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Cablegate: Update for Worst Forms of Child Labor Report -

VZCZCXRO7689
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSB #1475/01 3521255
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 181255Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0928
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1402
RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1257
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1406
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0136
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0667
RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1032
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1460
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 3853
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1229
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 1882
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0608
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1622

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 001475

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

AF/S FOR S.HILL
DRL/IL FOR TU DANG
STATE PASS TO DOL/ILAB FOR TINA MCCARTER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM ELAB ZI
SUBJECT: UPDATE FOR WORST FORMS OF CHILD LABOR REPORT -
ZIMBABWE

REF: A. STATE 184972
B. 05 HARARE 01310

-------
Summary
-------

1. (U) In 2006, Zimbabwe endured the seventh straight year
of economic contraction. According to NGOs and labor groups,
the incidence of child labor has continued to increase as a
result of declining economic and social conditions, which
have made children more susceptible to the exploitative forms
of child labor. The GOZ did not promulgate any new child
labor laws or regulations in the past year. The ongoing
economic crisis severely impeded the government's ability to
address its child labor problems. Several international
donors, however, provided multi-year funding to support
social programs. According to a government study, poverty
was the leading reason for children leaving school and
seeking work. Post to provide research material to DOL ILAB
via pouch. End Summary.

--------------------------------------------- --------
Poor Economic & Social Conditions Lead to Child Labor
--------------------------------------------- --------

3. (U) The country is now in its seventh year of steep
economic decline. According to the IMF, GDP dropped 5
percent in 2006, inflation had reached 2000 percent by year's
end, and unemployment in the formal sector was estimated at
over 70 percent. According to a December 6 IRIN news
article, a government survey found that between 1995 and
2003, more than 63 percent of the rural population, and 53
percent of the urban population, were unable to afford both
basic and non-food requirements. Meanwhile, one prominent
local economist estimated that over 80 percent of Zimbabweans
lived below the poverty datum line (PDL), which calculates
the minimum required for a family of six to pay basic
expenses.

4. (U) NGOs and labor groups consulted indicated that the
patterns and concerns identified last year remain. In
particular, they noted increasing levels of child labor as a
result of the worsening economic conditions. An article in
the government-controlled Daily Mirror on November 28 quoted
Gertrude Hambira, secretary general of The General
Agricultural and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe
(GAPWUZ), as saying that child labor "was rampant on farms,"
as worker's wages were insufficient to support a family and
children were seeking work to help supplement the family's
income. GAPWUZ estimated that of the approximately 200
thousand farm workers in the country, 10 percent were
children below the age of 16.

5. (U) UNICEF reported that Zimbabwe now has the highest
number of orphans in the world due to its severe HIV/AIDS
pandemic. According to UNICEF, approximately 1.6 million
children in Zimbabwe are now orphaned, having lost at least
one parent, and the number is growing. A July 4 article in
the state-run Daily Mirror quoted Moreblessing Kwangware,
spokesperson for Zimbabwe National Council for the Welfare of
Children, as saying that "as long as (Zimbabwe has) the
prevalence of HIV/AIDs and the difficult economic conditions,
(it) will always fight a losing war against child labor."

--------------------------------------------- --------------
Government's Safety Net Remains Inadequate and Under-Funded
--------------------------------------------- --------------

6. (SBU) There were no changes to Zimbabwe's child labor laws
or enforcement mechanisms in the past year. The GOZ is

HARARE 00001475 002 OF 002


making efforts to address children's issues through social
programs. However, without resources of its own, it is
obliged to seek assistance from other governments,
international organizations and NGOs. UNICEF is managing a
"pooled funding mechanism" for the "Project of Support,"
which provides funding to social welfare programs such as the
National Action Plan for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (NAP
for OVC). To date, the project has received US$6 million
(over 4 years) from the Swedish International Development
Agency (SIDA), US$40 million (over 4 years) from the British
Department for International Development (DFID), and US$440
thousand from the New Zealand Agency for International
Development (AID). Additionally, Germany has pledged US$22
million and the European Commission has pledged $US2 million.
USAID gave US$1.6 million for work that supports the NAP for
OVC in 2006, and will increase that to US$2.6 million in 2007.

7. (U) The International Labor Organization (ILO), UNICEF and
International Organization for Migration (IOM) are reportedly
meeting in the near future with The Ministry of Public
Service, Labor, and Social Welfare to discuss child labor
issues and the implementation of ILO Convention 182,
including drafting a list of occupations that qualify as the
worst forms of child labor. For its part, the public service
ministry continues to provide school fees and books through
its Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) and Children in
Difficult Circumstances (CDC) programs. Several child
welfare advocacy groups, however, reported that BEAM and
other government programs focusing on children were still
severely under-funded given the level of need, and the
government often used access to such programs as a political
tool to reward supporters.

---------------------------------
Government Study Finally Released
---------------------------------

8. (U) In March the CSO finally released the child labor
survey completed by the GOZ in December 2004. The survey
found that 42 percent (2,683,393) of children ages 5 to 14 in
Zimbabwe were involved in economic activity and 16 percent
(423,880) of the same age group were involved in economic
child labor in 2004. The study also found that 95.8 percent
of these children were employed in the agriculture, hunting
and fishing sector, with the remainder working as domestic
employees or in the hotel and restaurant, manufacturing,
construction and mining industries. A quick comparison with
the 1999 CSO study shows that child labor is on the increase.

9. (U) The CSO study also looked at school attendance.
According to the 2004 figures, 81.2 percent of children ages
5 to 17 were attending school and 10.6 percent had left
school. The study stated that "primary school was compulsory
for every school age child" (Note: but not free) and that it
was the duty of the parent to ensure attendance. The most
frequent reason given for leaving school was financial
constraint.

10. (U) According to UNICEF's 2006 State of the World's
Children report, Zimbabwe had 80 percent net primary school
enrollment in 2004; however, children's welfare activists
believe this number to be much lower now due to Operation
Restore Order and the resulting displacement of thousands of
children from their homes and schools (Reftel B). The Child
Protection Society told us that girls were more likely to
leave school than boys because girls were more readily
employable, especially as domestic workers.

11. (U) Post will provide DOL ILAB with a copy of the CSO
child labor study and other reference materials via pouch.
SCHULTZ

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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