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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 notes that article 114 of Iceland’s Penal Code states that anyone recruiting persons within the State party for foreign military service is subject to criminal liability (two years’ imprisonment). The Committee, however, regrets that the Penal Code does not address explicitly recruitment of children, which should entail even harsher punishment.
Corporal punishmentCorporal Punishment is prohibited.
Overview of the child rights situation

In Iceland, the child rights situation is very good, with few exceptions. Participation must be improved and health care can also be improved.

Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights

The Committee is concerned that the number of pregnancies and abortions among girls under the age of 18 is relatively high, which may be attributed to a general lack of knowledge of reproductive health, access to contraceptives and counselling services on reproductive health.
The Committee recommends that the State party raise awareness among adolescents about reproductive health and negative impacts of early pregnancies and abortions, and provide access to contraceptives and counselling services on reproductive health, including psychological counselling.

Situation of children with disabilities

The Committee is concerned that access to services by children with disabilities may be limited by public allocations.
Therefore, the Committee recommends that the State party continue and strengthen measures to include children with disabilities in all areas of life as well as ensure that children with disabilities are provided with all necessary support and services without undue delay and financial constraints should not be an obstacle in accessing services. Iceland should further ensure that data collected on persons with disabilities is disaggregated also by the nature of the disability, age and gender.

Situation of asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant childrenThe Committee is concerned that, owing to a growing number of immigrants in the State party, children of immigrants may be not be covered by child health-care services, particularly with regard to access to educational materials and general information about health services, due to language problems. Iceland therefore urges the State party to take necessary measures to integrate children of immigrants into its health system and provide children of immigrants with health information, if possible, in their native languages.
Free kindergartenNo
Free primary and secondary schoolYes
physical health

The Committee welcomes the regulation by the Ministry of Health and Social Security exempting children below the age of 18 from health-care and hospital fees. Further, the Committee appreciates that obesity among children and young people has decreased, but is concerned that it remains a problem.
To improve the situation, the Committee recommends that the State party continue educating the public about healthy nutrition and negative impacts of obesity on a child’s health and development.

Relation to other countries
mental health

The Committee is concerned that there is a growing number of children in the State party who are being diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or related conditions, leading to an increase in the prescription of psychostimulant drugs. It is also concerned that the waiting lists for mental health diagnosis and treatment are long. To improve the situation, the Committee recommends to improve the accuracy of the diagnosis of children with such problems and strengthen mental health services for children and guarantee access to examinations and treatment needed, including by improving the capacity of treatment and diagnostic centres as well as pay greater attention to other kinds of treatment, including psychological, educational and social measures, and strengthen the support to parents and teachers.

Business sector

The Committee notes with concern that, while compulsory education in the State party lasts until 16 years of age (although may be completed earlier), the minimum age of employment remains 15 years of age. The Committee is also concerned that some children in the State party begin working at an early age, reportedly at 13–14 years. Although this work may be light in nature, it may be undertaken under bad conditions and inappropriate work arrangements that expose them to long working hours, high rates of work accidents and harassment, and often give them more responsibility than is fitting with their age.

Situation of juvenile justice

The Committee recommends that the State party bring the juvenile justice system fully in line with the Convention.
The Committee also recommends that the State party ensure, through adequate legal provisions and regulations, that all children victims and/or witnesses of crimes, including those perpetrated by State and non-State actors, are provided with the protection required by the Convention. The Committee recommends the State party to encourage courts to make use of the Children’s House for obtaining testimonies from children.

Specific observations

The Committee takes note of the deep financial crisis undergone by the State party since the crash of its banking system in 2008, which had a severe impact on its ability to maintain the level of public investment and employment, which in turn impacted on children and their families, especially on lower income families. However, the Committee notes with appreciation the State party’s fiscal efforts to protect the rights of children, especially regarding special protection measures, and that it intends to redress the budget cuts to social investment, including education and health, as its financial and economic situation steadily continues to improve.

Additional background

Concluding observations on the third and fourth periodic reports released on 23 January 2012.The Committee welcomes the withdrawal of the reservation concerning article 9 of the Convention in February 2009. The Committee regrets, however, that the State party has not withdrawn its reservation concerning article 37. More information about education in Iceland: and

Last Updated (date)23rd of February, 2022