Last Updated: Wednesday, 09 July 2014, 13:04 GMT

2002 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Uzbekistan

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 - Uzbekistan, 18 April 2003, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d748cb16.html [accessed 10 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 2000, the Republic of Uzbekistan and UNICEF signed a cooperation agreement for the 20002004 period which incorporates the protection, development and well-being of children and youth into its approach.3753 Another government initiative, the State Program on Forming a Healthy Generation (2000 – 2005), focuses on improving childhood development in such areas as health and education.3754 The government works with community-based Makhalla organizations, a pre-Soviet system of community-based management and social service provision, to protect children at the community level through a neighborhood monitoring mechanism. The Makhalla benefits low-income families with children under the age of 16.3755 In 2001, the government created the Family, Mother and Child Welfare Secretariat and the Committee for Youth Affairs.3756

The government's education reform program has expanded the compulsory term of study from 9 to 12 years and has increased the level of pre-professional training.3757 To encourage attendance, the state provides aid to students from low-income families in the form of scholarships, full or partial boarding, textbooks, and warm clothing.3758 In addition, children from underprivileged households are provided with free medical services.3759 A youth social protection program offers retraining and skills improvement classes for school dropouts.3760 Girls who work in unfavorable conditions are provided with compensation, such as shorter work days/weeks, food allowances and free medical service.3761

In collaboration with the Government of Uzbekistan, UNICEF's Young People's Well-Being Program supports existing efforts to improve awareness of healthy lifestyles for children. Beneficiaries of the program include working children and sexually exploited children.3762

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 2000, UNICEF estimated that 23.4 percent of children ages 5 to 15 years in Uzbekistan were working.3763 Children work in agriculture in rural areas, where the large-scale, compulsory mobilization of children to help with cotton harvests has been reported.3764 Schools allegedly close in rural areas to allow children to work during the cotton harvest.3765 Popular media report that children help cultivate rice and raise silk worms in rural areas, and work as shop assistants, transport conductors, waiters, couriers and as home and office cleaners in cities.3766 Children frequently work as temporary hired workers, or Mardikors, without access to the social insurance system.3767 Various NGOs have reported that incidents of sexual exploitation of young women are increasing, although exact numbers are not available.3768 Women and girls are reportedly trafficked to destinations including the Persian Gulf, South Korea, Thailand, and Turkey for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation.3769

Education is compulsory for twelve years.3770 In 1998, the gross primary enrollment rate was 99.6 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 87.8 percent.3771 Approximately 73.4 percent of primary school age children attend school regularly, and at the national level, attendance rates for boys and girls are the same.3772 In 2000, 88.7 percent of children who attended the first grade reached the fifth grade,3773 and the percentage for children in urban areas is higher than that of children in rural areas.3774

The state is implementing policies that shift the burden of financing education to the family. In addition, maintenance of school buildings has been cut and school supplies are scarce.3775 Due to low salaries, teachers often demand additional payments from students and their families, and parents are often asked to cover the costs of school repairs.3776 Declining enrollment and high dropout, repetition, and absenteeism rates in both primary and secondary schools have been reported.3777

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The Labor Code sets the minimum age for employment at 14 years.3778 All working children between the ages of 14 and 18 are required to obtain written permission from a parent or guardian and work cannot interfere with their studies.3779 The Labor Code prohibits children less than 18 years of age from working in unfavorable labor conditions and establishes limited work hours for minors.3780 The Constitution prohibits forced labor except when fulfilling a court sentence.3781 The Criminal Code prohibits the abduction and recruitment of children for the purposes of exploitation.3782 The Code also provides punishments for people who profit from prostitution and maintain brothels.3783

The Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, the Prosecutor's Office and the trade unions are the bodies responsible for labor issues. Punishments and enforcements seem to be sufficient in the formal economic sector, but less so in the family-based and agricultural sectors.3784

The Government of Uzbekistan is not an ILO-IPEC member3785 and as such has not ratified either ILO Convention 138 or ILO Convention 182.3786


3753 UNICEF, UNICEF in Action- Country Highlights: Uzbekistan, [online] [cited September 9, 2002], 11; available from http://www.unicef.org/programme/countryprog/cee_cis/uzbekistan/situation.htm.

3754 UNICEF, Executive Summary of the Republic of Uzbekistan on Implementation of the Resolutions of the World Summit for Children, D, "The Further Activity", 23 [cited September 3, 2002]; available from http://www.unicef.org/ specialsession/how_country/edr_uzbekistan_en.PDF.

