Search

 

Cablegate: Cote D'ivoire's Update On the Worst Forms of Child

VZCZCXRO9850
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHAB #1219/01 3461241
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 121241Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY ABIDJAN
TO RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3818
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0600
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ABIDJAN 001219

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR FOR ILAB TINA MCCARTER
STATE PASS TO USTR
STATE FOR DRL TU DENG

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB EIND ETRD PHUM SOCI IV
SUBJECT: COTE D'IVOIRE'S UPDATE ON THE WORST FORMS OF CHILD
LABOR

REF: A. SECSTATE 149662

B. ABIDJAN 1180
C. ABIDJAN 1084

1. (U) Per reftel instructions, Post submits the following
updated information on the elimination of the worst forms of
child labor (WFCL) in Cote d'Ivoire. POC for this report is
Economic Chief Ervin Massinga.

A) Laws and Regulations Proscribing the Worst Forms of Child
Labor
---------
2. (U) Ivorian laws concerning WFCL have not changed since
2005, when the National Assembly's constitutional mandate
expired. Since then, the country has depended on
Presidential and Prime Ministerial decrees for new
legislation, but this approach has not permitted many new
legislative projects, and no new labor or trafficking in
persons-related decrees have been promulgated since 2005.

3. (U) Ivorian law continues to set the minimum age for
employment at 14 years. However, this law applies to the
formal workplace, and not to the millions of small farms and
informal businesses in rural and urban areas. Forced and
compulsory labor continues to be prohibited under a 2005
governmental decree, as is hazardous work for persons under
the age of 18. The minimum age for recruitment into the
armed forces is 18; in 2007, for the first time, both the
armed forces of the state of Cote d'Ivoire and the armed
opposition "New Forces" have refrained from forcibly
recruiting underage persons.

4. (U) The government has improved its enforcement of child
trafficking laws. It continues to set up village-level watch
committees as part of a child labor trafficking monitoring
system.

B) Regulations for the Implementation and Enforcement of
Prescriptions Against the Worst Forms of Child Labor
----------
5. (U) The government's Child Labor Task Force is
implementing a national action plan to combat child labor and
trafficking (reftel a). Nine government ministries are
involved in the effort. The Ministry of Family and Social
Affairs continues to conduct awareness campaigns targeting
children at risk and agricultural regions that employ child
labor, working in coordination with several international
NGOs.

6. (U) Laws applying to child traffickers have not changed.
While the law does not specifically prohibit trafficking in
persons, traffickers may be prosecuted for kidnapping,
mistreatment and/or torture of children. Punishments for
such crimes range from one to five years imprisonment.
"Alienation of a person's freedom" is punishable by five to
ten years in prison, with the maximum penalty if the victim
is under 15. Anyone found to have left or taken another
person as a form of financial guarantee can be punished with
a prison sentence of five years, and if someone is forced to
perform labor against his/her will, the penalty is one to
five years in prison.

7. Enforcement of such laws continues to be hindered.
Budgeted resources devoted to programs are small, and
international donors assistance levels are higher than those
of the government itself. However, there are indications
that training efforts by the government, often facilitated by
resources provided by international donors, are having an
effect. Local law enforcement officials and border police
are reporting more successes in uncovering cross-border
efforts to traffic children and are disrupting the associated
trafficking networks. The government does not publish a
comprehensive list or study of trafficking cases detected and
prosecutions; news of such cases are reported through the
press.

C) Social Programs Designed to Prevent and Withdraw Children
from the Worst Forms of Child Labor
----------
8. (U) The government of Cote d'Ivoire cooperates with
ILO-IPEC on the six-year, USD 9.25 million regional LUTRENA
project designed to combat the trafficking of children for
exploitative labor in West and Central Africa. The project
aims to withdraw and prevent 9,000 children from trafficking
situations in the region. Additional funding to the LUTRENA

ABIDJAN 00001219 002 OF 002


project for Cote d'Ivoire specifically has aided the National
Committee for Combating Trafficking and Child Exploitation,
which has been in the lead in implementing programs in the
field to detect trafficking of children.

