To make a child work is to rob him of his childhood. It violates his right to education and personal fulfillment. To eradicate child labor, a draft decree is thus finished in the walls of the State.
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A draft decree to eradicate child labor
Eradicate child labor. This is the ultimate goal of the draft decree drafted by the Government, the International Labor Office (ILO) and civil society organizations. This project, currently under completion, should soon be part of the agenda of the Governing Council. This decree differs from the old law in highlighting the list of dangerous work for children and the Worst Forms of Child Labor. Highlighting required by the ILO Convention C. 182 ratified by the Malagasy Government. Dangerous works, which concern all activities that may threaten the physical development of any child from 5 to 17 years old. Worst Forms of Child Labor are divided into five (5) categories. Worst Forms of Child Labor are defined as any activity of children meeting the following conditions:
– Work endangering the physical or moral health of the child
– Sexual exploitation of children for commercial purposes
– Work in mines and quarries
– Domestic work
– Unhealthy work.
As an illustration, according to the ILO, children in the mining sector suffer from respiratory problems and diseases such as diarrhea and malaria. They are also at mortal risk in mine collapses.
« Children, some as young as 15 years old, mine up to 15 meters deep and take plastic bags with air to breathe, » said the ILO and the report of the US Embassy of 12 January 2017.
Most of the children involved in gold mining and sapphire are in the Analamanga, Anosy, Ilakaka and Vakinankaratra regions, reports the ILO as well. Other equally dangerous and blatant cases have been noted for several years. According to a survey conducted by the ILO in 2012, 28% of children aged 5 to 17 are working. According to data from Unesco in 2016, 22.1% of children aged 5 to 14 are working as adults, 69.1% are enrolled in school, 15.4% combine work and school, and the completion rate of primary school is 69.3%. No child labor sanctions have ever been imposed since 2014, either on employers and companies, formal or informal, or on individuals. The Ministry of Civil Service, the CNIDH and the ILO explain the causes.
Child labor: the struggle difficult to lead
The penalties that may be imposed on the employer of a child are contained in the Labor Code, Article 261. The employer is liable to prosecution in cases such as the employment of a child below the legal minimum age, overtime, night work, etc. These transgressions may be punishable by a fine of 1 million Ariary to 3 million Ariary or three years in prison. Other forms of much more serious transgressions such as refusal of payment, sexual exploitation and others also deserve greater penalties. However, in fact, the sanctions are almost non-existent because the evidence and the denunciations are also non-existent. According to ILO explanations to this day at the child labor conference at the American Center Tanjombato, this is primarily due to the lack of evidence and lack of the spirit of denunciation in Malagasy culture. In one year, Police of morals and protection of minors (PMPM) investigated 777 complaints that children were victims of crimes such as rape or violence. Of these cases, 41 were identified as child labor related in the domestic field, but the authorities did not gather enough evidence to determine the truth of the facts. Second, it must be emphasized that many children work under the agreement of their parents and relatives. This is the case of young prostitutes and stone breakers. The report of the US Embassy on February 10, 2016, also highlights the lack of trained personnel, equipment and transportation to effectively carry out the law enforcement efforts related to the Worst Forms of Child Labor. Fourth, institutions and organizations working in child protection are not decentralized enough. Finally, on the legal side, « gaps in labor law and criminal law enforcement persist and some information on the application of the law is not available, » the ILO said.
Moderate progress for Madagascar
Madagascar, however, has made moderate progress towards the elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor. The government has increased the number of child labor inspectors from 4 to 15. A study with Unicef has been launched to assess the violence and exploitation of children in Madagascar, and extended the application of the Code of Conduct for the protection of children in the tourism industry. The state has also continued to participate in a number of programs targeting the Worst Forms of Child Labor. However, in Madagascar, children still carry out dangerous activities in unprotected sectors such as agriculture, the vanilla industry, fishing, deep diving, which are activities done mostly in rural areas. On the other hand, the existence of many informal societies also promotes child labor.