to the U.S. Department of State, the government has a shortage of labor inspectors and limited financial resources with which to enforce labor laws.1432

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

The Government of Djibouti is taking steps to increase awareness about the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which includes provisions on child labor. It has broadcast radio and television programs on the rights of the child and the advancement and protection of girls in four languages (Afar, Somali, Arabic, and French).1433 The government has established a National Policy for Youth that seeks to encourage community involvement in youth affairs and the use of Community Development Centers to host activities for out-of school children and serve as reading rooms for children in school.1434

The government is working with UNICEF to assist children, in particular girls, in obtaining high-quality education by increasing enrollment levels, reducing gender disparities and developing a national strategy for non-enrolled children. UNICEF works to train teachers, school principals and academic inspectors. The principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child are also incorporated in curricula.1435 The government provides some school meals; according to the Ministry of Education, for 2004 through 2005, 10,468 children in primary public school received meals.1436 Informal education is available for some children.1437

The World Bank also supports several projects in Djibouti. The School Access and Improvement Project is funding the rehabilitation of classrooms for primary and middle schools, upgrading training materials, providing training, and improving government capacity to manage education reform.1438 The Social Development and Public Works Project aims to enhance living standards in Djibouti by construction/rehabilitation of social infrastructures such as health posts and schools.1439

USAID has dedicated USD 8 million to assist the Ministry of Education in implementing education reform programs. These programs include: increasing access to basic education; improving the quality of teaching and learning; increasing opportunities for girls' education; and developing a strategy for sustainable employment for school graduates.1440 The African Development Fund is supporting a project through January 2010 to increase access and improve the quality of the education system.1441


1412 This statistic is not available from the data sources that are used in this report. Please see the "Data Sources and Definitions" section for information about sources used. Reliable data on the worst forms of child labor are especially difficult to collect given the often hidden or illegal nature of the worst forms, such as the use of children in the illegal drug trade, prostitution, pornography, and trafficking. As a result, statistics and information on children's work in general are reported in this section. Such statistics and information may or may not include the worst forms of child labor. For more information on the definition of working children and other indicators used in this report, please see the "Data Sources and Definitions" section.

1413 U.S. Embassy – Djibouti, reporting, August 17, 2005.

1414 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial Reports of States Parties due in 1993, CRC/C/8/Add.39, prepared by Government of Djibouti, pursuant to Article 44 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, February 1998, paras. 144-45; available from http://66.36.242.93/reports/djibouti_crc_c_8_add.39_1998.php.

1415 "Khat" is a leaf that is chewed and its effect is as a stimulant. See Peter Kalix, Khat (Qat, Kat): Chewing Khat, World Health Organization, 1986; available from http://www.a1b2c3.com/drugs/khat2.htm.

1416 ILO, Review of Annual Reports Under the Follow-Up to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, The Effective Abolition of Child Labour: Djibouti, GB.277/3/2, Geneva, March 2000. See also U.S. Embassy – Djibouti, reporting, August 24, 2004. See also U.S. Embassy – Djibouti, reporting, August 17, 2005.

1417 U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report, Washington, DC, June 3, 2005; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2005/.

1418 ECPAT International, Djibouti, in ECPAT International, [database online] [cited June 16, 2005]; available from http://www.ecpat.net/eng/Ecpat_inter/projects/monitoring/online_database/. See also UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 44 of the Convention: Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: Djibouti, CRC/C/15/Add.131, United Nations, Geneva, June 2000, para. 57; available from http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/9af640001bbfa27180256900003612b6?Opendocument. See also U.S. Embassy – Djibouti, reporting, October 16, 2002.

1419 U.S. Embassy – Djibouti, reporting, December 30, 2002. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2004: Djibouti, Washington, DC, February 28, 2005, Section 5; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2004/41600.htm.

1420 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2004: Djibouti, Section 5.

1421 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, "Gross and Net Enrolment Ratios, Primary; accessed December 2005," available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org/TableViewer/tableView.aspx?ReportId=51.

1422 In 2001, the gross primary enrollment rate was 34.8 percent for girls and 45.7 percent for boys. The net primary enrollment rate was 29.6 percent for girls and 38.3 percent for boys. See World Bank, World Development Indicators 2004 [CD-ROM], Washington D.C., 2004.

1423 UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, Djibouti: Special report on girls' education, [online] [cited June 22, 2005]; available from http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=39139&SelectRegion=Horn_of_Africa&SelectCountry=DJIBOUTI.

1424 U.S. Embassy – Djibouti, reporting, August 24, 2004.

1425 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, School life expectancy, % of repeaters, survival rates; accessed December 2005; available from http://stats.uis.unesco.org/TableViewer/tableView.aspx?ReportId=55.

1426 ILO, The Effective Abolition of Child Labour: Djibouti. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2004: Djibouti, Section 6d. See also U.S. Embassy – Djibouti, reporting, August 24, 2004.

1427 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2004: Djibouti, Section 6c.

1428 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, Child Soldiers Global Report 2004, London, 2004, 296; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/document_get.php?id=966.

1429 The Government of Djibouti stated in a 1998 report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child that "as is the case for all civilian and military jobs, young people under 18 may not be accepted into the army." See Ibid.

1430 U.S. Embassy – Djibouti, reporting, August 24, 2004.

1431 The Office of the Labor Inspector currently has one inspector, who is responsible for supervising ten controllers. Ibid.

1432 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2004: Djibouti. See also U.S. Embassy – Djibouti, reporting, December 30, 2002.

1433 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Summary Record of the 637th Meeting: Djibouti, CRC/C/SR.637, United Nations, Geneva, January 8, 2001; available from http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/63755405aec3c40bc12569d60047821b?Opendocument.

1434 U.S. Embassy – Djibouti, reporting, August 24, 2004.

1435 UNICEF, At a Glance: Djibouti, The Big Picture, [cited June 22, 2005]; available from http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/djibouti.html.

1436 Bureau des Satistiques et de la Carte Scolarie – D.P.I. Service de la Planifacation, Anneuarire Statistique, Annee Scolaire 2004/2005, Ministere de l'Education Nationale & de l'Enseignement Superieur, Mars 2005, 36.

1437 Ibid., 62.

1438 See World Bank, School Access and Improvement Project, [online] June 13, 2005 [cited June 13, 2005]; available from http://web.worldbank.org/external/projects/main?pagePK=104231&piPK=73230&theSitePK=40941&menuPK=228424&Projecti d=P044585.

1439 World Bank, Social Development and Public Works Project, in Projects Database, [database online] June 13, 2005 [cited June 13, 2005]; available from http://web.worldbank.org/external/projects/main?pagePK=104231&piPK=73230&theSitePK=40941&menuPK=228424&Projecti d=P044584.

1440 U.S. Embassy – Djibouti, Developing a Stronger Djibouti, [cited June 22, 2005]; available from http://djibouti.usembassy.gov/development_aid_to_djibouti.html.

1441 African Development Fund, Republic of Djibouti, Basic and Secondary Education Strengtheining Project (Education Project III), Evaluation Report, May 2004.

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