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06KYIV4542, UKRAINE: UPDATE OF CHILD LABOR INFORMATION FOR TDA

December 13, 2006

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06KYIV4542 2006-12-13 13:03 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKV #4542/01 3471303
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 131303Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0689
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC
INFO RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0024

UNCLAS KYIV 004542 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT OF LABOR FOR DOL/ILAB - TMCCARTER 
STATE FOR DRL/IL (TDANG) AND EUR/UMB (BWOLF) 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ELAB EIND ETRD PHUM UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: UPDATE OF CHILD LABOR INFORMATION FOR TDA 
REPORT 
 
REF: STATE 184972 
 
1. As requested reftel, below Post provides updated 
information on child labor in Ukraine, for use in the 
preparation of the 2006 report Findings on the Worst Forms 
of Child Labor.  Post has chosen to answer each of the 
questions posed in reftel as "Indicators" under the five 
topical headings. 
 
2. Post will also send this information via email to USDOL 
POC Tina McCarter.  Post's POC is Christian Yarnell, 
Economic Officer - Email: yarnellc@state.gov; Phone: 011- 
380-44-490-4276; Fax: 011-380-44-490-4277). 
 
3. Begin Text: 
 
A) Laws and regulations proscribing the worst forms of 
child labor 
 
QUESTION: What laws and regulations have been promulgated 
on child labor, such as minimum age(s) for employment or 
hazardous forms of work?  If there is a minimum age for 
employment, is that age consistent with the age for 
completing educational requirements?  Are there exceptions 
to the minimum age law? 
 
ANSWER: Ukraine's Labor Code sets 16 as the minimum age for 
employment, although as of 15 adolescents may engage in 
"light work" with their parents' consent.  The law does 
not, however, clearly define the term "light work."  In 
addition, children aged 14 can legally do some forms of 
agricultural and social work on a short-term basis, with 
the consent of one parent. 
 
QUESTION: Do the country's laws define the worst forms of 
child labor or hazardous work as the ILO defines those 
terms?  If the country has ratified Convention 182, has it 
developed a list of occupations considered to be worst 
forms of child labor, as called for in article 4 of the 
Convention? 
 
ANSWER: In February 2005, Ukraine's Parliament passed an 
amendment to the law "On Childhood Protection," which now 
provides the primary legal framework for combating child 
labor.  Article 21 of this law forbids the "involvement of 
children in the worst forms of child labor" and defines the 
"worst forms of child labor" in line with ILO Convention 
182.  Ukraine ratified ILO Convention 182 on December 14, 
2000.  The law "On Childhood Protection" provides a list of 
occupations considered among the worst forms of child 
labor. 
 
B) Regulations for implementation and enforcement of 
proscriptions against the worst forms of child labor 
 
QUESTION: Has the government designated an authority to 
implement and enforce child labor laws? 
 
ANSWER: Yes.  The State Labor Inspectorate (full name: 
State Department of Surveillance over Labor Legislation 
Observance) under the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy 
is responsible for implementing and enforcing child labor 
laws in the formal sector.  In the informal sector, this 
responsibility falls to the Department of Juvenile Affairs 
(under the Ministry of Family, Youth, and Sport) and the 
Criminal Police (under the Ministry of Internal Affairs). 
 
According to the ILO's International Program on the 
Elimination of Child Labor (IPEC), child labor in Ukraine 
exists most often in the informal sector, where the 
activities children are engaged in are themselves illegal. 
Common examples include sex services, pornography, and 
unsanctioned coal mining.  In such cases, law enforcement 
agencies usually take the lead and seek prosecution of 
those responsible for the illegal activity and illegal 
hiring of children. 
 
QUESTION: What legal remedies are available to government 
agencies that enforce child labor laws (criminal penalties, 
civil fines, court orders), and are they adequate to punish 
and deter violations? 
 
ANSWER: According to Article 150 of Ukraine's Criminal 
Code, the unlawful employment of an underage child carries 
a sentence of up to six months imprisonment, or judicial 
restraint for up to three years, along with restrictions 
for up to three years on the right to occupy certain 
 
positions and conduct certain business activities.  A 
stiffer sentence of imprisonment from two to five years is 
possible if multiple underage children are involved, if the 
offender causes considerable damage to the health or 
physical condition of the child, or if the work involves 
some kind of hazardous production.  In addition, Article 
304 of the Criminal Code allows for imprisonment, or 
judicial restraint, for a term up to three years for the 
involvement of adolescents under 18 into criminal activity, 
drunkenness, begging, or gambling. 
 
QUESTION: To what extent are complaints investigated and 
violations addressed? 
 
