Last Updated: Friday, 29 August 2014, 13:06 GMT

2005 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Oman

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 - Oman, 29 August 2006, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d7490048.html [accessed 29 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 Child Labor Measures Adopted by Governments
Ratified Convention 138     7/21/2005
Ratified Convention 182     6/11/2001
ILO-IPEC Associated 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 Oman are unavailable.3511 However, children are known to work in the informal and family-based subsistence agriculture and fishery sectors of the economy.3512 Bedouin children participated in camel racing for their families as part of their cultural heritage, however, there were no substantiated recent reports of trafficking of foreign children to work as camel jockeys.3513 UNICEF and the Government of Oman agree that foreign children were not trafficked and employed as camel jockeys. The ILO does not consider the use of child camel jockeys, as practiced in Oman, to be a significant problem.3514

Education is free for all children ages 6 to 18 years3515 , but is not compulsory by law.3516 In order to achieve the goal of education for all, the government provides free transportation to and from school and free textbooks and learning materials to every student.3517 Additionally, the government and private sector provide assistance, such as support for the purchase of school uniforms, to low income families.3518 In 2002, the gross primary enrollment rate was 81 percent and the net primary enrollment rate was 72 percent.3519 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 statistics are not available for Oman.3520 As of 2001, 98 percent of children who started primary school were likely to reach grade five.3521

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The Oman Labor Law, updated in 2003, establishes a minimum age of 15 years for employment, while minors ages 15 to 18 years are permitted to work only between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Minors are prohibited from working overtime or in certain hazardous occupations.3522 Employers are prohibited from requiring minors to work on official days of rest or holidays or more than 6 hours per day.3523 Workplaces that employ minors are required to post certain items for display, including: a copy of the provisions of the law regulating the employment of children; an updated log with the names of minors employed in the workplace with their ages and dates of employment; and a work schedule showing work hours, rest periods, and weekly holidays.3524

The worst forms of child labor may be prosecuted under different statutes in Oman. Forced or compulsory labor by children is specifically prohibited by law.3525 In August 2005, the Ministry of Sport issued a decree to raise the minimum legal age of camel jockeys annually by one year until it reaches 18 in 2009. The current minimum age is set at 14 and rises annually by one year until achieving the 18-year minimum by the 2009 camel racing season.3526 Under Article 220 of the Penal Code, the enticement of a minor into an act of prostitution is a crime punishable by not less than five years of imprisonment.3527 There is no specific legal provision prohibiting trafficking in persons,3528 however, Article 260 of the Penal Code imposes prison sentences of between five and fifteen years to anyone who enslaves a person or places a person in a situation similar to servitude.3529 The minimum age for voluntary military recruitment is 18.3530

The Ministry of Manpower is responsible for the enforcement of child labor laws. In practice, most employers will ask prospective employees for a certificate indicating that he or she has completed basic education through grade 10. Considering that children usually begin their basic education at age 6, this means that workers, in most cases, will be age 16 when they begin work.3531 Registration with the Omani Camel Racing Federation and submission of a passport, photograph, and birth certificate confirming compliance with minimum age laws is required of all persons seeking work as camel jockeys.3532 While restrictions on the employment of youth are generally followed, enforcement does not always extend to small family businesses, especially those engaged in agriculture and fishing.3533

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

The Government has entered into a Country Program of Cooperation with UNICEF for the years 2004-2006. This program features a joint strategy that focuses on improving the well-being of children and families, promoting quality education, child protection, and the development of life-skills and healthy lifestyles among adolescents.3534

The Government of Oman, through the Ministry of Education, is working to increase net enrollment among children and improve the education curriculum. The Basic Education initiative aims to replace the existing three-level General Education system with a unified, child-centered system that covers the first 10 years of schooling. This initiative involves curriculum reform in math, science, and life skills for grades 1 through 10 and will provide teacher training to support the process.3535 This program expanded from 17 public schools in 1998 to 352 for the 2003-2004 school year.3536 The Government plans to expand the program by about 40 schools per year until all of the country's approximately 1020 public schools are covered.3537


3511 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 section in the front of the report titled "Data Sources and Definitions."

3512 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2004: Oman, Washington, D.C., February 28, 2005, Sections 5 and 6d; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2004/41729.htm.

3513 U.S. Embassy – Muscat, reporting, February 26, 2006. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2005: Oman, Washington, D.C.,March 8, 2006 , Section 6d; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/61696.htm.

3514 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2005: Oman. Section 5. See also U.S. Embassy – Muscat, reporting, August 21, 2005.

3515 UNESCO, Education for All 2000 Assessment: Country Reports – Oman, prepared by Ministry of Education, pursuant to UN General Assembly Resolution 52/84, 1999; available from http://www2.unesco.org/wef/countryreports/oman/contents.html. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2004: Oman.

3516 U.S. Embassy – Muscat official, email communication to USDOL official, March 1, 2004. See also U.S. Embassy – Muscat official, email communication to USDOL official, January 7, 2006. Employers typically ask for documentation that young people have completed their basic education through grade 10 before hiring them. See also U.S. Embassy – Muscat, reporting, August 23, 2004.

3517 UNESCO, EFA Country Report: Oman, Section II.3.2.1.

3518 Ministry of Education Sultanate of Oman, National Report on Quality Education in Oman, Muscat, 2004, 41.

3519 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, http://stats.uis.unesco.org/TableViewer/tableView.aspx?ReportID=51 (Gross and Net Enrolment Ratios, Primary; accessed December 2005).

3520 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.

3521 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, http://stats.uis.unesco.org/TableViewer/tableView.aspx?ReportId=55 (School life expectancy, %of repeaters, survival rates; accessed December 2005).

3522 Oman Labour Law, Royal Decree no. 35/2003, (April 26, 2003), Article 77.

3523 Oman Labour Law, Articles 76-77. See also U.S. Embassy – Muscat, reporting, August 23, 2004, and U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2004: Oman, Section 5.

3524 Oman Labour Law, Article 78.

3525 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2004: Oman.

3526 U.S. Embassy – Muscat, reporting, August 21, 2005.

3527 Article 220 of the Penal Code; available from http://www.interpol.int/public/Children/SexualAbuse/NationalLaws/csaOman.asp.

3528 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2004: Oman, Section 5.

3529 U.S. Embassy – Muscat, email communication to USDOL official, August 15, 2006.

3530 Coalition to End the Use of Child Soldiers, Global Report 2004 – Oman, London, November 17, 2004; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/document_get.php?id=949.

3531 U.S. Embassy Muscat, reporting, August 23, 2004.

3532 U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report, Washington, DC, June 5, 2006; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2006/65989.htm.

3533 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2004: Oman, Section 6 d.

3534 U.S. Embassy – Muscat, reporting, August 21, 2005.

3535 Sultanate of Oman, National Report, 25-28.

3536 Ibid., 16.

3537 U.S. Embassy – Muscat official, email communication, March 1, 2004.

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