Last Updated: Tuesday, 02 September 2014, 13:52 GMT

2002 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Armenia

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 - Armenia, 18 April 2003, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48d7487b32.html [accessed 3 September 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 June 2001, the Government of Armenia established a National Commission tasked with developing a National Plan of Action for children's rights. The commission has begun consultations to consider existing laws relating to human rights, disadvantaged children, education, and health issues.163 In October 2002, the Government of Armenia established an Interagency Commission on Human Trafficking to coordinate anti-trafficking activities in the country.164

Since June 2000, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Yerevan Office has assembled and distributed an information pack on the subject of anti-trafficking, including policy and legislative documents.165 To facilitate government efforts against trafficking, the OSCE has developed a matrix that outlines all ongoing and planned anti-trafficking activities by NGO's and international organizations.166 The World Bank is currently implementing the Second Social Investment Fund Project, which is upgrading schools, repairing school heating systems, and funding furniture purchases for schools, as well as other community development activities.167

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Statistics on the number of working children under the age of 15 years in Armenia are unavailable.168 However, there are reports that children are working in family businesses and on family farms, which is not forbidden by law.169 Additionally, children in the streets of Yerevan can be observed, often during school hours, selling newspapers and flowers.170 Conscription of minors into the armed forces is also reported to be of special concern.171 A report by the IOM and OSCE in 2001 found that women and children are trafficked from Armenia to Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, often to work in the sex trade.172

Primary and secondary education is free for all children and compulsory until the age of 14.173 The gross primary enrollment rate was 87.4 percent in 1996.174 Primary school attendance rates are unavailable for Armenia. While enrollment rates indicate a level of commitment to education, they do not always reflect children's participation in school.175 Dropout, retention, and absenteeism rates remain high in Armenia; possibly as a result of the high number of non-native Armenian-speaking students and the requirement that all classes must be taught in the Armenian language.176 Access to education in rural areas remains poor.177 Agricultural responsibilities take precedence over school in rural areas, and children work in the fields during harvest season leading to prolonged absence from school.178

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The Labor Code of 1996 prohibits the employment of children under the age of 16, except in rare cases when a child of 15 years can work in non-dangerous labor situations, with the consent of his/ her parents and/or of the labor union of the organization.179 Children under the age of 18 are prohibited from working in "harmful or hazardous" conditions, such as underground work, and may not work overtime, on holidays, or at night.180 Additionally, children may not work in employment activities that may compromise their health, physical, or mental development, or interfere with their education.181 UN officials raised concerns regarding disparities between the Labor Code and the Armenian Civil Code.182 According to Article 13 of the Civil Code, minors under the age of 15 are required to obtain a parent's consent in order to engage in employment contracts, but this consent is not required for children to engage in small contracts relating to everyday matters.183 The Constitution and the 1992 Law on Employment prohibit forced labor by children.184 The Armenian Administrative Code makes prostitution illegal and punishable by fine.185 Armenian laws do not prohibit trafficking in persons specifically, however kidnapping is prohibited and is punishable by imprisonment of 5 to12 years.186

The Ministry of Welfare and the National Police are responsible for monitoring and enforcing child labor laws. There are no reports of child labor complaints being investigated since at least 1994.187 Armenia is a member of the ILO but has not ratified either ILO Convention 138 or ILO Convention 182.188


163 Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia, Embassy of the Republic of Armenia Letter, Embassy of the Republic of Armenia, Washington D.C., October 24, 2001.

164 Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Yerevan Office official, electronic communication to USDOL official, February 20, 2003.

165 Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Joint study on trafficking in human beings published in Armenia, [Online News Service] November 14, 2001 [cited July 15, 2002]; available from http://www.osce.org/news/ generate.php3?news_id=2143.

166 OSCE Yerevan Office official, electronic communication, February 20, 2003.

167 World Bank, Project Appraisal Document: Second Social Investment Fund Project – Armenia, [Website] April 18, 2000 [cited August 8, 2002]; available from http://www-wds.worldbank.org/servlet/ WDSServlet?pcont=details&eid=000094946_00042805302426>.

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

169 By Armenian law and custom, children working in family-run small businesses (including farms) are considered to be doing chores. U.S. Embassy – Yerevan, unclassified telegram no. 2213, August 2000. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2001 – Armenia, U.S. Department of State, Washington D.C., March 2002, Section 6d; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2001/eur/8221.htm.

170 Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia, Embassy of the Republic of Armenia Letter.

171 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: Armenia, CRC/C/15/Add.119, United Nations, February 2000, para. 48.

172 International Organization for Migration, Trafficking in Women and Children from the Republic of Armenia: A Study, International Organization for Migration, Yerevan, 2001, 11. See also U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2001 – Armenia, Section 6f.

173 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2001 – Armenia, Section 5.

174 World Bank, World Development Indicators.

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

176 Because of the serious economic problems, an increasing number of Armenian as well as minority students are leaving school early to work to help support their families. See UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations, para. 44. See also U.S. Embassy – Yerevan, unclassified telegram no. 2213.

177 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations, para. 44.

178 Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia, Embassy of the Republic of Armenia Letter.

179 Ibid., Articles 19, 198.1.

180 Workers between the ages of 16-18 must have a shorter workday and cannot work more than 36 hours per week, according to the Labor Code (children between the ages of 15 and 16 can only work 24 hours per week). The government maintains a list of "hazardous and harmful" jobs in which children are not allowed to work. See Ibid., Labor Codes, 200, 02, 15.

181 U.S. Embassy – Yerevan, unclassified telegram no. 2213.

182 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations, para. 22.

183 This legal loophole would explain why children under the age of 15 may legally work in family businesses, such as agriculture. See Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports Submitted by the States Parties Under Article 44 of the Convention: Initial Reports of States Parties Due in 1995, Addendum: Armenia, CRC/C/28/Add.9, United Nations, July 1997, Paragraph 9. See also UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations, para. 22.

184 U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2001 – Armenia, Section 6c.

185 International Organization for Migration, Trafficking in Women and Children from the Republic of Armenia: A Study, 34.

186 Traffickers of women and children can be prosecuted under different articles of the Criminal Code. See U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2001 – Armenia, Section 6f. International Organization for Migration, Trafficking in Women and Children from the Republic of Armenia: A Study, 34.

187 If a complaint alleging child labor abuse is brought to the attention of the Ministry of Labor, an agent in the Ministry may investigate or turn the case over to the National Police. Family-run businesses may not be monitored as closely because of legal and cultural reasons. In this context, exploitation of children by a child's family may not be reported. See U.S. Embassy – Yerevan, unclassified telegram no. 2213.

188 ILOLEX, Database of International Labor Standards, [Database] September 29, 2002 [cited September 30, 2002]; available from http://ilolex.ilo.ch:1567/english/docs/declworld.htm.

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