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

Gabon's report shows clearly that the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child has not yet been implemented far enough.
The Committee observes with great concern that education is associated with costs and that girls in particular leave school early. They are also often exposed to sexual violence, which is also perpetrated in schools. In addition, children with disabilities and pygmies are discriminated against.

Situation of intersexual and transsexual childrenThe Committee recommends that the State party raise awareness of equality and non-discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity to foster a culture of tolerance and mutual respect.
Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights

The Committee is deeply concerned about cases of sexual abuse of children in the home, including incest, and in schools and public spaces. It is also concerned about the impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators and the reticence of survivors to file or proceed with formal complaints for fear of reprisals.
Furthermore, the Committee is concerned that adolescents have limited access to contraception, and at the high rate of adolescent pregnancy. To improve the situation, the Committee recommends to ensure that sexual and reproductive health education is part of the mandatory school curriculum and targeted at adolescent girls and boys, with special attention given to preventing early pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

Racism, children belonging to a minority and indigenous childrenWhile noting the integrated programme to provide birth certificates, access to health, education and social services to pygmies, the Committee is concerned at the fact that pygmy children are in a most vulnerable situation due to the inaccessibility of hospitals, schools and social services and overall discrimination. The Committee recommends that the State party adopt a law for the protection of indigenous people and promptly take measures to effectively implement community projects providing birth certificates to all pygmy children and ensuring access to health, education and social services. Further, Gabon should conduct education and awareness-raising programmes to stop all forms of discrimination against pygmy children.
Situation of children with disabilities

The Committee is seriously concerned about the insufficient resources allocated to support children with disabilities and their families, including access to health care and social services, and that the few available structures exist only in the capital. The Committee is also concerned about the persistent prejudice against children with disabilities by their families and communities, which leads to isolation and ill-treatment.
The Committee urges the State party to adopt a human rights-based approach to disability and set up a comprehensive strategy for the inclusion of children with disabilities, including to set up comprehensive measures to develop inclusive education and ensure that it is given priority over the placement of children in specialized institutions and classes, and invest in the development of the professional skills of children with disabilities. Further, the Committee urges the State party to combat the root causes for the abandonment of boys and girls with disabilities and provide adequate community-based services and assistance to parents and families.

Situation of asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant childrenThe Committee notes the State party’s tradition of welcoming refugees and the measures taken to guarantee refugee and asylum-seeking children’s access to education, but recommends that the State party guarantee that refugee and asylum-seeking children have access to appropriate medical services and effective access to the National Health Insurance Fund and Social Guarantee. The State party should also ensure that asylum-seeking children have free and timely access to an effective refugee status determination procedure and child refugees have access to proper documentation, including by speeding up the restructuring process of the National Commission for Refugees.
Free kindergartenNo
Free primary and secondary schoolNot clear
physical health

To guarantee every child the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, the Committee recommends to the State party to develop and implement a community health policy to promote community participation and tailor health care to local needs, and in particular develop, with the full and effective participation of pygmies, mandatory cultural sensitivity training for all health-care workers. Additionally, the Committee recommends that the State party increase the allocation of resources to the health sector, with a view to them attaining 15 per cent of the national budget.

Relation to other countries
Impacts of climate change

The Committee welcomes the positive steps taken to address deforestation, but remains concerned about the State party’s policy to increase mono-cropping and that the land laws do not reflect the nomadic lifestyle of pygmy communities, including children, who rely on the forests for their livelihood.

Business sector

The Committee is concerned about the high number of working children, in particular in sand quarries and restaurants (gargottes) and on taxis and buses, and the poor identification of abuses and sanction of perpetrators by law enforcement authorities. The Committee is also concerned about the lack of an action plan to remove children from illegal work. The Committee recommends to take the measures necessary to enforce the Labour Code, including at the provincial level, regarding the minimum age for employment, by raising awareness of this phenomenon, and strengthen law enforcement activities to identify abuses and sanction perpetrators, with a particular focus on activities related to sand quarries, restaurants, taxis and buses.

Situation of juvenile justice

The Committee welcomes Act No. 39/2010 creating a dedicated court system for children, recognizing children in conflict with the law as victims, giving priority to re- education and reintegration, considering deprivation of liberty as a measure of last resort, assigning a role to social workers during judicial proceedings and providing legal assistance to children. The Committee is, however, concerned about the ineffective implementation of the law, in particular that the dedicated juvenile justice system is not yet fully in place, juvenile courts are not separated from adult courts, law enforcement officials still lack knowledge about children’s rights, alternatives to detention do not exist and social workers do not systematically visit children in detention. To improve the situation, the Committee recommends to Gabon to create separate courts and a body of law enforcement officials specialized in the rights of the child and international standards in the administration of justice for children, and ensure that social workers regularly visit children in detention.

Specific observations

The Committee is concerned about the high number of children still without access to birth certificates, in particular children in remote areas, pygmy children and children in vulnerable situations, such as children in street situations, child victims of trafficking and child refugees, and that this is partly due to the poor enforcement of the measures adopted.

Additional background

Concluding observations on the second periodic report released on 8 July 2016. More information about education: Preschool in Gabon

Last Updated (date)2nd of March, 2022