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Optional protocolon the involvement of children in armed conflict, on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography
ViolenceThe Committee recommends that the State party collect disaggregated data about the sexual abuse of and violence against children, including the number of complaints, reports to the police, investigations, prosecutions, sentences and sanctions.
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 Brunei shows that much remains to be done to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The most serious violations that need to be addressed immediately are the use of whipping against boys as a state instrument and the fact that female circumcision is only prohibited in severe forms.

Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights

The Committee is deeply concerned at the persistence of the practice of female circumcision, which is not regarded by the State party as a form of female genital mutilation. The Committee is also concerned that that practice is prohibited and prosecuted only in its severe form and that a large number of girls are victims of female circumcision/female genital mutilation. The Committee urges the State party to fully adopt legislation to fully prohibit and criminalize the practice of female genital mutilation, including female circumcision and cutting, in all its forms.
The Committee further urges the State party to take effective measures to prevent and combat the practice of child marriage, including all necessary legislative measures, as well as to develop awareness-raising campaigns and programmes on the harmful effects of early marriage on the physical and mental health and well-being of girls, targeting households, local authorities, religious leaders, judges and prosecutors.

Situation of children with disabilities

There is a lack of reliable disaggregated data on children with disabilities in Brunei and thereby an absence of specific information on initiatives and programmes for the rehabilitation and reintegration of children with disabilities, particularly those children suffering from multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination.
The Committee is also concerned that a number of children with disabilities are deprived of education and that most schools are not accessible and do not provide inclusive education.
To improve the situation, the Committee urges the State party to develop an efficient system for the early detection and diagnosis of disability and ensure that all children with disabilities have access to education, give priority to inclusive education in mainstream schools over special schooling and allocate adequate human, financial and technical resources for schools to effectively strengthen inclusive education.

Situation of asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant childrenThe State Party endeavours to naturalize and assimilate a large number of stateless permanent residents. The Committee is, however, concerned at the lack of disaggregated data available on the number of stateless persons and children. It is also concerned that barriers remain for the naturalization of the majority of stateless persons, in particular stateless children, in Brunei. The Committee recommends that the State party provide birth registration and access to basic rights, such as health and education, to all stateless children and their families on the State party’s territory, irrespective of their legal status. It further recommends to establish a comprehensive and systematic mechanism for the collection of data on stateless children and ensure that the data are disaggregated.
Free kindergartenNo
Free primary and secondary schoolYes
physical health

The Committee is concerned at the shortage of qualified local health personnel in the State party, which has a negative impact on the health of children. To guarantee every child the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, the Committee recommends that the State party allocate sufficient financial and human resources to health services, particularly child health and nutrition, providing effective access to trained and qualified health-care personnel.
Concerning adolescent health, the Committee is deeply concerned at the criminalization of abortion. The Committee is also concerned at the absence of sexual and reproductive health education and services. It recommends to decriminalize abortions, 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 to preventing early pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

Relation to other countries
mental health

The Committee recommends that the State party take measures to ensure that adolescents have access to mental health counselling services.

Business sector

The Committee is concerned at the absence of a list of hazardous work in which children should not be involved. The Committee urges the State party to enforce its national legislation to ensure that child labour, including in the informal sector and in family businesses, is in full compliance with international standards, as well as to ensure the full protection of children against all forms of sexual, physical and psychological harassment. The Committee also recommends that the State party explicitly prohibit the employment of children in hazardous work, including exploitative domestic work, as well as establish a list of hazardous work in which children should not be involved. It also recommends to strengthen the implementation of labour laws by establishing labour inspections, including in the informal sector, and ensuring that anyone violating legislation on child labour is held accountable.

Situation of juvenile justice

The Committee remains deeply concerned that no progress has been made towards the abolishment of the sentence of whipping for boys. Furthermore, the Committee is concerned at the lack of adequate training for probation officers working with children.
Therefore, the Committee urges the State party to bring its juvenile justice system fully into line with the Convention and other relevant standards and raise without delay the minimum age of criminal responsibility to an internationally acceptable standard and abolish the sentence of whipping/flogging for boys. The Committee also urges Brunei to ensure that staff working with children, in particular probation officers, specialized judges, legal representatives and social workers, are provided with appropriate training.

Specific observations

The Committee remains concerned that, despite measures taken by the State party to ensure the registration at birth of all children, there are considerable disparities in birth registration in rural and urban areas, and that children in migration circumstances, including irregular migration, as well as children in Kampong Ayer (the “water village”) are not always registered at birth. The Committee remains concerned about the lack of information regarding the practical implementation of the right of the child to express his or her views in judicial and administrative proceedings as well as to participate in the formulation and implementation of policies and programmes affecting him or her.

The Committee is deeply concerned that the State party imposes several measures limiting the observance of religions other than Islam, prohibiting public celebration of Christmas, Chinese New Year and other festivities. The Committee urges the State party to amend its national legislation in order to effectively guarantee the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion of children of all beliefs. The Committee further urges the State party to take all measures necessary, including awareness-raising and public education campaigns, to combat intolerance on the grounds of religion or belief. Additionally, the Committee urges the State party to promote religious dialogue in society, ensure that religious teachings promote tolerance and understanding among children of all communities and religious and non-religious backgrounds and combat every kind of social pressure on children to adhere to the rules of a religion with which they are not affiliated. The Committee also urges the State party to revise its school curricula in order to exempt children belonging to religions other than Islam from the mandatory course on Islamic religious knowledge.

Additional background

Concluding observations on the second and third periodic reports released on 24 February 2016. The Committee encourages the State party to accelerate the review process with a view to withdrawing its reservations to articles 14, 20 (3) and 21 (b)-(e) of the Convention.

More information about education: World data on education

Last Updated (date)2nd of March, 2022