ANSWER: The government investigates complaints and attempts 
to address violations, although incidents of child labor 
remain.  Ukraine's system of labor inspections is split 
among three different bodies -- the State Labor Inspectorate 
(under the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy), the State 
Committee for Industrial Safety, Occupational Health and 
Mining Supervision, and the State Committee on Occupational 
Hygiene (under the Ministr
y of Health).  Better integration 
of the inspection function would likely improve the 
government's ability to combat child labor; the ILO has 
encouraged the GOU to pursue such integration.  Some legal 
restrictions also constrain labor inspectors in their 
efforts to combat child labor.  For example, labor 
inspectors cannot investigate cases on private, household 
farms, where child labor can in fact be quite common. 
 
Violators of child labor laws in the formal sector usually 
face only small administrative fines, and punishments do 
not constitute a serious deterrent.  Legal employers are 
generally more visible, however, and therefore easier for 
the government to monitor.  Employers of children who 
engage in criminal activities routinely face criminal 
prosecution when discovered.  The majority of incidents of 
child labor occur in the informal or illegal sector. 
 
QUESTION: What level of resources does the government 
devote to investigating child labor cases throughout the 
country?  How many inspectors does the government employ to 
address child labor issues?  How many child labor 
investigations have been conducted over the past year?  How 
many have resulted in fines, penalties, or convictions? 
 
ANSWER: Investigating child labor abuses is part of the 
State Labor Inspectorate's broader enforcement of labor 
laws, and there are no inspectors devoted solely to child 
labor.  During inspections in 2005, the State Labor 
Inspectorate found 1865 cases in which adolescents under 18 
years old were working.  Inspectors passed 68 cases to law 
enforcement bodies to pursue criminal prosecution. 
Authorities filed administrative charges with the courts in 
234 cases.  Information on how these cases concluded is not 
available.  Thirty-one employers faced administrative 
liability for refusal to cooperate with labor inspectors. 
 
QUESTION: Has the government provided awareness raising 
and/or training activities for officials charged with 
enforcing child labor laws? 
 
ANSWER: No, the government has not provided such training. 
 
C) Whether there are social programs to prevent and 
withdraw children from the worst forms of child labor 
 
QUESTION: What initiatives has the government supported to 
prevent children from entering exploitive work situations, 
to withdraw children engaged in such labor, and to advocate 
on behalf of children involved in such employment and their 
families?  If possible, please provide information on 
funding levels for such initiatives. 
 
ANSWER: The President of Ukraine issued a Decree "On 
Priority Measures to Protect Children's Rights" on July 11, 
2005.  The government of Ukraine subsequently developed a 
series of policy initiatives to implement the President's 
goals.  Among these initiatives are the following: 
 
-- The Decree "On the Statute of SOS-Children Village," 
issued on March 15, 2006, establishes a specialized non- 
for-profit organization, under the supervision of the 
Department of Juvenile Affairs, which seeks to provide 
disadvantaged children with life skills and educational 
opportunities within a family environment. 
 
-- "The State Program on Family Support for 2006-2010" was 
approved by the Government on May 11, 2006. It acknowledges 
the increasing number of street children and the high level 
of child neglect.  The initiative sets a minimum level of 
financial assistance for vulnerable families.  It also 
carries provisions for psychological support, and to carry 
out broad public awareness campaigns on family values and 
healthy lifestyles. 
 
-- "The State Program on Reforming the Boarding System for 
Children-Orphans and Children, Deprived of Parental Care," 
approved on May 11, 2006, seeks to restructure the nation's 
boarding schools, and to promote foster care and other 
alternative models of child care. 
 
-- "The State Program on Education Development for 2006- 
2010," approved on July 12, 2006, aims to reform the 
Ukrainian education system along European lines.  It 
supports improved education in rural areas and for children 
lacking parental care. 
 
-- The government amended the "Regulation On Setting and 
Payment of State Allowances for Families with Children" on 
August 1, 2006 to provide single-parent families with state 
allowances for children, up to 23 years of age, studying in 
institutions of higher education.  The state previously 
provided such assistance for children only up to 18 years 
of age. 
 
QUESTION: Does the government support programs to promote 
children's access to schooling and to enhance the quality 
and relevance of schooling?  If possible, please provide 
information on funding levels for primary and secondary 
education as opposed to tertiary education. 
 
ANSWER: The Ministry of Education and Science takes the 
lead in developing and implementing programs to support 
access to schooling.  In particular, the Ministry publishes 
and supplies free manuals for schools, provides busing for 
children in rural areas, and supports teachers in rural 
schools through initiatives to provide teachers with 
housing and supplemental wages.  The state budget allocated 
UAH 8.02 billion (USD 1.59 billion) for primary/secondary 
education (Grades 1-10) during the first seven months of 
2006, and UAH 10.93 billion (USD 2.17 billion) in 2005. 
 
QUESTION: Does the government provide support to vocational 
programs for older children that can serve as an 
alternative to work? 
 
