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Optional protocolon the involvement of children in armed conflict, on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography
Corporal punishmentCorporal Punishment is legal in the home, alternative care settings, day care and schools.
Overview of the child rights situation

In Buthan, extensive discrimination against girls is remarkable. In addition, the situation of children of Nepalese ethnic origin is seriously concerning.

Situation of intersexual and transsexual childrenThe Committee is concerned about the occurrence of peer violence and sexual harassment in schools, also affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex children.
Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights

The Committee recommends that the State party adopt a comprehensive sexual and reproductive health policy for adolescent girls and boys, with special attention on preventing early pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. Bhutan should also promote access to information and services for girls and boys to reduce adolescent pregnancies and increase access to contraceptives, particularly in rural areas, and conduct awareness-raising campaigns on the harmful effects of teenage pregnancies. Furthermore, the Committee recommends that the State party decriminalize abortions in all circumstances and review its legislation with a view to ensuring girls’ access to safe abortion and post-abortion care services. Their views should always be heard and given due consideration in abortion decisions.

Situation of children with disabilities

The Committee welcomes the studies conducted by the State party regarding the situation of and the services available to children with disabilities and the creation of 14 inclusive education schools. The Committee is concerned about the limited measures taken to promote inclusive education of children with disabilities.
To improve the situation, the Committee urges the State party to adopt a human rights-based approach and framework to disability and develop and implement a comprehensive strategy on the rights of children with disabilities, with their full and meaningful participation. Also, Bhutan should develop an efficient system for diagnosing disability at an early stage and establish comprehensive measures for implementing inclusive education and, in particular, ensure that inclusive education is given priority over the placement of children in specialized institutions and classes across the whole country. The Committee further urges Bhutan to train teachers and education staff in inclusive education, enabling them to provide the individual support that is required by children with disabilities, and undertake awareness-raising campaigns aimed at government officials, the public and families to combat the stigmatization of and prejudice against children with disabilities and promote a positive image of such children.

Situation of asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant childrenThe Committee urges the State party to enhance its efforts in negotiations to find peaceful and prompt solutions for either the return or resettlement of children living in refugee camps in Nepal, with particular attention to reunification with their families. Bhutan should also ensure the transparency of the procedure for the determination of the nationality of child refugees based on the right to a nationality and the right to leave and return to one’s country, with due consideration to the best interests of the child.<br /> The Committee is also seriously concerned about the situation of children of Nepalese ethnic origin in the State party and regrets the limited information provided on the enjoyment of rights by such children, and in particular in relation to their right to a nationality, to education, to health and to enjoy their own culture, practice their own religion and use their own language.
Free kindergartenNo
Free primary and secondary schoolYes
Digital possibilitiesThe Committee recommends that the State party work closely with the media, including social media, to create awareness on and promote children’s rights, to facilitate the development of child-friendly materials on issues of relevance to children and to put in place online safety measures, in particular regarding grooming and sexual exploitation and abuse.
physical health

The Committee recommends to strengthen the provision of dietary food supplements in the school feeding programme to address iron deficiency, especially among adolescent girls. Furthermore, the Committee recommends that the State party develop programmes of education and awareness-raising on the harmful effects of smoking, alcohol and substance abuse among adolescents and on the promotion of healthy lifestyles, and provide counselling and rehabilitation services for adolescents who smoke and engage in substance abuse.

Relation to other countries
mental health

The Committee recommends to develop a comprehensive national policy on child mental health, ensuring that mental health promotion and child-friendly mental health services are available in primary health care, schools and communities.

Impacts of climate change

The Committee welcomes the adoption of the second National Adaptation Programme of Action to reduce climate change-related risks and vulnerabilities, and it recommends that the State party ensure that the special vulnerabilities and requirements of children, as well as their views, are taken into account when developing policies and programmes addressing the issues of climate change and disaster risk management. Bhutan should also increase children’s awareness and preparedness for climate change and natural disasters by incorporating these issues into the school curriculum and teachers’ training programmes and develop sustainable systems for water management and supply to address the drying up of spring water sources and prevent children from having to carry water to help their families.

Business sector

The Committee recommends that Bhutan formulate and implement regulations to ensure that the business sector, in particular private education providers and the tourism industry, complies with international and national human rights and labour standards with regard to children’s rights. The Committee further recommends that Bhutan should undertake awareness-raising campaigns with the tourism industry and the public at large on the prevention of child sex tourism and disseminate widely the charter of honour for tourism and the World Tourism Organization Global Code of Ethics for Tourism among travel agents and in the tourism industry.

Situation of juvenile justice

The Committee recommends that the State party review the Penal Code to give discretion to judges, in cases where deprivation of liberty is unavoidable, to consider less than half the sentence of an adult, and ensure that deprivation of liberty is only used as a measure of last resort and for the shortest time possible. Also, the Committee recommends to ensure that detention conditions are compliant with international standards, including with regard to access to education and health services, and establish specialized juvenile court facilities and procedures with adequate human, technical and financial resources, designate specialized judges for children and ensure they receive appropriate education and training. Bhutan should also ensure the provision of qualified and independent legal aid to children in conflict with the law at an early stage of the procedure and throughout the legal proceedings.

Specific observations

The Committee notes that the Constitution guarantees the right to freedom of religion and recommends that the State party ensure to every child the right to practice freely his or her religion or belief.

Additional BackgroundConcluding observations on the third to fifth periodic reports released on 5 July 2017.
Last Updated (date)22nd of February, 2022