Back to the map with all countries
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, schools, penal institutions and as a sentence for crime.
Overview of the child rights situation

The report from Botswana shows that the child rights situation remains difficult. Many children live in poverty, and children who are suspected of having committed a crime, or who have committed a crime, face corporal punishment in prison. Many issues, such as child labour, the impact of climate change, or the situation of intersex children are addressed only briefly or not at all.

Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights

While welcoming the various awareness-raising campaigns and platforms on adolescent health issues, the Committee recommends that the State party provide free, confidential and adolescent-responsive sexual and reproductive health services, information and education, paying special attention to preventing early pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, and ensure that sexual and reproductive health education is part of the mandatory school curriculum and is directed at adolescent girls and boys.

Situation of children with disabilities

The Committee welcomes the establishment of the Disability Public Education Office to combat the stigmatization of and discrimination against children with disabilities and the steps taken by the State party towards adopting a human rights-based approach to disability. It is concerned, however, about the lack of information regarding the situation of children with disabilities and the insufficient progress in ensuring their access to inclusive education.

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 guarantee all children with disabilities, including those with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities, the right to inclusive education in mainstream schools, with adequately trained specialized teachers and professionals to provide individual support and all due attention to them. Further, Botswana should undertake a study on the situation of children with disabilities, including those not currently accessing services or support, and use its findings to inform the implementation of the Convention and existing laws and policies.

Situation of asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant childrenThe Committee welcomes the relocation of refugee children from Francistown Centre for Illegal Immigrants and that refugee children have access to education and free health services. Nonetheless, the Committee is seriously concerned that asylum-seeking and refugee children and families, as well as unaccompanied children, will continue to be subjected to mandatory and prolonged detention. To improve the situation, the Committee recommends to prohibit the detention of refugee and asylum-seeking children and adopt alternatives to detention in order to allow children to remain with family members and/or guardians in non-custodial, community-based contexts, consistent with their best interests and their rights to liberty and a family environment. The Committee also recommends to strengthen measures to ensure full access of all asylum-seeking and refugee children to health services and education.
Free kindergartenNot clear
Free primary and secondary schoolNot clear
Digital possibilitiesThe Committee is concerned that cultural attitudes and practices do not recognize children’s right to privacy, and that the increased access of children to online media has not been accompanied by appropriate awareness-raising activities on online safety. Therefore, the Committee recommends that the State party take all measures necessary to protect the right of the child to privacy, adequately training children, teachers and families on media literacy and online safety and conducting awareness-raising and educational programmes, in cooperation with the media, to eliminate practices that violate children’s right to privacy.
physical health

The Committee welcomes the Botswana Expanded Programme on Immunization and the public health regulations aimed at improving access of children to basic health services and vaccinations. However, it is concerned about the persistently high rates of under-5 mortality and about high rates of neonatal and child mortality due to preventable diseases, including malnutrition and HIV/AIDS.

To guarantee every child the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, the Committee recommends to prioritize measures to improve access to quality health-care and nutrition services, including by allocating sufficient financial resources, ensuring the availability of qualified health staff, particularly in remote areas, and waiving fees for children of foreign nationality who cannot afford basic health services. In addition to that, the Committee recommends that the State party invest in measures to ensure that health-care services are child-friendly, including through the training of health-care personnel to address the specific needs of children and adolescents.

Concerning adolescent health, Botswana should provide life-skills education on preventing substance abuse, including tobacco and alcohol, and develop accessible, youth-friendly and non-punitive drug dependence treatment and harm reduction services.

Relation to other countries
mental health

The Committee recommends to establish a mental health programme dedicated to children that includes community-based mental health services and preventive work in schools, homes and care centres.

Business sector

The Committee recommends that the State party allocate sufficient human, technical and financial resources to labour inspection in order to fully, regularly and effectively implement the laws and policies on child labour, particularly in the agricultural sector, and prosecute any perpetrators of violations relating to child labour.

Situation of juvenile justice

The Committee welcomes the provision in the Children’s Act for social workers to assess children in conflict with the law, the establishment of children’s courts and the use of detention as a measure of last resort.
To further improve the situation, the Committee urges the State party to ensure, in cases where detention is unavoidable, that girls are kept separately from adult women, and where this would result in solitary confinement, apply non-custodial sentences, and that detention conditions for girls and boys are compliant with international standards, including with regard to access to education and health services, and with a regular consideration of their release. Also, Botswana should give urgent consideration to suspending the application of corporal punishment pending its abolition, establishing diversion from an early stage in the system (including through existing mediation processes), promoting the use of non-custodial measures and ensuring the availability of sufficient possibilities for probation, community work and mediation.

Specific observations

The Committee welcomes the measures taken to promote birth registration, including through the amended National Registration Act, but remains concerned about the significant number of children who are not registered. It is also concerned about the persistence of barriers to birth registration and the lack of safeguards to prevent refugee and asylum-seeking children from statelessness.

While welcoming the establishment of the Children’s Consultative Forum and village child protection committees to facilitate child participation at the national and village levels, as well as school councils in secondary schools, the Committee is concerned that such mechanisms do not facilitate meaningful and empowered participation of children in matters that concern them. It is also concerned about the lack of procedures or protocols to ensure respect for the views of the child in administrative and judicial proceedings.

Additional background

Concluding observations on the second and third periodic reports released on 26 June 2019. In view of the information provided by the State party that there is “no legal impediment” to lifting its reservation to article 1 of the Convention (CRC/C/BWA/2-3, para. 20), the Committee urges the State party to expedite the withdrawal of its reservation to article 1.

More information about education: Education Act

Last Updated (date)1st of March, 2022