ANSWER: Yes.  The Public Employment Service operates a 
vocational training program for unemployed youth who are 
outside the education system.  In collaboration with the 
Ministry of Education and Science, the Public Employment 
Service also conducts job counseling and vocational 
reorientation activities to meet current labor market 
demands. 
 
QUESTION: Do the country's laws/regulations call for 
universal or compulsory education?  Are these requirements 
enforced? 
 
ANSWER: Ukraine's Constitution calls for universal 
education, and authorities generally enforce this 
requirement.  However, financial constraints deprive some 
children of access to education (see below). 
 
QUESTION: Is education free or are fees charged for 
attendance, books, supplies, or transportation? 
 
ANSWER: Public education is free, but students are 
sometimes expected to cover their own expenses for books, 
supplies (including school uniforms), and transportation. 
These expenses can be quite costly for poorer Ukrainian 
families and can, in rare cases, prevent some children from 
attending school.  Transportation can be a particularly 
difficult impediment; the state's ability to provide buses 
in some school districts, particularly those between small 
villages, is limited by budgetary constraints. 
 
D) Does the country have a comprehensive policy aimed at 
the elimination of the worst forms of child labor? 
 
QUESTION: Does the country have a comprehensive policy or 
national program of action on child labor?  If so, to what 
degree has the country implemented the policy and/or 
program of action and ac
hieved its goals and objectives? 
 
 
ANSWER: Through the 2005 Decree "On Priority Measures to 
Protect Children's Rights," the President empowered the 
Government to draft a National Action Plan (NAP) for the 
period 2006-2016 aimed at the effective implementation of 
the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as a 
National Program to Combat Child Homelessness for the 
period of 2006-2010.  The NAP, approved on April 22, 2006, 
tracks closely with the UN Convention on the Rights of the 
Child.  The draft NAP also outlines an improved Child Labor 
Monitoring System.  The NAP is currently under 
Parliamentary review and, if passed as a law by Parliament, 
would guarantee consistent state budget funding for the 
protection of the rights of children. 
 
The 2005 Presidential Decree also requested the Ministry of 
Justice to examine and improve the juvenile justice system. 
The Ministry of Interior, meanwhile, was tasked to improve 
efforts to locate missing children, better identify 
individuals who involve children in illicit activities 
(begging, prostitution, etc.), and bring these individuals 
to justice. 
 
QUESTION: Has the government made a public 
statement/commitment to eradicate the worst forms of child 
labor? 
 
ANSWER: President Viktor Yushchenko has made the 
elimination of the worst forms of child labor a government 
priority since taking office in 2005. 
 
E) Is the country making continual progress toward 
eliminating the worst forms of child labor? 
 
QUESTION: What is the child labor situation in the country 
(nature and magnitude), and how has it changed over the 
past year?  Please provide source information or copies of 
data, estimates, and reports on the sectors/occupations in 
which child labor is found. 
 
ANSWER: As established by the Constitution of Ukraine, 
child labor has been and remains formally prohibited. 
However, it has always existed, and was an integral part of 
the Soviet educational system, considered valuable 
experience in preparing children for the workplace.  Under 
the relatively stable, planned Soviet economy, child labor 
did not have an overly destructive impact on children 
because it was overseen by national education bodies and 
was considered to be a means of education rather than 
family subsistence.  The situation changed dramatically 
after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Ukrainian 
economy, however, when child labor as a large scale social 
and economic problem took on new dimensions.  The collapse 
of the economic system fostered the emergence of a large 
shadow economy in which child labor is widely used.  Petty 
commerce appears to be the most common occupation in which 
children are engaged, as approximately one third of working 
children sell products on the streets or in unofficial 
markets.  Poverty became the primary driving force for 
child labor, and general social disorder rendered children 
unprotected, particularly in relation to the employer. 
-- Source: National Program for the Prevention and 
Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor in Ukraine: 
Independent Evaluation, April 2006, p.47 
 
The government has made progress in combating child labor 
in recent years, but substantial work remains.  The 
majority of local government agencies, as well as some 
central government bodies, lack awareness, commitment, and 
capacity to plan and implement interventions to combat 
child labor.  In addition, Ukrainian society has only 
recently begun to recognize the existence of child labor 
and associated problems.  Broad societal support, strong 
and consistent political commitment, as well as support 
from a wide range of government agencies still need be 
ensured.  Institutional capacity also needs to be 
strengthened, both in substantive (child labor related 
knowledge and methodology) and technical (program 
management capacity and resource mobilization) areas.  That 
said, the government's recent efforts to combat child 
labor, and its cooperation with the ILO on this issue, have 
been a very positive step. 
-- Source: National Program for the Prevention and 
Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor in Ukraine: 
Independent Evaluation, April 2006, p.31 
 
End Text. 
 
 
GWALTNEY

Wikileaks

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