Last Updated: Thursday, 18 September 2014, 13:28 GMT

2001 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Somalia

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 7 June 2002
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2001 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Somalia, 7 June 2002, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48c8c9ed37.html [accessed 18 September 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

Since 1996, the international effort towards education in Somalia has been coordinated by the Education Sectoral Committee of the Somalia Aid Coordination Body.[2336] UNICEF has provided assistance to more than 600 schools under its Basic Education Program by furnishing textbooks and school supplies, developing school curricula, and training teachers.[2337] The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNESCO, and various. international NGOs also have given aid.[2338] In 1999, the Somaliland authority drafted guidelines for its "national" education policy.[2339]

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 1999, UNICEF estimated that 42 percent of children between the ages of 5 and 14 were working in Somalia.[2340] Children are engaged in herding, agriculture, and domestic labor.[2341] In addition, children under age 15 have been recruited by the militias, with boys as young as 10 years old serving as bodyguards for faction leaders.[2342] There also are reports of Somalian children being trafficked for the purpose of forced labor.[2343]

Primary education is compulsory between the ages of 6 and 14.[2344] The Transitional National Charter guarantees a free basic education up to secondary school;[2345] however, 62 percent of schools in Somalia require families to pay fees, which average out to USD 15.60 per year for each child.[2346] In addition, schools lack textbooks, as well as running water.[2347] In 2000, the gross primary enrollment rate was 9 percent, with 11.8 percent for boys and 6.3 percent for girls.[2348] In 1999, 58.4 percent of primary school-age children attended school, and 72.5 percent of children who had entered first grade actually reached the fifth grade.[2349]

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

Somalia has been without a national government since 1991 and has no means for enforcing labor laws.[2350] Somalia has not ratified ILO Convention 138 or ILO Convention 182.[2351]


[2336] Eighty-nine percent of schools in the northwest and 83 percent in the northeast charge fees. In the central-south, only 41 percent of schools require the payment of fees. See UNESCO, The Education for All (EFA) 2000 Assessment: Country Reports – Somalia, [hereinafter EFA 2000], at http://www2.unesco.org/wef/countryreports/somalia/rapport_2.html.

[2337] UNICEF, "Somalia: Country Programme," Overview, at http://www.unicef.org/somalia/programme/98-99/activeed.html.

[2338] EFA 2000.

[2339] Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2000 – Somalia (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of State, 2001) [hereinafter Country Reports 2000], Section 5, at http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2000/af/index.cfm?docid=780&CFNoCache=TRUE&pri.

[2340] Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2 (MICS2) [hereinafter MICS2] at http://www.ucw-project.org. See also "Somalia: List of Tables" [hereinafter "List of Tables"] at http://www.childinfo.org/MICS2/natlMICSrepz/Somalia/TablesFinal150101.pdf.

[2341] Country Reports 2000.

[2342] Ibid. at Section 6d.

[2343] Ibid. at Section 6c.

[2344] UNESCO, Somalia – Education System, at http://www.unesco.org/iau/cd-data/so.rtf on 3/120/02.

[2345] Transitional National Charter, Article 14, Section 3, at http://somaligov.com/axdi/axdi2.doc.

[2346] EFA 2000.

[2347] Country Reports 2000 at Section 5.

[2348] The enrollment figures came from responses to questionnaires for UNICEF's 1998-99 school survey data. In this study UNESCO defines a primary school as one for children ages 6 to 14. See EFA 2000.

[2349] The MICS2 study looked at children ages 5 and older in regard to education. According to UNICEF, 77 percent of children in the central-south of Somalia who entered grade 1 reached grade 5 as did 74 percent in the northeast and 80 percent in the northwest. See "List of Tables" and MICS2.

[2350] Country Reports 2000.

[2351] ILOLEX database: Somalia at http://iloles.ilo.ch:1567.

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