Back to the map with all countries
Corporal punishmentCorporal Punishment is legal in the home, alternative care settings, day care and penal institutions.
Overview of the child rights situation

The report from Bahrain leaves open the situation of refugee and intersex children. However, it is clear that the country needs to take action against obesity and improve its juvenile justice system.

Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights

The Committee recommends to decriminalize abortion in all circumstances and ensure access to safe abortion and post-abortion care services for adolescent girls, making sure that their views are always heard and given due consideration as a part of the decision-making process. Also, the Committee recommends to prioritize the roll-out of the reproductive health and puberty programme for adolescents (Kabarna) to all schools, and ensure that it includes education on preventing early pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, as well as life-skills education on preventing substance abuse.

Situation of children with disabilities

The Committee recommends that the State party continue to promote a human rights-based approach to disability, and undertake a comprehensive study, with data disaggregated by, inter alia, age, sex, type of disability, ethnic and national origin and geographic location, on the situation of children with disabilities and analyse the effectiveness of the implementation of the Convention and the existing laws and policies. Also, Bahrain should ensure that laws, policies and programmes, including the education development plan, guarantee all children with disabilities the right to inclusive education in mainstream schools as well as continue to give priority to measures that facilitate the full inclusion of children with disabilities, including those with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities, in all areas of public life, including leisure activities, community-based care and provision of social housing with reasonable accommodation.

Free kindergartenNo
Free primary and secondary schoolYes
Digital possibilitiesNoting with concern the censorship of information through laws regulating the press and the Internet, which undermines the right of children to access information, the Committee recommends that the State party review its laws and policies in order to guarantee children’s access to age-appropriate information, while ensuring the independence of the national media.
physical health

To guarantee every child the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, the Committee recommends that the State party continue targeted interventions to prevent and treat iron-deficiency anaemia and sickle-cell anaemia among children, including by expanding its programme for fortifying flour with iron and folic acid; ensuring early diagnosis and treatment for children with sickle-cell anaemia; evaluating and strengthening awareness-raising activities aimed at preventing the incidence of sickle-cell anaemia among children, and allocating sufficient resources to the nutrition section of the Department of Public Health. Bahrain should also intensify measures to combat obesity and raise awareness about healthy nutrition among parents, children and the general public, promote healthy eating habits, particularly among young children and adolescents, and develop regulations regarding the marketing of unhealthy food that have a negative effect on children’s health as well as strengthen measures to reduce the premature birth rate and to eliminate preventable infant mortality. The Committee further recommends to develop and implement a national programme on providing treatment for mothers affected by HIV to prevent mother-to-child transmission and ensuring early diagnosis and early initiation of treatment of children.

Relation to other countries
mental health

The Committee recommends to ensure a uniform and integrated system of child and adolescent mental health services throughout the State party, equipped with sufficient human, technical and financial resources, and set up an effective monitoring system for child and adolescent mental health.

Business sector

The Committee recommends that the State party establish and implement regulations to ensure that the business sector, including multinational corporations domiciled in the State party, complies with international and national human rights, labour, environment and other standards in relation to children’s rights. In particular, it recommends that the State party establish a clear regulatory framework for the industries operating in the State party to ensure that their activities do not negatively affect children’s rights.

Situation of juvenile justice

While the Committee welcomes the establishment of a special investigation unit in 2012 to investigate allegations of torture, it remains deeply concerned at the arbitrary detention of children, reports of the ill-treatment of children by police and in detention centres, including through the use of tear gas during the riot in Jau prison in 2015, and the alleged use of torture by law enforcement officials to elicit confessions from children in detention.

The Committee urges the State party to bring its juvenile justice system fully into line with the Convention and other relevant standards. In particular, the Committee urges the State party to adopt the bill on correctional justice for children, which would, inter alia, introduce juvenile courts, raise the age of criminal responsibility to an internationally acceptable level and prohibit the imposition of the death penalty or life imprisonment for crimes committed by persons under 18 years of age, and in the meantime, halt all executions of persons who committed crimes while under 18 years of age. Also, Bahrain should ensure the provision of qualified, free and independent legal aid to children in conflict with the law from the beginning of the investigation and throughout the legal proceedings, and grant access to a lawyer and to family immediately after arrest.

Specific observations

Noting with concern that the law in the State party provides automatic solutions for the residence (hadana) of children after divorce or separation, without an individual assessment of their best interests, that the law regulates residence and other family relations differently for girls and boys, and that fathers have priority in the guardianship of their children, the Committee recommends that the State party review its legislation relating to the residence (hadana) of the child to ensure that all decisions taken are based on the principle of the best interests of the child, and that the views of children, girls and boys alike, are taken into account.

Additional background

Concluding observations on the fourth to sixth periodic reports released on 27 February 2019. More information about education in Bahrain:

Last Updated (date)22nd of February, 2022