9. (U) USAID and the international cocoa industry fund the
Sustainable Tree Crops Program in Cote d'Ivoire. This
public/private partnership promotes farmer education against
using WFCL. Germany's development agency GTZ, along with a
number of NGOs and corporations working independently, also
have substantial programs designed to sensitize communities
concerning WFCL. A group of international cocoa firms
working together conducted a campaign in April that involved
holding workshops to explain the damage done by WFCL; 11,500
cocoa farmers attended.

D) Comprehensive Policy Aimed at the Elimination of the Worst
Forms of Child Labor
----------
10. (U) The government is in the midst of developing and
implementing a nationwide program to monitor and combat the
use of WFCL in at least 50 percent of the country, as
outlined under the Harkin-Engle Protocol. The National Child
Labor Task Force published a preliminary diagnostic plan
(reftel c) which found 22 percent of children in a test area
within the cocoa-growing regions are involved in cocoa
production, and a majority of them (over 80 percent) are
subjected to at least one form of WFCL (overwhelmingly
carrying heavy loads). This finding is in line with previous
reports on the subject.

11. (U) The Ministry of Labor has produced a National Plan
of Action to combat WFCL (reftel b). The plan identifies a
series of steps that must be accomplished, including
strengthening the capacity of judges and law enforcement,
reinforcing preventative action (sensitization campaigns) and
the development of a plan to remove children from
environments in which they are subjected to WFCL. The plan
is budgeted at USD 7.2 million and aims to reduce the overall
incidence of child labor (including but not exclusively WFCL)
by 2011.

12. (U) The National Plan of Action and pilot diagnostic
were published in September and November 30, 2007
respectively. The pilot diagnostic should be scaled up
during the cocoa-harvest (December-March) to include 50
percent of the country's cocoa growing regions, and a
complete diagnostic is to be published in the spring of 2008.

13. (U) Education is free through secondary school, but is
not mandatory. In practice, however, school books, uniforms
and lunch fees make schooling cost-prohibitive for many poor
families.

E) Is Cote d'Ivoire Making Continual Progress Towards
Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor?
---------
14. (U) The most recent comprehensive surveys continue to
be ones performed in 2002 and 2003. A preliminary study of
efforts to monitor and eliminate WFCL, done by Tulane
University's Payson Center (under a grant from the DOL)
provided a partial snapshot of the multiple efforts to assess
and end WFCL. In its preliminary report, the Payson Center
found that the objective of certifying the cocoa industry as
entirely free of WFCL unrealistic, given the 1-2 million
small family cocoa farms involved in cocoa productions, the
poverty of their owners, and the social acceptance of
children working with or alongside their parents and other
relatives.

15. (U) Anecdotal evidence from a number of U.S. and
international NGOs indicate that sensitization efforts are
having an impact. Farmers are aware of the deleterious
effects of WFCL on children, and the incidence of such labor,
aside from carrying heavy loads (which approximately 90
percent of children working in the cocoa industry do), is
under 20 percent.
NESBITT

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Ramzy Baroud: Year in Review Will 2018 Usher in a New Palestinian Strategy

2017 will be remembered as the year that the so-called ‘peace process’, at least in its American formulation, has ended. And with its demise, a political framework that has served as the foundation for US foreign policy in the Middle East has also collapsed. More>>

ALSO:


North Korea: NZ Denounces Missile Test

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has denounced North Korea’s latest ballistic missile test. The test, which took place this morning, is North Korea’s third test flight of an inter-continental ballistic missile. More>>

ALSO:

Campbell On: the US demonising of Iran

Satan may not exist, but the Evil One has always been a handy tool for priests and politicians alike.

Currently, Iran is the latest bogey conjured up by Washington to (a) justify its foreign policy interventions and (b) distract attention from its foreign policy failures.

Once upon a time, the Soviet Union was the nightmare threat for the entire Cold War era – and since then the US has cast the Taliban, al Qaeda, and Islamic State in the same demonic role. Iran is now the latest example…More


Catalan Independence:
Pro-independence parties appear to have a narrow majority. More>>