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Cablegate: Drc: 2007 Worst Forms of Child Labor

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RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKI #0611 2071059
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 251059Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTAT WASHDC 8228
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC
INFO RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2173
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC

UNCLAS KINSHASA 000611

SIPDIS

PASS TO DOL/ILAB (TMCCARTER)
DEPT FOR DRL/IL (TDANG)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB EINV ETRD EAID PHUM SOCI CG

SUBJECT: DRC: 2007 WORST FORMS OF CHILD LABOR

REF: 07 SECSTATE 149662

1. (U) Summary. The GDRC needs to make greater progress in
combating the worst forms of child labor, as reflected by
information that has been obtained for the first year of the new
government. The Ministry of Labor is responsible for enforcing
child labor laws, but lacks the necessary capacity and resources to
do so. End Summary.

CHILD LABOR LAWS AND REGULATIONS IN THE DRC
-------------------------------------------

2. (U) The GDRC created the National Committee to Combat the Worst
Forms of Child Labor (NCCL) in June 2006, but is still unable to
carry out its mandate. The Committee's goals are to develop and
assure the implementation of a national strategy to eliminate the
worst forms of child labor.

APPLICATION AND ENFORCEMENT OF LAWS
-----------------------------------

3. (U) Child labor law enforcement remains inadequate, particularly
in the mining sector. Children work illegally as artisanal miners
and in other informal sectors. (See also Post's 2007 Human Rights
Report.) Increasing industrialization in the extractive industries
sector will likely focus public attention and scrutiny on reducing
the number of children working in this sector. The government's
capacity and willingness to meaningfully participate in such efforts
are unclear, and many firms operating in the sector, including
Chinese and Indian-owned operations, have thus far shown little
inclination to promote compliance with child labor laws. (Note: A
USAID contractor has entered into a partnership with select
international mining firms - so far only in Katanga province - that
have committed themselves to reducing the number of child miners in
the DRC. End note.)

4. (U) The DRC's Ministry of Labor remains the responsible body for
investigating child labor abuses, but there is no dedicated child
labor inspection service. NGO's continued to pressure the Ministry
of Labor to focus on this problem, with few or no results.

5. (U) The DRC's criminal courts will continue to hear child labor
complaints until the NCCL forms. NGO's and the ILO have reportedly
been active in pushing prosecutors to bring cases against violators
of child labor laws.

RELATED POLICIES AND PROGRAMS
-----------------------------

6. (U) The GDRC continued to demobilize child soldiers in 2007
through the disarmament, demobilization and reinsertion (DDR)
program. The reduction of funding specifically available for child
demobilization has almost certainly resulted in a decrease of the
number of NGO's focusing on this process. UNICEF estimates that
11,000 children still need to be demobilized, while the UNDP's
estimates are more than twice that figure.

7. (U) The relatively high financial costs and loss of potential
income for education continue to push children into the informal
labor sector, because many parents are unable to simultaneously pay
school fees and give up the income their children may earn to help
support the family. For budgetary and political reasons, the
Ministry of Education has been unable to implement plans, announced
in 2005, to fund teachers' salaries, an action that would have
eliminated, at least in theory, the need for parents to pay the
teachers. The USG continues to support programs to reduce the
educational gap between boys and girls and to increase school
attendance.

COMMENT AND PROGRESS REPORT
---------------------------

8. (U) We have not observed major progress by the GDRC in combating
child labor since 2006. Enforcement continues to be lax due to
institutionalized corruption and bureaucratic disorganization.
Child labor, especially in the artisanal mining sector, is likely to
remain a significant challenge for the new government.

GARVELINK

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