2003 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Angola

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

The armed civil conflict in Angola from 1975 to 2002 severely affected children and limited government spending for social and educational programs.[117] Since the end of hostilities in February 2002, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) have increased family reunification efforts with the cooperation of the government. By October 2003, more than 1,700 children had been reunited with their families under the two programs and 539 tracing activists had been trained in 10 provinces.[118]

In 2002, the Ministry of Social Assistance and Reintegration (MINARS) trained 1,070 child protection monitors who assisted approximately 43,000 children who had been separated from their families because of the conflicts. Monitors ensured that the children, some of whom were working children and former child soldiers, were provided food, shelter and schooling, and reunited some children with their families.[119] International human rights groups, however, have criticized the lack of access to government demobilization and reintegration programs for ex-child soldiers.[120]

In March 2003, the MINARS organized a roundtable with international and local organizations to express the government's commitment to protect child victims of the conflict and their rights to physical, psychosocial recovery, and social reintegration.[121] In 2001, the Government of Angola initiated a national registration system to document the age of children under 18. By providing children with accurate, official age documentation, the government intends to stem the recruitment of underage children by the military or by traffickers.[122] Between 2001 and 2003, this program successfully registered more than two million Angolan children. At least 1 million more children, however, remain unregistered.[123] In June 2003, the government inaugurated a Juvenile Court, based on Angola's traditional reconciliation system, to protect the rights of children, including victims of sexual abuse and forced labor.[124]

In 2002, the Ministry of Education and Culture (MoEC), together with UNICEF, launched a program to provide informal learning and life skills for vulnerable children outside of the formal education system. The program intends to reach a total of 50,000 children by the end of 2003.[125] In addition, the MoEC created a Back-to-School campaign in two of the poorest provinces to increase education access for all school-aged children.[126] During the first half of 2003, the National Children's Institute has relocated more than 45,000 orphans or children living alone to houses and family living situations.[127]

Since 1994, UNICEF and other organizations have established demobilization and rehabilitation programs for former child soldiers.[128] Program activities have included locating relatives, arranging transportation, and reuniting the children with their families. The programs also identify school and job training opportunities for former child soldiers and prepare local communities to accept children who had been engaged in armed conflict.[129] The World Food Program is involved in food-for-work schemes including the reconstruction of schools and destroyed infrastructure, and food-for-training projects for vulnerable populations including demobilized soldiers and their families.[130]

In March 2003, the World Bank approved a USD 33 million grant to provide services to underage soldiers in settlement communities.[131] Services include family tracing and unification, trauma counseling and psychosocial care, and the facilitation of access to education, recreation, and vocational training for children over the age of 15.[132]

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

In 2001, UNICEF estimated that 29.9 percent of children ages 5 to 14 years in Angola were working.[133] In 2000, it was estimated that there were approximately 24,000 predominantly male homeless street children living in Angola as a result of the civil conflict.[134] Many of the homeless girls are at high risk of sexual, and other forms of, violence.[135] Other children work in subsistence agriculture, as domestic servants, as street vendors,[136] and as beggars.[137]

Child trafficking, prostitution, pornography, forced labor, sexual slavery, and other forms of exploitation are reported to exist in the country.[138] Angola is a country of origin for trafficked children. Children have been trafficked to Europe and South Africa to work in the commercial sex industry.[139]

Education in Angola is compulsory for eight years,[140] and it is free of charge, although families are responsible for significant additional fees.[141] In 2000, the gross primary enrollment rate was 73.6 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 36.9 percent.[142] In 2001, roughly 75 percent of children enrolled in primary school reached grade 5,[143] but only 6 percent of children are enrolled in secondary school.[144] More than 1 million children are estimated to be out of school with no prospect of integrating them into the education system.[145] Girls have less access to education than do boys.[146] Primary school attendance rates are unavailable for Angola. While enrollment rates indicate a level of commitment to education, they do not always reflect children's participation in school.[147] It is estimated that children make up a majority of the roughly 832,000 displaced persons in Angola,[148] and educational opportunities are extremely limited for displaced children and adolescents.[149] A reported 40 percent of classrooms in Angola have been looted and destroyed, leading to problems of overcrowding. Other factors, such as landmines, lack of resources and identity papers, and poor health further prohibit children from attending school regularly.[150]

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The minimum age for employment in Angola is 14 years. Children between the ages of 14 and 18 are not permitted to work at night, under dangerous conditions, or in activities requiring great physical effort.[151] Children under 16 years of age are restricted from working in factories.[152] The Constitution and Angolan statutory law prohibit forced or bonded child labor.[153] In 1998, the Angolan Council of Ministers established a minimum conscription age for military service of 17 years.[154] Trafficking is not specifically prohibited in Angola,[155] but forced servitude, prostitution, and pornography are illegal under the general criminal statute.[156] Despite severe resource limitations, the Government of Angola is making efforts to comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, although greater emphasis is needed to protect street children from becoming victims of trafficking.[157]

