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

Guinea-Bissau still has a lot to do to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, such as investing a lot more money into the health sector, as well as into education, to provide basic services to all children. The situation of girls also needs improvement, as they are exploited and abused in child labour and female genital mutilation and child marriage are practiced.

Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights

The Committee is concerned that girls continue to be subjected to multiple gender-based discrimination, for instance with regard to practices like FGM/C, forced and child marriages, and enrolment in and completion of education. The Committee is also concerned about the increase in underage pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections among adolescents with particular emphasis on HIV/AIDS.

Situation of children with disabilities

The Committee recommends that the State party urgently address the high level of discrimination against children with disabilities and take all available measures to ensure that the rights of such children are implemented. In particular, the Committee recommends that the State party eradicate impunity for abuse of children with disabilities by ensuring investigation, prosecution and appropriate sentencing of perpetrators of such abuse. The Committee also recommends to expand and strengthen awareness-raising programmes, for the community at large, aimed at combating prejudice, superstitious beliefs and discrimination against children with disabilities and also strengthen the monitoring of situations of children with disabilities in the home, including by training social workers on detecting signs of sexual abuse, in particular in children with mental disabilities. Additionally, Guinea-Bissau should take all available measures to improve access to education for all children with disabilities, and adopt and gradually implement programmes and policies on inclusive education to improve the number of children with disabilities who have access to education and increase access to appropriate health care.

Free kindergartenNo
Free primary and secondary schoolNo
physical health

To guarantee every child the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, the Committee recommends that the State party prioritize the adequate allocation of human, financial and technical resources to the health sector. This must be undertaken to ensure access to quality health services by all children, particularly children living in the most disadvantaged and remote areas of the country. Furthermore, the Committee recommends that the State party strengthen its efforts to improve the health situation of children and increase the portion of the State party’s annual budget for health and increase the quantity and quality of human resources including availability of trained primary health-care workers as well as adopt a strategy to fund the health sector, identifying necessary resources from the State and other interested donors. Guinea-Bissau should, inter alia, also expand the immunization coverage of all infants and preschool children, which includes obtaining adequate quantities of vaccines, establishing a cold chain for vaccines, and developing outreach programmes to access all children.

Relation to other countries
Business sector

The Committee is concerned at the increase in child labour between 2006 and 2010 and at the high number of children, particularly the meninos de criação, who are economically active. The Committee is also concerned that a large number of those children do not go to school, and as a result of these activities are exposed to dangerous work and long working hours, mistreatment as well as abuse and sexual violence, particularly against girls. The Committee also expresses concern about the lack of information on any investigation or prosecution of persons who may be responsible for child labour.

Situation of juvenile justice

The Committee is concerned at the number of children in adult jails and the ill- treatment of children in custody by police, including in pretrial detention, and the absence of penal procedural rules during their trial. The Committee is equally concerned about the lack of information on measures taken to prevent children from coming into conflict with the law.

Specific observations

The Committee is deeply concerned that birth registration has declined from 39 per cent in 2006 to 24 per cent in 2010, and that 61.1 per cent of children under 5 years of age are not registered. The Committee is concerned at the lack of access to functioning birth registration centres at the regional level; that civil registration authorities in the regions do not have adequate materials, workspace nor transport to carry out their work; and that the cost of registration after 5 years of age is too expensive for many families.

The Committee appreciates the establishment of the Children’s Parliament. However, it remains concerned that traditional attitudes towards children in society limit, and often prevent, children from expressing their views on a wide range of issues that affect them within the family, schools, institutions, judicial system and in society at large.

Additional background

Concluding observations on the second to fourth periodic reports released on 8 July 2013. The Committee takes note of the current political crisis in the State party and the effect this has on the development and implementation of relevant legislation, policy and programmes for children. The Committee acknowledges the political instability, insecurity, financial, human and capacity constraints, and weak law enforcement faced by the State party.

More information about Guinea-Bissau: Situation analysis of children and women

Last Updated (date)22nd of February, 2022