Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 October 2014, 09:30 GMT

2002 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Djibouti

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 - Djibouti, 18 April 2003, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d7488a32.html [accessed 21 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 Djibouti supports several small programs to encourage children to attend school, including the Ministry of Labor's "War on Poverty."1107 The government has translated the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which includes provisions on child labor, into the national languages (Afar, Somali) and integrated elements of the Convention into the national school curriculum. Furthermore, the government has promoted the Convention by publishing a brochure for children in French.1108 With assistance from the National Education Centre for Research and Pedagogical Information and UNICEF, the government has produced a handbook on the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, including guidelines for how primary school teachers can integrate the articles of the Convention into their lessons. This collaboration has enabled the government to produce radio broadcasts in four languages on the advancement of girls.1109

The World Bank supports a Social Development and Public Works Project with the objective of enhancing living standards in Djibouti by construction/rehabilitation of social infrastructures such as stand pipes, health posts, and schools.1110 On October 8, 2002, the Ministry of Justice, in collaboration with UNICEF, organized an awareness seminar on the rights of children.1111

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Statistics on the number of working children under the age of 15 in Djibouti are unavailable. Information on the incidence of children's work is limited, although reports indicate that child labor exists, primarily in informal economic activities.1112 In rural areas, children perform unpaid labor on family farms; in urban areas, children often work in small-scale family businesses, trade, catering or craft sectors, or as domestic servants.1113 Children displaced from Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia seek work in the informal sector in Djibouti's cities as shoe polishers, street peddlers, money changers, or as beggars.1114 Child prostitution reportedly is increasing, particularly among refugee street children in the capital city.1115

Education is free and compulsory between the ages of 6 and 16.1116 Although education is free, there are additional expenses (e.g., transportation and books) that often prohibit poor families from sending their children to school.1117 In 1998, the gross primary enrollment rate was 38.8 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 31.9 percent.1118 Both gross and net enrollment rates are lower for girls than for boys.1119 Primary school attendance rates are unavailable for Djibouti. While enrollment rates indicate a level of commitment to education, they do not always reflect children's participation in school.1120

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The Labor Code sets the minimum age for employment at 14 years.1121 Night work is prohibited for children under the age of 16, and the hours and conditions of work by children are regulated.1122 Forced labor of children is also prohibited.1123 The Penal Code criminalizes prostitution.1124 The authority to enforce child labor laws and regulation rests with the Police Vice Squad "Brigade Des Moeurs" and the local gendarmerie.1125 Child labor offences fall under the Criminal Code with the first offence being punishable by fine and the second offence punishable by a jail sentence. However, no incidents of child labor violations have been brought before the judicial system to date.1126

The Government of Djibouti has not ratified ILO Convention 138 or ILO Convention 182.1127


1107 U.S. Embassy – Djibouti, unclassified telegram no. 1503, August 2000.

1108 ECPAT International, Djibouti, in ECPAT International, [database online] [cited August 9, 2002]; available from http://www.ecpat.net/eng/Ecpat_inter/projects/monitoring/online_database/.

1109 Ibid.

1110 World Bank, Social Development and Public Works Project, [online] September 16, 2002 [cited September 18, 2002]; available from http://www4.worldbank.org/sprojects/Project.asp?pid=P044584.

1111 U.S. Embassy – Djibouti, unclassified telegram no. 1072, October 2002.

1112 U.S. Embassy – Djibouti, unclassified telegram no. 1503. See also UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial Reports of States Parties due in 1993, CRC/C/8/Add.39, prepared by Government of Djibouti, pursuant to Article 44 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, August 1998, para.144-45.

1113 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial Reports of States Parties, paras. 144-45.

1114 ILO, Review of Annual Reports Under the Follow-Up to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, The Effective Abolition of Child Labour: Djibouti, GB.277/3/2, Geneva, March 2000, 270. See also Integrated Regional Information Networks, "Djibouti: Drought and Economic Refugees Overburden Capital", IRINnews.org, [online], 2001 [cited September 30, 2002]; available from http://irinnews.org/ report.asp?ReportID=11104&SelectRegion=Horn_of_Africa&SelectCountry=DJIBOUTI.

1115 ECPAT International, Djibouti, "Child Prostitution". See also 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: Djibouti, CRC/C/15/Add.131, United Nations, Geneva, June 2000, para. 57. See also Integrated Regional Information Networks, "Djibouti: Drought and Economic Refugees Overburden Capital".

1116 U.S. Embassy – Djibouti, unclassified telegram no. 1072. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2001: Djibouti, Washington D.C., March 4, 2002, 219-20, Section 5 [cited December 10, 2002]; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2000/af/index.cfm?docid=665.

1117 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Djibouti, 219-20, Section 5.

1118 World Bank, World Development Indicators 2002 [CD-ROM], Washington D.C., 2002.

1119 In 1998, the gross primary enrollment rate was 32.0 percent for girls and 45.6 percent for boys. The net primary enrollment rate was 26.6 percent for girls and 37.1 percent for boys. Ibid.

1120 For a more detailed discussion on the relationship between education statistics and work, see the preface to this report.

1121 See ILO, The Effective Abolition of Child Labour: Djibouti. The government is currently drafting a new Labor Code that will raise the minimum age for employment from age 14 to 16. See U.S. Embassy – Djibouti, unclassified telegram no. 1503.

1122 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Initial Reports of States Parties, para. 25.

1123 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Djibouti, 221-22, Section 6c.

1124 ECPAT International, Djibouti.

1125 U.S. Embassy – Djibouti, unclassified telegram no. 1072.

1126 Ibid. There is reported to be a shortage of labor inspectors, which may contribute to the lack of reported child labor violations. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports – 2001: Djibouti, 221-22, Section 6d.

1127 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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