With the support of the ILO, Mauritania bans hazardous child labour

In the framework of the MAP'16 project implemented in Mauritania and financed by USDOL (US Department of Labor) and in accordance with the provisions of ILO Convention 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour, the Mauritanian Ministry of Public Service and Labour decreed a law listing the dangerous work (LTD) prohibited to children

News | 26 January 2022
Child labour is harmful to a child's body, mind and education because it is done at a very early age or in unsafe conditions, or because it prevents a child from going to school and damages his or her long-term prospects.

The number of children in child labour stands at 160 million worldwide - an increase of 8.4 million over the past four years - and millions more are at risk from the effects of VOC-19, according to a report by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and UNICEF.

In Mauritania, child labour affects nearly 24,516 children aged 5 to 17, or 37.6% according to the 2015 MICS Mauritania Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, of whom 26.3% work in hazardous conditions. The prevalence of child labour is higher in rural areas (45%) than in urban areas (27%).

Since 2001, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania has been committed to combating child labour, in particular through the ratification of the two specific conventions of the International Labour Organisation relating to child labour, namely Conventions 138 and 182, respectively on the minimum age for admission to employment and on the worst forms of child labour.

The Ministry of the Civil Service and Labour, with the support of the International Labour Office (ILO), has drawn up the National Plan of Action for the Elimination of Child Labour in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania (PANETE-RIM). As part of its implementation, the social partners, with the support of a consultant, drew up a list of dangerous jobs prohibited to children.

The ILO has therefore supported its tripartite partners in Mauritania through its MAP'16 project to develop the process leading to the promulgation of this ministerial order.

The support was structured around 6 key stages:
  1. Support for the launch of the LTD development process with all the ILO's tripartite partners. This consultation made it possible to define the process and also to encourage the support and participation of all stakeholders.
  2. The study to take stock of the national and international regulations relating to dangerous work. At the international level, this consisted of reviewing the international conventions ratified by Mauritania and thus understanding their translation into Mauritanian law. The aim here was also to avoid what is known as the "conflict of laws" and thus to avoid legislative redundancies.
  3. The national consultation to develop the list of hazardous work. The aim here was to understand what types of hazardous work children in the various regions of Mauritania might be exposed to. A list of 42 dangerous jobs emerged.
  4. Consolidation of all the information collected, leading to the occupational health service's technical opinion on the reason for prohibiting dangerous work.
  5. The development and production of the ministerial order listing dangerous work for children.
  6. The presentation and sharing of the decree in order to make it known and accepted. The objective is to create support from all stakeholders.

Now that this major publication stage has been completed, it is time to make this decree more widely known. All stakeholders have committed themselves to making this decree known so that the end of dangerous work by children is a tangible reality in the country.