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

In the report on Barbados, many points are completely missing, for example the situation regarding children’s mental and physical health. It is also interesting that, in this report, disability is listed in the health section instead of the discrimination section as in the other reports.

Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights

The Committee recommends to adopt a comprehensive sexual and reproductive health policy for adolescents and ensure that sexual and reproductive health education is part of the mandatory school curriculum and targeted at adolescent girls and boys, with special attention paid to preventing early pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.

Situation of children with disabilities

The Committee notes with appreciation the adoption of the policy on persons with disabilities, the development of special curricula and individualized education plans, and the establishment of the first secondary school and vocational centre for adolescents with special needs. It is, however, concerned at the lack of information on the implementation of the policy, as well as on measures taken by the State party in relation to the assessment, prevention, early detection, intervention, treatment and rehabilitation of children with disabilities, their access to social services, inclusive education and funding available to support the programmes and policies.
To improve the situation for disabled children, the Committee recommends to set up a comprehensive strategy for the inclusion of children with disabilities and ensure that inclusive education is given priority over the placement of children in specialized institutions and classes.

Situation of asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant childrenThe Committee is concerned that the constitutional protection from discrimination (section 23 (3) (a)) is not fully applicable to migrant children. It is also concerned that the amendment of the Education Act limits the award of bursaries, grants, awards and scholarships to citizens of the State party and excludes migrant children even when they are legal residents. The Committee recommends that the State party consider extending constitutional protection to all children, including migrant children, in particular in the area of education.
Free kindergartenNo
Free primary and secondary schoolYes
physical health

The Committee remains concerned at the lack of access to sexual and reproductive health information and services, including modern contraception methods, by adolescent girls and the consequent high rate of teenage pregnancies and abortions, and transmission of HIV. The Committee is also concerned at the growing alcohol and drug consumption by children and adolescents in the State party. Therefore, the State party should address the incidence of drug and alcohol consumption by children and adolescents by, inter alia, providing children and adolescents with accurate and objective information and life-skills education on preventing substance abuse, including tobacco and alcohol, and develop accessible and youth-friendly drug-dependence treatment and harm reduction services.

Relation to other countries
Business sector

The State party’s legislation is not in line with international standards, as it does not establish a clear minimum age for children’ s work and does not prohibit the involvement of children in hazardous work. The Committee is also concerned at the lack of data on the extent of child labour in the State party, as well as at the weak mechanism of child labour inspection. To improve the standards, the Committee urges Barbados to harmonize the legislation on child labour with international standards, establish a clear minimum age for children’s work, explicitly prohibit the employment of children under the age of 18 in hazardous work and establish a list of hazardous occupations. The State party should further develop a comprehensive framework of labour inspection, occupational health and safety standards and a system for collecting data on the extent of child labour in the State party.

Situation of juvenile justice

The Committee is deeply concerned that children older than 16 are not considered children by the juvenile justice system, are treated and tried as adults and therefore lack the protection afforded by the Convention. Furthermore, the Committee is deeply concerned that the age of criminal responsibility, while it has been raised to 11, remains low, and that the juvenile justice system is focused on punishment rather than prevention.

The Committee urges Barbados to ensure that the new juvenile justice system is in line with the principles of the Convention and is applicable to all persons under the age of 18 years. Also, the Committee urges the State party to ensure, in cases where detention is unavoidable, that children are not detained together with adults and that detention conditions are compliant with international standards, including with regard to access to education and health services.

Specific observations

Any child born outside the State party to a citizen is entitled to citizenship by descent.

While noting the information on the initiatives taken by the State party to combat negative traditional stereotypes regarding the role of children and ensure their civil rights and freedoms, the Committee remains concerned about insufficient legislative measures to enhance that process and accept children fully as subjects of rights.

Additional background

Concluding observations on the second periodic report released on 3 March 2017.More information about education in Barbados:

Last Updated (date)1st of March, 2022