Last Updated: Thursday, 28 August 2014, 12:38 GMT

2002 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Macedonia

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 - Macedonia, 18 April 2003, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d7489cc.html [accessed 28 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.

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

The Government of Macedonia established an Ombudsperson for the Rights of Children in 1999. This office is empowered to take action against public authorities when children's rights are violated, and reports to Parliament on an annual basis.2163 In 1999, the government also signed a trans-border crime agreement as part of an effort to prevent trafficking and develop an effective transnational database mechanism.2164 A Trafficking Taskforce was also established to coordinate anti-trafficking efforts with other countries in the region.2165 In addition, the government is working with international organizations to implement anti-trafficking programs. OSCE and IOM are implementing prevention, protection and law enforcement projects to combat trafficking.2166 UNICEF is working to increase access to schools by implementing projects that improve the overall quality of education.2167

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 2000, the ILO estimated that less than 1 percent of children ages 10 to 14 years in Macedonia were working.2168 In rural areas, it has been reported that children leave school early to assist with agricultural duties.2169 Children work in the informal sector and in illegal or unregistered small businesses,2170 and are also found working in the streets and markets selling cigarettes and other small items.2171 Trafficking of girls, especially for prostitution and pornography, is a growing concern.2172 Macedonia is a country of destination for women and children trafficked for prostitution from Eastern European countries such as Bulgaria, Moldova, Romania, Ukraine, and Yugoslavia, as well as a transit and source country for trafficking to Greece, Albania, Kosovo, and Western Europe.2173 The Romanian Embassy and OSCE have indicated that of the 326 foreign women expelled from the town of Tetovo in 1999, many were being held against their will and that at least 20 percent of them were children.2174 There are indications that children aged 17 have volunteered for military service in Macedonia. Furthermore, children between the ages of 14 and 18 have joined armed groups abroad during regional conflicts, for example in Bosnia and Kosovo.2175

The Constitution mandates free and compulsory primary education and all children are guaranteed equal access,2176 although parents must provide children with books and supplies.2177 The Law on Primary Education specifies that education is compulsory for eight years, normally between the ages of 7 to 15.2178 In 1998, the gross primary enrollment rate was 102.9 percent and the net primary enrollment rate was 95.5 percent.2179 Primary school attendance rates are unavailable for Macedonia. While enrollment rates indicate a level of commitment to education, they do not always reflect children's participation in school.2180 Dropout rates for girls in primary and secondary school are high, particularly among ethnic Roma or Albanian children.2181

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The Constitution and Labor Relations Act set the minimum age for employment at 15 years.2182 The Labor Relations Act prohibits overtime work by children, as well as work between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., or work that may be harmful or threatening to their health or life.2183 The Constitution prohibits forced labor.2184 The Macedonian Criminal Code prohibits various acts of sexual exploitation against children, including the recruitment or solicitation of children for prostitution and/or the procurement of a child for these activities.2185 Individuals convicted of instigating, recruiting or procuring a child for prostitution shall be punished with imprisonment of one to five years.2186 The Government of Macedonia has recently adopted a law that criminalizes trafficking and actions associated with trafficking. Since the passage of this new law, there have been several arrests.2187 Labor Inspectors at the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy are responsible for enforcing the child labor laws; however, they have been reluctant to enforce these laws.2188

The Government of Macedonia ratified ILO Convention 138 on November 17, 1991 and ILO Convention 182 on May 30, 2002.2189


2163 U.S. Embassy – Skopje, unclassified telegram no. 2616, November 26, 2001.

2164 Macedonia ratified the Southeast European Cooperative Initiative "Agreement on Co-operation to Prevent and Combat Transborder Crime," which links regional governments in information-sharing and planning programs. UNICEF: Area Office for the Balkans, Trafficking in Human Beings in Southeastern Europe, UNICEF, August 2000, 12, 95.

