France

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CountryFrance
Optional protocolon the involvement of children in armed conflict, on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, on a Communication Procedure
Safety
Corporal punishmentCorporal Punishment is prohibited in all settings.
Overview of the child rights situation

France has made large public investments in children. However, the concluding observations show that the implementation of children's rights varies between France and the Overseas Territories, and many children are not aware of their rights. It is noteworthy that children with autism are mentioned in an additional section in the concluding observations. Of concern is the lack of official statistics and the presence of reports that an estimated two children die each day, possibly as a result of domestic violence.

Situation of intersexual and transsexual childrenThe Committee recommends to prohibit medically unnecessary surgeries and other procedures on intersex children before they are able to provide their informed consent.
Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights

Contraceptives are available free of charge and confidentially to children over 15 years old. The Committee recommends France to strengthen its efforts to challenge gender stereotypes and to increase awareness of female genital mutilation in the State party.

Discrimination
Racism, children belonging to a minority and indigenous childrenThe Committee is concerned at the persistence of racial discrimination against and stigmatization of Roma children.
Situation of children with disabilities

The Committee is concerned by cases of ill-treatment of children with disabilities in institutions and the insufficient independent monitoring of such institutions. The Committee is further concerned that the “packing” technique (wrapping the child in cold, wet sheets), which amounts to ill-treatment, has not been legally prohibited and is reportedly still practiced on some children with autistic spectrum disorders. Besides prohibiting the “packing“ method, the Committee recommends to create accessible and child-friendly reporting systems and services, including confidential channels for denouncing cases of ill-treatment and protection from reprisals.

Situation of asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant childrenThe Committee is concerned about the situation of unaccompanied migrant children in the State party who cannot access special protection and assistance. For example, they are automatically placed in waiting zones at airports or hotels, and other administrative detention facilities, sometimes detained with adults, and there are reports of their removal, even before they speak to an ad hoc administrator. Further, the Committee is concerned at the precarious situation of children and their families in refugee camps in the northern part of the State party, such as in Calais and in Grande-Synthe, the refusal by authorities to register children and the lack of sufficient resources for venues and services to provide them with appropriate and adapted protection.
Education
Free kindergartenYes
Free primary and secondary schoolYes
Digital possibilitiesWhile welcoming the efforts by the State party to protect children from harmful information in the media and on digital networks, the Committee is concerned by the persistence of hypersexualized images of children, particularly girls, in the media. Also, many features for regulating children’s access to inappropriate information on television, the Internet and smartphones, such as parental controls, are not effective in practice. Therefore, the Committee recommends to strengthen awareness-raising, information and education programmes to sensitize children, parents and the general public on opportunities and risks relating to the use of digital media and information and communications technology.
Health
physical health

Children are not automatically allowed to be accompanied by parents when hospitalized overnight. An overall worse health service persists in the oversea departments, including high levels of infant mortality, early pregnancies and preventable infectious diseases. Therefore, the Committee recommends to increase efforts to reduce existing disparities in access to health-care services for children and mothers in the overseas departments and to make basic healthcare accessible for everyone, including children without valid residence permit.

The Committee is concerned about the increased rates in tobacco and alcohol use and experimentation with cannabis throughout the middle school years.

Relation to other countries
mental health

The rate of mental health and psychosocial disorders is high among children and increases with age, affecting mainly children over 15 years. The Committee recommends to increase the training of medical personnel on issues relating to child psychiatry, and guarantee that children receive treatment by qualified professionals and in establishments designated for children.

Impacts of climate change

The Committee recommends to establish a clear regulatory framework for industries operating under the jurisdiction and control of the State party to ensure that their activities do not negatively affect human rights or endanger environmental and other standards, especially those relating to children’s rights. France should also ensure that companies effectively implement international standards, including on human rights, the environment and health, that due diligence processes are required, and that effective means exist for monitoring implementation and appropriately sanctioning and providing remedies whenever violations occur.

Business sector

The Committee is concerned about cases in which subsidiaries of French companies have directly contributed to the violation of children’s rights, including activities conducted by rubber companies in Cambodia. Therefore, it recommends to establish a clear regulatory framework for industries operating under the jurisdiction and control of the State party to ensure that their activities do not negatively affect human rights or endanger environmental and other standards, especially those relating to children’s rights.

Situation of juvenile justice

The Committee recommends to end the detention of children in wards within adult detention facilities and to establish specialized juvenile court facilities and procedures with adequate human, technical and financial resources and properly trained and available ad hoc administrators.

Specific observations

In France, 20 per cent of children live in poverty and there are large numbers of homeless children. The Committee is also concerned about the insufficient registration of children belonging to populations in the overseas departments and territories, which impedes them from exercising their rights.

Legislation continues to restrict the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly for children under 16 years of age.
The Committee is seriously concerned about allegations of sexual abuse committed against children by French soldiers in the Central African Republic and notes that the preliminary investigations are still ongoing.

Additional BackgroundThe State party has a reservation to article 30 and two declarations in relation to articles 6 and 40.<br /> Concluding observations on the fifth periodic report released on 23 February 2016.
Last Updated (date)22nd of February, 2022