The Inspector General of the Ministry of Public Administration, Employment, and Social Security (MAPESS) is responsible for enforcing labor laws.[158] However, child labor complaints are filed with the Ministry of Family and Women's Affairs, which has principle responsibility for child welfare.[159] MAPESS maintains employment centers to screen out applicants under age 14. Fines and restitutions are the primary available legal remedies for the enforcement of child labor laws. Individuals may report child labor violations, but there is no standard procedure for this type of investigation,[160] and reports of child labor complaints are rare.[161]

The Government of Angola ratified both ILO Conventions 138 and 182 on June 13, 2001.[162]

[117] The Government of Angola and UNITA concluded a final peace agreement on November 20, 2002. See Government of Angola, Angolans Complete Implementation of Peace Pact; UN lifts Sanctions, ReliefWeb, [online] December 31, 2002 [cited August 27, 2003]; available from http://wwww.reliefweb.int/w/rwb.nsf/ByCountry/Angola?OpenDocument&Start…. See also Watch List on Children and Armed Conflict, Angola: Important Note, ReliefWeb, [online] April 25, 2002 [cited August 27, 2003], 11; available from http://www.reliefweb.int/w/rwb.nsf/vID/CE7CF6EEF87D82D785256BD6006B39C0….

[118] U.S. Department of State official, electronic communication to USDOL official, February 19, 2004. See also U.S. Department of State official, electronic communication to USDOL official, February 12, 2003.

[119] U.S. Department of State, Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000: Trafficking in Persons Report, Washington D.C., June 11, 2003; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2003/21275.htm#angola.

[120] Human Rights Watch, Forgotten Fighters: Child Soldiers in Angola, Vol. 15, No. 10 (A), New York City, April, 2003, 15-16; available from http://www.hrw.org/reports/2003/angola0403/. Ex-child soldiers are eligible, however, for benefits under programs funded through the World Bank, World Food Program (WFP), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), UNICEF, and other international organizations that account for the vast majority of demobilization and reintegration programs.

[121] UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ANGOLA: Rehabilitation of Child Soldiers Critical, UNICEF, IRINnews.org, [online] 2003 [cited August 27, 2003]; available from http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=32737&SelectRegion=Southern….

[122] U.S. Embassy-Luanda, Angola, 3,5.

[123] With support from non-governmental and religious organizations, the National Birth Registration Campaign hopes to register three million in total by the end of the year. ANGOP, Two Million Children Get Birth Certificates, The Embassy of the Republic of Angola Website, [online] [cited June 19, 2003]; available from http://www.angola.org/news/NewsDetail.cfm?NID=13158. See also U.S. Department of State official, electronic communication dated February 19, 2004.

[124] ANGOP, Tribunal for the Under Age Inaugurated, The Embassy of the Republic of Angola Website, [online] [cited June 19, 2003]; available from http://www.angola.org/news/NewsDetail.cfm?NID=13131. and United Nations Information Services, UNICRI and Italian Government in Defence of Children's Rights in Angola, The United Nations, [online] [cited June 19, 2003]; available from http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2003/afr645.doc.htm. See also Minister for Planning of the Republic of Angola, H.E. Madame Ana Dias Lourenco, Statement at the United Nations Special Session on Children, May 10, 2002; available from http://www.un.org/ga/children/angolaE.htm.

[125] The Education for Life and Peace Program. UNICEF, Funds Urgently Needed for Measles and Back-to-School Campaigns, New York, December 12, 2002, 4; available from http://www.unicef.org/emerg/Country/Angola/021212.PDF.

[126] Ibid. See also ANGOP, Increased Basic Services to Bié Approved, The Embassy of the Republic of Angola Website, [online] [cited June 18, 2003]; available from http://www.angola.org/news/NewsDetail.cfm?NID=13187. An estimated 250,000 children are expected to return to school in Bié and Malanje provinces in the north. UNICEF has rehabilitated up to 1,3000 classrooms and is providing learning materials, chalk and blackboards. See UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ANGOLA: Decrease in Malnutrition and Back to School Programme Benefiting Children, IRINnews.org, [online] [cited May 21, 2003]; available from http://www.irinnews.org/print.asp?ReportID=34239.

[127] ANGOP, Over 45,000 Children Reunited with their Families, [online] [cited June 24, 2003]; available from http://www.angola.org/news/NewsDetail.cfm?NID=13274. The mandate of the National Children's Institute is to concentrate on children's issues including long-term sheltering of homeless or street children. See U.S. Department of State official, electronic communication dated February 12, 2003.

[128] Damien Personnaz, For Angola's Former Child Soldiers, Peace Brings Uneasy Calm, UNICEF, [previously online] 1996 [cited October 3, 2002]; available from http://www.unicef.org/features/feat171.htm [hard copy on file].

