Cablegate: Egypt - Update On Gsp Provisions On the Worst

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A. 04 CAIRO 06563

B. STATE 143552

1. Summary: The Government of Egypt (GOE) continues to make
progress on restricting and regulating child labor. The GOE
and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are working
together to increase awareness of child labor-related issues
and enforcement. Per ref B request, the following
information updates developments in child labor in Egypt
since our last report in August 2004 (ref A). End Summary.

--------------------------------------------- --------------
Laws and regulations proscribing the worst forms of child
labor (Section A)
--------------------------------------------- --------------

2. The Department for Legal Protection of the Child at the
Ministry of Justice is working with the National Council for
Childhood and Motherhood (NCCM) to finalize changes to Child
Law number 12 of 1996 and its executive regulations. The
changes will reflect the UN Convention on the Rights of the
Child (UN CRC) and feedback from the government and NGO
community. The Ministry of Justice initiated during the
reporting period efforts to draft and enact comprehensive
anti-trafficking legislation in accordance with international
standards. The NCCM worked with local NGOs and concerned
government authorities to organize seminars and workshops on
the suggested legal amendments to legislation regulating
children's employment and governing childcare. The NCCM is
coordinating with the Ministry of Education to include the
most important articles of the CRC in schools' curricula.

3. Changes to the Child Law would increase penalties for
child abuse in homes, schools and care institutions, protect
children's privacy and the right to non-discrimination and
allow jail confinement for punishment only in the strictest
of cases after pursuing social channels for child protection
and rehabilitation. The changes would also raise the marrying
age for males and females, guarantee gender equality, raise
the minimum level for child employment to 15, prohibit
engaging in hazardous activities and raise the legal
responsibility for children.

4. While not a matter of law, the Mufti of Egypt (a senior
government-appointed Islamic cleric) publicly stated it is
religiously forbidden to exploit children, especially
underage, in any activity or commercial operation and that
children should only focus on getting a good education. The
Mufti stated children should not be morally, physically or
psychologically abused as this is religiously unacceptable
and is considered sinful for their employers and caretakers.
Such public statements carry great weight and bolster social
and cultural ethics combating child abuse.

--------------------------------------------- --------------
Regulations for the implementation and enforcement of
proscriptions against the worst forms of child labor.
(Section B)
--------------------------------------------- --------------

5. Enforcement of laws barring child labor remains a priority
for the GOE. Several cases involving the enforcement of
child labor-related legislation by the Ministry of Manpower
and Migration (MOMM), the NCCM and the Ministry of Interior
were reported by the local press throughout the reporting
period (August 2004-August 2005). In most reported cases
children were removed from the work environment and legal
action was taken against the employers who were found to be
in violation of child labor-prohibiting legislation. Over
the past year, the local press increasingly reported on
arrests of individuals coercing street children to beg, steal
and work in informal activities and reported on strict
penalties on individuals caught abusing their domestic

6. The NCCM is working with the Ministry of Interior to train
police officers working with juveniles on best practices in
dealing with children at risk and children's rights.

--------------------------------------------- --------------
Whether there are social programs to prevent and withdraw
children from the worst forms of child labor (Section C)
--------------------------------------------- --------------

7. The NCCM established a permanent committee to combat
violence against children, which will have branches in all
governorates. The committees will include representatives
from the Ministries of Interior, Social Affairs, Justice,
Education and Health and representatives from the civil
society and volunteers from the governorates to follow up on
cases of violence and take the necessary measures to reduce
such cases.

8. Projects carried out under the USAID-funded NGO Service
Center were instrumental in carrying out child labor advocacy
and providing direct support to affected children, including
in the governates outside of the capital. In Alexandria, for
example, NGO advocacy resulted in the establishment of a new
unit to provide non-conventional education for school
dropouts and free health services to working children.
Extensive field research was conducted in Qena and Suez with
findings presented to national and local government as well
as the ILO. In Qalubiya Governate, a beneficiary community
development association carried out an extensive advocacy
campaign for the enforcement of child labor laws.

9. The Regional Consultation on the Violence Against Children
study was held in Cairo in June 2005. The study is a United
Nations-led collaboration, mandated by the General Assembly,
to draw together existing research and relevant information
about the forms, causes and impact of violence affecting
children and young people (up to the age of 18 years). The
study will promote ideas for action to prevent and reduce
such violence and to suggest ways in which these might be
strengthened at local, national, and international levels.

10. The MOMM worked with the Ministry of Education to
identify governorates with high dropout rates, and has
increased child labor inspection in those areas. The
Ministry of Education is working with government authorities
to link school attendance with the national identification
system through which Egyptians receive ID numbers. This
linkage would allow the Ministry to identify dropouts and
target areas with high dropout rates.

11. The Minister of Information and the NCCM are cooperating
to increase public awareness on the issue of child labor and
its hazards. Advertisements highlighting the negative impact
of child labor on children, their families and employers are
being aired on national television in addition to printed
advertisements on public buses.

--------------------------------------------- --------------
Does Egypt have a comprehensive policy aimed at the
elimination of the worst forms of child labor (Section D)
--------------------------------------------- --------------

12. The NCCM worked with the MOMM, Egyptian Trade Union
Federation (ETUF), ILO, United Nations Children's Fund
(UNICEF), Ministries of Social Affairs, Agriculture,
Education, Health and Interior to formulate and implement the
national strategy to combat child labor and eliminate the
worst forms of child labor. Several meetings headed by
Egyptian First Lady Suzanne Mubarak were organized by the
NCCM during the reporting period to discuss issues related to
child protection generally, and child labor specifically, and
were attended for the first time by the Egyptian Prime
Minister. The high-level involvement in child-related issues
lends importance and political weight to the enforcement and
speed at which policies and projects are implemented.

13. The NCCM used in the formulation of the strategy results
of a national survey conducted in 2001 by the Central Agency
for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) on child
labor in Egypt. The NCCM was expected to announce results of
the national survey in a ceremony under the auspices of the
Egyptian First Lady in 2003. Although the ceremony was not
held, results of the survey were finally publicized at the
end of 2004 on the website of the NCCM The NCCM used the results of
the survey to target four governorates, including Sharkia,
Menofia, Menia and Damietta, found to have the highest rate
of the worst forms of child labor, to set up social and
economic projects to remove working children into
non-hazardous activities. The projects aim at gradually
eliminating all forms of child labor.

--------------------------------------------- --------------
Is Egypt making continual progress toward eliminating the
worst forms of child labor (Section E)
--------------------------------------------- --------------

13. Many challenges remain, but the GOE is making progress
toward eliminating the worst forms of child labor. The NCCM
continued to organize a series of workshops for children,
youth, government and NGO representatives to raise awareness
of the UN CRC and is preparing Egypt's third report on its
progress in the implementation of the UN CRC and is
discussing the report with concerned parties in government
and the the NGO community in the governorates. The MOMM
organized awareness-raising workshops and seminars in all 26
governorates on the negative impact of employing children in
hazardous and non-hazardous activities, legislation
prohibiting child labor and problems obstructing the
enforcement of child labor regulations.

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