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2002 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Solomon Islands

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 - Solomon Islands, 18 April 2003, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d748aec.html [accessed 26 October 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 the Solomon Islands is implementing a National Education Master Plan for 1999-2010 that includes provisions to improve the quality and relevance of education.3276

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 2000, the ILO estimated that 24.2 percent of children ages 10 to 14 years in the Solomon Islands were working.3277 There are reports of commercial sexual exploitation, but information on the extent of the problem is not available.3278 In the 1998 conflict between the dominant Malatians and the Guadalcanalese, the militant Guadalcanelese Isatabu Freedom Movement (IFM) reportedly included about 100 child soldiers aged 12 to 17 in its ranks.3279

Education in the Solomon Islands is not compulsory,3280 and school fees are reported to be very high in relation to local income.3281 In 1996, the gross primary enrollment rate was 96.9 percent.3282 However, other education data show that only 60 percent of school-age children have access to primary education.3283 Primary school attendance rates are unavailable for the Solomon Islands. While enrollment rates indicate a level of commitment to education, they do not always reflect children's participation in school.3284 The state of education is reported to have worsened in recent years, due to deteriorating infrastructure, a lack of financial resources, and a failure of the government to pay teachers.3285

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

Children under the age of 12 are prohibited from heavy work, but they may participate in light agricultural or domestic labor (work performed in the company of their parents).3286 Children under the age of 15 are prohibited from working in industry or on ships, and children under the age of 18 may not work underground or in mines.3287 The Constitution prohibits slavery and forced labor.3288 The procurement of girls under 18 years of age for the purposes of prostitution is prohibited under the Penal Code, and is punishable with a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment.3289 There are no specific provisions criminalizing trafficking in persons.3290

The Labor Division of the Ministry of Commerce, Trade, and Industry is responsible for enforcing child labor laws,3291 but information on the effectiveness of this division and other enforcement measures is not available.

The Government of the Solomon Islands has not ratified ILO Convention 138 or ILO Convention 182.3292


3276 UNESCO, Education for All 2000 Assessment: Country Reports – Solomon Islands, prepared by Department of Education and Human Resource Development, pursuant to UN General Assembly Resolution 52/84, 1999, [cited August 30, 2002]; available from http://www2.unesco.org/wef/countryreports/solomon_islands/rapport_3.html.

3277 World Bank, World Development Indicators 2002 [CD-ROM], Washington, D.C., 2002.

3278 ECPAT International, Solomon Islands, in ECPAT International, [database online] 2002 [cited August 30, 2002]; available from http://www.ecpat.net/eng/Ecpat_inter/projects/monitoring/online_database/index.asp. See also Global March Against Child Labor, Worst Forms of Child Labour: Solomon Islands, [online] [cited August 30, 2002]; available from http://www.globalmarch.org/worstformsreport/world/solomon-islands.htm.

3279 According to Amnesty International, children between 12 and 17 made up at least a quarter of the IFM fighters manning roadblocks visited by its observers east of the town of Honiara in September 1999. See Amnesty International, Solomon Islands: A Forgotten Conflict, [online] 2000 [cited August 28, 2002]; available from http://web.amnesty.org/ai.nsf/Index/ASA430052000?OpenDocument&of=COUNTRIES\SOLOMON+ISLANDS. There is currently a fragile peace in the country, as the new government, the Coalition for National Unity, Reconciliation and Peace, has sought to maintain order. See U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2001: Solomon Islands, Washington, D.C., March 4, 2002, 1175-76, Introduction [cited December 17, 2002]; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2001/eap/8376.htm.

3280 UN Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, Review of the Implementation of CERD: Solomon Islands, E/C.12/1/Add.33, Geneva, May 1999, [cited August 30, 2002]; available from http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/ (symbol)/E.C.12.1.Add.33.En?opendocument.

3281 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Solomon Islands, 1181-82, Section 5.

3282 Net primary enrollment rates are unavailable for the Solomon Islands. See World Bank, World Development Indicators 2002.

3283 UN Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, Review of the Implementation of CERD: Solomon Islands.

3284 For a more detailed description on the relationship between education statistics and work, see the preface to this
report.

3285 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Solomon Islands, 1181-82, Section 5.

3286 Ibid., 1182-83, Section 6d.3287 UN Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, Review of the Implementation of CERD: Solomon Islands.

3288 Constitution of the Solomon Islands, 1978, [cited August 30, 2002]; available from http://www.vanuatu.usp.ac.fj/
paclawmat/Solomon_Islands_legislation/Solomons_Constitution.html.3289 ECPAT International, Solomon Islands.

3290 Ibid.

3291 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Solomon Islands, 1182-83, Section 6d.

3292 ILO, Ratifications by Country, in ILOLEX, [database online] [cited December 17, 2002]; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/newratframeE.htm.

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