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Optional protocolon the involvement of children in armed conflict, on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography
ViolencePeer violence is prevalent, including bullying in schools, institutions, communities and online, especially in relation to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children and children with disabilities.
Corporal punishmentCorporal Punishment is legal at home, in alternative care settings, day care, schools and penal institutions.
Overview of the child rights situation

The report from Belarus was finalized in 2020, shortly before the post-presidential election protests resulted in massive change in the country. Violence in Belarus, including against children, has increased enormously and an estimated two hundred minors have been arbitrarily detained for political reasons. Violence and torture are likely during incarceration. Parents are also threatened with deprivation of custody if their children misconduct. The report from Belarus makes clear that not all children have equal access to education and health services, and that the country has a widespread problem of violence that runs throughout society.

Situation of intersexual and transsexual childrenThe Committee recommends to establish comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation that ensures protection against all forms of direct, indirect and multiple discrimination, including discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights

The Committee urges, bearing in mind the increase of child sexual exploitation, to conduct awareness-raising activities to alert society, parents and schools about the harmful effects and possible criminal nature of any sexual relationships between children and adults and about online risks.

Situation of children with disabilities

The Committee urges the State party to adopt a human rights-based approach to disability, set up a comprehensive strategy for the inclusion of children with disabilities and further strengthen early identification of disability and age-appropriate rehabilitation interventions, improve information outreach for parents of children with disabilities and develop programmes to support children with disabilities in transition to adulthood to help them start an independent life.
The Committee further urges to ensure that all children with disabilities progressively have access to inclusive education, and ensure inclusive education in integrated classes.

Situation of asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant childrenThe Committee recommends to further strengthen the prevention of statelessness among children, including by extending protection to children born to undocumented stateless parents. The Committee further urges to ensure that all children in situations of migration, including undocumented and separated children, receive appropriate protection, are informed about their rights in a language they understand, have access to education and healthcare, including psychosocial support, and are provided with interpretation and free legal aid; and develop comprehensive referral, case management and guardianship frameworks for unaccompanied and separated children. In addition to that, the Committee urges Belarus to prohibit immigration detention of children and ensure non-custodial solutions.
Free kindergartenNo
Free primary and secondary schoolNot clear
Digital possibilitiesThe Committee is concerned about a significant increase in child sexual exploitation and abuse, particularly online and in relation to boys and children with disabilities, in the context of the expansion of internet coverage.
physical health

The Committee welcomes the progress made in reducing mother and child mortality and in eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV and congenital syphilis. Next, the State party should remove all barriers for the admission of children living with HIV to educational institutions and to health recovery, including by revising relevant regulations. The State party should also increase its healthcare budget and intensify its efforts in the area of prevention, early detection and timely treatment of thyroid conditions and other diseases related to, inter alia, nuclear contamination.

In the field of adolescent health, Belarus needs to strengthen its efforts to prevent and address the incidence of alcohol and tobacco addiction, including by providing children and adolescents with accurate and objective information and life skills education on preventing substance abuse, and develop specialized accessible and youth-friendly drug-dependence treatment and harm-reduction services.
Another point is to introduce sexual and reproductive health education into the mandatory school curriculum, with a focus on non-discrimination and sexual and reproductive rights, directing special attention to preventing adolescent pregnancy, high-risk sexual behaviour, HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections and to the issues of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Relation to other countries
mental health

The Committee notes that children between the ages of 15 and 17 experience high mental distress and that the incidence of mental health issues and suicide in this age group increased between 2015 and 2017, with suicide being the main cause of adolescent mortality. They recommend to develop, based on the results of a research, a suicide prevention strategy, paying particular attention to children, that focuses on reducing stress, improving mental well-being, promoting healthy lifestyles and physical activity and strengthening social protection and community services, and that takes into account best practices implemented in other countries.

Impacts of climate change

In Belarus, violent and degrading means of discipline are widely used, which contributes to peer and intergenerational violence.

Business sector

The Committee recommends to establish and implement regulations to ensure the compliance of the business sector with international human rights and children’s rights, enact the law on legal responsibility for corporations and adopt a corporate responsibility index.

Situation of juvenile justice

The State party should establish a comprehensive system of child justice with specialized courts, procedures and trained judges, lawyers and law enforcement professionals. The Committee also urges to maintain the single minimum age of criminal responsibility for all offences and ensure that children below that age are not treated as offenders and are never placed in closed institutions. Belarus should also strengthen the prevention of crime and reoffending among children, paying particular attention to girls.

Specific observations

The children’s right to privacy and personal information is insufficiently protected.

The Committee recommends that the State party strengthen its efforts to guarantee the child’s right to rest and leisure and sufficient time to engage in play and recreational activities that are safe, accessible, inclusive, reachable by public transport, smoke-free and age-appropriate. It also recommends that the State party expand the offer of cultural activities in Belarusian.

Additional background

Concluding observations on the fifth and sixth periodic reports released on 28 February 2020. More information about education in Belarus:

Last Updated (date)09th of March, 2022