3755 U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, unclassified telegram no. 3730, October 15, 2002. See also UNICEF, Executive Summary, D, "Poverty Problem Solution", 22-23.

3756 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: Uzbekistan, CRC/C/15/Add.167, November 7, 2001, B, "Positive Aspects" 6, 3.

3757 The twelve years of mandatory schooling consist of 4 years at the primary level, 5 years at the secondary level, and 3 years of professional or vocation training in special training centers and colleges. U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, unclassified telegram no. 3730. See also Government of Uzbekistan, Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), Understanding Children's Work, December 5, 2000, [cited September 9, 2002]; available from http://www.childinfo.org/MICS2/ natlMICSrepz/Uzbekistan/UZBA_MICS_REPORT_Final%20%20.pdf.

3758 UNICEF, Executive Summary, C, "Domestic and International Community", 10.

3759 Ibid., D, "Attention to Children, Who live Under Especially Difficult Conditions", 19.

3760 Ibid., 11.

3761 Ibid., C, "Domestic and International Community", 9.

3762 UNICEF, UNICEF in Action- Country Highlights.

3763 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. See Government of Uzbekistan, Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey.

3764 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2001: Uzbekistan, Washington, D.C., March 4, 2002, 1941-43, Section 6c [cited December 19, 2002]; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/ 2001/eur/8366.htm. See also Ministry of Public Education, letter to USDOL official regarding forced cotton-picking practices, August 30, 2000.

3765 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Uzbekistan, 1941-43, Section 6c.

3766 Ibid. See also Cango.net, Initiative Newsletter: The Situation with Child Labour is Unlikely to Change in the Foreseeable Future, cango.net, [online] 2002, [cited December 19, 2002]; available from http://www.cango.net/news/ archive/spring-2002/a0002.asp.

3767 Cango.net, The Situation with Child Labour is Unlikely to Change in the Foreseeable Future.

3768 International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights, Women 2000: An Investigation into the Status of Women's Rights: Uzbekistan, Vienna, 2000, 505-06. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Uzbekistan, 1939-41, Section 5.

3769 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Uzbekistan, Section 6f.

3770 U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, unclassified telegram no. 3730.

3771 UNESCO, Education for All: Year 2000 Assessment [CD-ROM], Paris, 2000.

3772 Government of Uzbekistan, Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, 5 and Annex, Table 11.

3773 Ibid., Annex, Table 10.

3774 UNICEF, Executive Summary, Annex, Table 11.

3775 UNICEF, UNICEF in Action- Country Highlights.

3776 U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, unclassified telegram no. 3730.

3777 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations, para. 57.

3778 Fourteen year-olds can only work in light labor that does not negatively affect their health and/or development. U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, unclassified telegram no. 3730.

3779 Children between the ages of 14 and 16 may only work 10 hours per week while school is in session and 20 hours per week during school vacation. Children between 16 and 18 years may only work 15 hours per week when school is in session and 30 hours per week during school vacations. Ibid.

3780 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial Reports of States Parties Due in 1996, CRC/C/41/Add.8, prepared by Government of Uzbekistan, pursuant to Article 44 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, February 19, 2001, para. 315, 18 and 24. The government issued a list of jobs that fall into the category of "unfavorable labor conditions," which include subway and tunnel construction, metallurgy, drilling and exploration for oil and gas, chemical/microbiological production, and aircraft repair and construction. See U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, unclassified telegram no. 3730.

3781 Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan, 1992, (December 8, 1992), [cited October 24, 2001]; available from http://www.ecostan.org/Laws/uzb/uzbekistancon.html. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Uzbekistan, 1941-43, Section 6c.

3782 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial Reports of States Parties: Uzbekistan, para 150. Penalties vary depending on the crime, ranging from fines to imprisonment of up to 5 years. See Articles 135 and 137 of the Criminal Code, as cited in International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights, Women 2000, 505-06.

3783 International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights, Women 2000, 505.

3784 U.S. Embassy – Tashkent, unclassified telegram no. 3730.

3785 ILO-IPEC, All About IPEC: Programme Countries, [online] [cited October 10, 2002]; available from http://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/ipec/about/countries/t_country.htm.

3786 ILO, Ratifications by Country, in ILOLEX, [database online] [cited October 24, 2001]; available from http://ilolex.ilo.ch:1567/english/newratframeE.htm.

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