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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 in the home, alternative care settings, day care, schools and penal institutions.
Overview of the child rights situation

Eswatini's report shows clearly that the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child still needs further efforts. School education is not free of charge and overcrowding and ill-treatment are reported in the justice system. On a positive note, both the usage of the Internet and the impact of climate change are included in the report and will hopefully be addressed by the State Party in the future.

Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights

The Committee is seriously concerned at the high prevalence of sexual exploitation and abuse of children and that sexual exploitation and abuse is often considered to be a “private issue” that should be dealt with within the realm of the family.

The Committee is concerned about the high HIV infection rates and the high rate of early pregnancies, and adolescents’ limited access to contraceptives.

To improve the situation, the Committee recommends that the State party provide free, confidential HIV/AIDS and sexual and reproductive health services and ensure girls’ access to family planning services, affordable contraceptives and safe abortion and post-abortion care services, and ensure that their views are always heard and given due consideration in abortion decisions. The Committee further recommends to ensure that comprehensive sexual and reproductive health education is part of the compulsory school curriculum.

Situation of children with disabilities

The Committee is concerned about the absence of disaggregated data on children with disabilities and the limited access to early identification and referral programmes for children with disabilities. Also concerning are insufficient measures to ensure that children with disabilities fully enjoy their rights, in particular to health, quality of life, and inclusive education and reports that some children with disabilities are isolated and that they face stigma, discrimination and abuse.
To improve the situation, the Committee urges the State party to ensure that children with disabilities have access to health care, inclusive education, early detection and early intervention systems, and various forms of social protection of high quality. Furthermore, the State party should undertake ongoing awareness-raising campaigns targeting public officials, the public and families to promote a positive image of these children as rightsholders.

Situation of asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant childrenThe Committee is concerned about the access to various services, particularly education, of asylum-seeking and refugee and migrant children at the Malindza Refugee Centre. The Committee recommends that the State party enhance access to services for asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant children.
Free kindergartenNo
Free primary and secondary schoolNo
Digital possibilitiesThe Committee recommends that the State party address inequalities generated by the COVID-19 crisis during on-line schooling, including by ensuring the availability of phone/computer equipment and sufficient Internet access, with particular attention to rural areas and children with disabilities.
physical health

The Committee welcomes increased investments in the health care sector, the roll out of child developmental and health programmes, and notes reduced rates of maternal, neonatal and child mortality. However, the Committee remains concerned about the scarcity of health care facilities and at the stock-outs of certain medicines as well as high neonatal, infant and under-five mortality rates.
To guarantee every child the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, the Committee recommends to Eswatini to improve access to, and the quality of, primary health services, in particular in rural areas, by allocating sufficient human and financial resources for health infrastructure, and by developing an integrated medicine supply management system to improve the availability and access of medicines. It further recommends to urgently strengthen the efforts to further reduce infant and child mortality, especially by improving ante- and postnatal care, enhancing the capacity of health-care providers, increasing the availability and accessibility of emergency obstetric care.

Concerning adolescent health, the Committee welcomes the establishment of Youth friendly clinics and the roll out of life skills education in all secondary schools. The Committee is however concerned about health services that are generally not adolescent friendly. To improve the situation, the Committee recommends that the State party ensure adolescent-friendly health services.

Relation to other countries
mental health

The Committee is concerned about the stigma surrounding mental health and the lack of mental health services for adolescents. The Committee recommends to ensure that all adolescents have access to confidential mental health services and counselling in primary health care, schools and communities.

Impacts of climate change

The Committee is concerned about industrial pollution, which threatens access to safe drinking water from rivers; municipal waste and agricultural chemicals, which pose serious risks to both the environment and children's health; and high vulnerability to recurrent droughts and related food insecurity, which affects full implementation of the Convention.

The Committee recommends that the State party promote the sustainable management of natural resources such as land and water, considering the consequences for the present and future generations. Also, Eswatini should increase the efficiency in biomass usage to protect the forest ecosystems and accelerate the transition to renewable energy; reduce vulnerability of children to the impacts of climate change by building their adaptive capacity and resilience; ensure that their special vulnerabilities and views are taken into account in preparing early warning systems and disaster risk management plans. Further, it should increase children’s awareness of climate change and environmental degradation by incorporating environmental education into school curriculum.

Business sector

The Committee is seriously concerned about reports of high rates of child labour, particularly among girls in the rural areas and in the age group 5–11 years, the lack of data on the extent and type of work carried out by children, and at the insufficient resources allocated to the Child Labour Unit.

To improve the situation, the Committee recommends that Eswatini prohibit the employment of children in harmful or hazardous work and expedite the amendments to the Employment Act to include additional safeguards for children, in particular young girls in the rural areas. Also, Eswatini should significantly increase the human, technical and financial resources allocated to the Child Labour Unit in order to fully, regularly and effectively implement the laws and policies on child labour, particularly in the domestic and agricultural sector, increase sanctions for violators and prosecute perpetrators as well as collect data on the extent and type of work carried out by children.

Situation of juvenile justice

The Committee is seriously concerned about reports of ill-treatment, including of girls, solitary confinement and overcrowding in the correctional facilities of Vulamasango School, Malkerns Young Person’s Centre and Mawelawela Correctional Centre and reports of arbitrary arrests, detention and incarceration of children as well as detaining them with adults. Further, the Committee is concerned about stringent prison sentences for some first-time child offenders and the underutilization of alternatives to detention and children from vulnerable groups, including children living in poverty and children with disabilities, facing additional challenges in accessing justice.

The Committee urges the State party to prohibit overcrowding and ill-treatment of children in correctional facilities and ensure that children are not confined together with adults. It further urges the State party to ensure the independent monitoring of places where children are deprived of their liberty and establish child- and gender-sensitive complaint mechanisms regarding ill-treatment of children in custody and detention. Additionally, it urges the State party to investigate and address ill-treatment of children in the child justice system, ensure that perpetrators are held accountable, child victims are protected and adequately compensated and eliminate disparities among all children in access to justice, especially vulnerable children and children with mental and/or physical disabilities.

Specific observations

The Committee urges the State party to ensure that safety and wellbeing of children is always respected and investigate the reported killing and injuries of children that occurred during the public demonstrations which started on 29 June 2021. The Committee urges the State party to investigate and effectively address reports of arrest, ill-treatment and incarceration of children and detaining them with adults in the context of the unrest of 29 June 2021.

Additional background

Concluding observations on the second and fourth periodic reports released on 29 September 2021. More information about education in Eswati:

Last Updated (date)22nd of February, 2022