[129] Trained local church members, or "Catequistas," provide psychosocial assistance in accordance with local beliefs and practices. Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Angola," in Child Soldiers 1379 Report, 2002; available from http://www.child-soldiers.org/cs/childsoldiers.nsf/0/c560bb92d962c64c80….

[130] The World Food Programme, Russia Makes a Landmark Pledge of Food Aid for North Korea and Angola, The World Food Programme, [online] [cited June 13, 2003]; available from http://www.wfp.org/newsroom/subsections/preview.asp?content_item_id=118….

[131] MINARS will be involved in the administration of the project. The World Bank, Technical Annex for a Proposed Grant of Sdr 24 Million (US$ 33 Million Equivalent) to the Republic of Angola for an Angola Emergency Demobilization and Reintegration Project, T7580-ANG, Washington D.C., March 7, 2003, 31-32; available from http://www.worldbank.org/afr/ao/reports/2003_EDRP_TechAnn.pdf.

[132] Ibid.

[133] The average percentage of working girls within this age group was greater (31.1 percent) than that of boys (28.7 percent). 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. Government of Angola, Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) Report: Angola, UNICEF, Luanda, April 2002, 13; available from http://www.childinfo.org/MICS2/newreports/angola/angola.pdf. In 2001, the ILO estimated that 25.9 percent of children ages 10 to 14 years in Angola were working. World Bank, World Development Indicators 2003 [CD-Rom], Washington, D.C., 2003.

[134] Governo de Unidade e Reconciliação Nacional República de Angola, Relatório de Seguimento das Metas da Cimeira Mundial pela Infância, December 2000; available from http://www.unicef.org/specialsession/how_country/edr_angola_pt.PDF.

[135] Ibid.

[136] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2002, U.S. Department of State, Washington D.C., 2003; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2002/18167.htm.

[137] According to a local NGO in Luanda, about 500 to 1,000 children were working as prostitutes in the capital city. See Ibid., 22, Section 6f. See also National Journal Group Inc., Angola: Children Survive War as Scavengers, Prostitutes, online, UNWire, United Nations Foundation, May 30, 2002, [cited October 3, 2002]; available from http://www.unfoundation.org/unwire//util/display_stories.asp?objid=2898.

[138] Watch List on Children and Armed Conflict, Angola, 10. See also U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report – 2002: Angola, Washington, D.C., June 5, 2002; available from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2002/10679.htm.

[139] Watch List on Children and Armed Conflict, Angola, 10. See also U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report. See also ECPAT International, Angola, ECPAT International, [database online] [cited August 27, 2003 2003]; available from http://www.ecpat.net/eng/Ecpat_inter/projects/monitoring/online_databas….

[140] UN Commission on Human Rights, Preliminary Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, prepared by Katarina Tomasevski, 2001, [cited October 3, 2002]; available from http://www.right-to-education.org/.

[141] U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights, section 5.

[142] World Bank, World Development Indicators 2003.

[143] Government of Angola, MICS2: Angola, 3.

[144] U.S. Embassy-Luanda, unclassified telegram no. 2491, October 2002.

[145] U.S. Department of State official, electronic communication dated February 19, 2004.

[146] República de Angola, Relatório de Seguimento, 16.

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

[148] U.S. Agency for International Development, Angola – Complex Emergency Situation Report #1, Fiscal Year (FY) 2004, Washington, DC, January 7, 2004; available from http://www.usaid.gov/our_work/humanitarian_assistance/disaster_assistan… Angola_CE_SR01_01-07-2004.pdf.

[149] Watch List on Children and Armed Conflict, Angola, 7.

[150] Ibid., 11.

[151] U.S. Embassy-Luanda, unclassified telegram no. 2491, 10.

[152] Ibid.

[153] Ibid.

[154] Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, "Angola," 17. According to UNICEF, only 5 percent of the births in Angola are registered, which causes problems when verifying children's ages for both military recruitment and school enrollment purposes. See UNICEF, A Humanitarian Appeal for Children and Women – Angola, 2001, 2.

[155] U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report.

[156] U.S. Embassy-Luanda, unclassified telegram no. 2491. See also U.S. Department of State official, electronic communication dated February 19, 2004.

[157] U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report.

[158] U.S. Embassy-Luanda, unclassified telegram no. 2491.

[159] Ibid. Angola's primary law concerning child labor comes from Articles 29-31 of the Constitutional Law of 1992, which guarantee protection of the family and children. U.S. Embassy-Luanda, unclassified telegram no. 2685, July 2000.

[160] U.S. Embassy-Luanda, unclassified telegram no. 2491.

[161] U.S. Embassy-Luanda, unclassified telegram no. 2685.

[162] ILO, Ratifications by Country, in ILOLEX, [database online] [cited October 30, 2001]; available from http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/newratframeE.htm.


This 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.