2165 Ibid., 95.

2166 OSCE is the leading agency with regard to trafficking in Macedonia. Its programs include government negotiations, a working group on the subject and, in conjunction with the IOM, the development of a shelter for women. IOM is also establishing repatriation processes for trafficked women. See Ibid., 97.

2167 UNICEF, UNICEF'S Priority: Education Objectives, [online] 2002 [cited September 13, 2002]; available from http://www.unicef.org/macedonia/education/educationContent.htm.

2168 The ILO reported that 0.02 percent of children in this age group were economically active. ILO, Laborstat Database of Labor Statistics, [database online] [cited August 13, 2002]; available from http://laborsta.ilo.org/.

2169 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Periodic Reports of States Parties due in 1993, CRC/C/Add.36, prepared by Government of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, pursuant to Article 44 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, July 1997, para. 202.

2170 U.S. Embassy – Skopje, unclassified telegram no. 2616.

2171 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Periodic Reports of State Parties: Macedonia, para. 246.

2172 U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report – 2002: The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Washington D.C., June 5, 2002, 72 [cited December 13, 2002]; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/ 2002/10680.htm. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2001: The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Washington D.C., March 4, 2002, 1622-25, Section 5 [cited December 13, 2002]; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2001/eur/8293.htm.

2173 UNICEF: Area Office for the Balkans, Trafficking in Human Beings in Southeastern Europe, 94. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Macedonia, 1625-27, Section 6f.

2174 UNICEF: Area Office for the Balkans, Trafficking in Human Beings in Southeastern Europe, 94.

2175 Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Macedonia," in Global Report 2001, London, 2001, [cited December 13, 2002]; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/cs/childsoldiers.nsf/3f922f75125fc21980256b20003951fc/ 3b74c32135ce7d2880256b1e0046fe5b?OpenDocument.

2176 Constitution of Macedonia, 1991, (November 17, 1991), Article 44 [cited September 13, 2002]; available from http://www.uni-wuerzburg.de/law/mk00000_.html.

2177 The Ministry of Education is proposing that the government provide these materials free of charge through primary school. Transportation is also free for students. See U.S. Embassy – Skopje, unclassified telegram no. 2616.

2178 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Periodic Reports of State Parties: Macedonia, para. 20.

2179 World Bank, World Development Indicators [CD-ROM], Washington, D.C., 2002.

2180 For a more detailed description on the relationship between education statistics and work, see the preface to this report.

2181 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, CRC/C/15/Add.118, February 23, 2000, [cited December 13, 2002]; available from http://www.hri.ca/fortherecord2000/documentation/tbodies/crc-c-15-add118.htm. See also U.S. Embassy – Skopje, unclassified telegram no. 2616. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Macedonia, 1622-25, Section 5.

2182 Constitution of Macedonia, 1991, Article 42(1). In addition, the minimum age for work in mines is 18. See Labor Relations Act: Macedonia, 1993, (December 27, 1993), Section 7 [cited November 2, 2001]; available from http://www.natlex.ilo.org/txt/E93MKDO2.htm.

2183 Labor Relations Act: Macedonia, 1993, Sections 63, 66 and 67.

2184 Constitution of Macedonia, 1991, Article 11(2). See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Macedonia, 1162-65, Section 6d.

2185 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Periodic Reports of State Parties: Macedonia, para. 259 and 56. See also Criminal Code of Macedonia, 2001, (January 2001), 192-93 [cited December 20, 2002]; available from http://www.protectionproject.org.

2186 Criminal Code of Macedonia, 2001.

2187 U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report: Macedonia, 72.

2188 Labor Relations Act: Macedonia, 1993, Section 139. According to the government, no cases of child labor are filed with the Ministry. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Macedonia, 1625-27, Section 6d. See also Oliver Krliu, Embassy of the Republic of Macedonia, letter to USDOL official, September 14, 2000.

2189 ILO, Ratifications by Country, in ILOLEX, [database online] [cited September 30, 2002]; available from http://ilolex.ilo.ch:1567/english/newratframeE.htm.

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