Last Updated: Monday, 28 July 2014, 16:37 GMT

2002 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Comoros

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 - Comoros, 18 April 2003, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d74886112.html [accessed 29 July 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

In March 2002, the Government of Comoros participated in a two-day conference on child exploitation with seven other francophone African countries. The conferees agreed to a define a "child" as a person under the age of 18 and produced a list of 21 guiding principles for child exploitation activities that need to be banned in their nations.869 The government has also worked together with UNICEF to evaluate the extent of child labor870 and improve girls' education,871 and with the World Bank since 1997 on a USD 7.5 million project to improve primary and vocational education.872 From 2002 to 2007, the government will collaborate with the European Commission on various projects in the education sector aimed at the rehabilitation of elementary education infrastructure, the development of technical and vocational training, institutional capacity building, the improvement of quality secondary education, and the rationalization of higher education.873

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 2000, UNICEF estimated that 36.7 percent of children ages 5 to 14 years in Comoros were working.874 Children work in the informal sector, in agriculture, and in family enterprises, particularly in subsistence farming and fishing.875 Children, some as young as 7 years old, also work as domestic servants, in exchange for food and shelter.876 Migration from rural areas and poverty have led to a growing number of children working and living on the streets.877 Armed separatist groups in Anjouan, an island in Comoros, have reportedly been recruiting children between the ages of 13 and 16 years.878

Primary education is compulsory until the age of 10.879 In 1998, the gross primary enrollment rate was 75.9 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 49.7 percent.880 According to UNICEF, only 22.1 percent of boys and 26.9 percent of girls who start primary school reach grade 5.881 Attendance is not enforced by the government,882 and only 31.2 percent of all primary school children ages 6 to 12 attend school.883 There is a general lack of facilities, equipment, qualified teachers, and textbooks and other resources.884 Salaries for teachers are low and often so far in arrears that many teachers refuse to work.885

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The Labor Code sets the minimum age for employment at 15 years.886 The government does not prohibit forced and bonded labor by children, but the Constitution prohibits these types of labor generally.887 Prostitution is illegal in Comoros and procurement is prohibited under Article 322 of the Criminal Code.888 A procurer is punished with a fine and imprisonment from one to three years.889 The Code specified higher penalties (two to five years) if this crime is committed against a minor, or if its committed with threats, coercion, violence, assault, or the abuse of authority.890 Article 323 of the Criminal Code also provides increased penalties for procurement in the context of international trafficking.891 The government does not enforce labor laws,892 in part because of a lack of labor inspectors and general dearth of resources.893

The Government of Comoros has not ratified ILO Convention 138 or ILO Convention 182.894


869 The other countries participating in the meeting were: Mali, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo (Republic of), Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia. See UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, Nations Press Ahead to End Child Exploitation, allAfrica.com, [online] April 2, 2002 [cited September 10, 2002]; available from http://www.allafrica.com/stories/ printable200204020605.html.

870 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Summary Record of the 666th Meeting: Comoros, CDC/C/SR.666, Geneva, June 2001, para. 39.

871 UNICEF has also supported the Government of Comoros to implement the following activities: a 2000 study to establish baseline performance indicators for children in grade 4; the collection of data for the 2000 Education for All reports; and a reconciliation accord in February 2001 to bring about political stability to the country. Government of Comoros, Girls' Education in Comoros, UNICEF, [cited September 10, 2002]; available from http://www.unicef.org/ programme/girlseducation/action/ed_profiles/Comorosfinal.PDF.

872 World Bank, Projects, Policies and Strategies: Education Project (03), online, P000603, April 30, 1997, [cited December 26, 2002]; available from http://www4.worldbank.org/sprojects/Project.asp?pid=P000603.

873 afrol News, Comoros and Europe Agree on Cooperation Programme, [online] 2002 [cited September 9, 2002]; available from http://www.afrol.com/News2002/com010_eu_cooperation.htm.

874 Children who are working in some capacity include children who have performed any paid or unpaid work for someone who is not a member of the household, who have performed more than four hours of housekeeping chores in the household, or who have performed other family work. Government of Comoros, Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2 (MICS2): Standard Tables for Comoros, UNICEF Statistics, Table 42a [cited September 10, 2002]; available from http://www.childinfo.org/MICS2/newreports/comoros/comoros.htm.

875 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, Comoros, CRC/C/15/Add.141, October 2000, para. 48. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2001: Comoros, Washington, D.C., March 4, 2002, 142-43, Section 6d [cited December 26, 2002]; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2001/af/8316pf.htm.

876 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Reports. See also UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Summary Record, para. 3.

877 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Reports, para. 39. See also UN Committee on the Rights of
the Child, Summary Record, para. 3.878 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Summary Record, para. 41.

879 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports-2001: Comoros, 141-42, Section 5.

880 World Bank, World Development Indicators 2002 [CD-ROM], Washington, D.C., 2002.

881 Government of Comoros, MICS2: Standard Tables for Comoros, Table 10.

882 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports-2001: Comoros, 141-42, Section 5.

883 Government of Comoros, MICS2: Standard Tables for Comoros, Table 11.

884 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Reports, para. 43. See also Government of Comoros, Girls' Education in Comoros.
885 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Summary Record, para. 23.

886 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports-2001: Comoros, 142-43, Section 6d.

887 Ibid., 142-43, Sections 6d and 6e.

888 Criminal Code of Comoros, [cited September 9, 2002]; available from http://www.protectionproject.org.

889 Ibid.

890 Ibid.

891 Ibid.

892 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Reports, para. 48.

893 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports-2001: Comoros, 141-43, Section 5 and 6d.

894 ILO, Ratifications by Country, in ILOLEX, [database online] [cited September 9, 2002]; available from http://ilolex.ilo.ch:1567/english/newratframeE.htm.

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