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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, some day care and schools.
Overview of the child rights situation

While Jamaica's report is relatively long compared to the other Caribbean islands, the committee reiterates many points they made from the last report. On the positive side, some numbers have improved, such as a decrease in violent crime and an increase in the number of birth certificates. Due to the financial crisis, however, the country is still on the way to implementing many aspects, and in terms of children's rights, there is still much that needs to be improved.

Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights

Family planning programmes have been successful in reducing the overall adolescent fertility rate. To continue these positive developments, Jamaica intends to continue to focus on providing comprehensive sexual and reproductive health education and services.
To guarantee every child the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, the Committee recommends to Jamaica to strengthen its efforts to ensure adequate provision of prenatal and postnatal care, as well as address the increase in maternal mortality.

Situation of children with disabilities

The Committee welcomes the numerous initiatives to ensure that the rights of children with disabilities are fully respected.
The Committee is nonetheless concerned that children with disabilities continue to face discrimination and are not effectively integrated into all areas of social life, including the education system. Also, there is a lack of public awareness of the rights of children with disabilities.

To improve the situation for disabled children and their families, the Committee recommends to coordinate laws and policies for the promotion and protection of the rights of children with disabilities at the national level and ensure that schools provide inclusive education.
The State party should also ensure that schools and care facilities are accessible, adequately staffed and funded.

Situation of asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant childrenThe Committee is concerned about the impact of migration on children, especially those left behind, as well as challenges in securing maintenance from parents who have migrated abroad. Therefore, the Committee recommends that the State party undertake a comprehensive study on all aspects of migration’s impact on children in the country and the role of child protection and social protection systems in providing services for children affected by migration.
Free kindergartenYes
Free primary and secondary schoolYes
Digital possibilitiesThe Committee is concerned about inadequate training of correctional officers who interface with children and the lack of access by judges to sources of information, including copies of current legislation, computers and the Internet.
physical health

The Committee commends the State party for the decrease in infant mortality rates and the relatively high vaccination coverage of children. It also welcomes information that the State party has made advances in promoting children’s health, including the removal of fees for treatment at all government hospitals and clinics in the State party.
The Committee is concerned about perinatal mortality levels, the increase in maternal mortality, persistent levels of undernourishment among the poorest children, the general shortage of health-care providers and the lack of access by children to quality health care.

Concerning adolescent health, the Committee recommends to undertake a comprehensive study to assess the nature and extent of adolescent health problems, with the full participation of adolescents, as a basis for future health policies and programmes.

Relation to other countries
mental health

The Committee welcomes the development of the Mental Health Strategic Plan and the expansion of mental health services in the State party. The Committee is concerned, however, that there is limited access to mental health care and psychosocial rehabilitation for children, especially in relation to depression and suicide attempts. Therefore, the Committee recommends to facilitate the physical and psychological rehabilitation of child victims and ensure access for them to health services, including mental health services.

Impacts of climate change

While noting as positive the fact that the State party has established guidelines for child-friendly disaster management and response, the Committee is concerned at the adverse impact of climate change and natural disasters on the rights of the child, including the rights to education, health, adequate housing, safe and drinkable water and sanitation. It is also concerned that natural disasters have the potential to undermine the social safety net of the State party, with negative consequences for children and families exposed to poverty. Therefore, the Committee recommends that the State party develop strategies to reduce the vulnerabilities of and risks for children and families.

Business sector

The Committee recommends that Jamaica takes measures to prevent children from being economically exploited, by adopting legislation and policies to address child labour in both the formal and informal sectors. After implementation, light work for children aged under 13 to 14 and hazardous occupations for children under 18 should be prohibited.

Situation of juvenile justice

While various initiatives to improve the situation in administration of juvenile justice have been conducted, the Committee recommends to adopt a holistic and preventive approach to addressing the problem of children in conflict with the law and its underlying social factors, with a view to supporting children at risk at an early stage, including by expanding intervention programmes, vocational training and other outreach activities to further improve the system.
The Committee, among other things, also recommends to provide effective rehabilitation services, including mental health counselling and substance abuse treatment. Jamaica should also ensure that detention conditions comply with international standards, including with regard to access to education and health services.

Specific observations

The Committee welcomes the establishment of a comprehensive database (JamStats) capturing a wide range of social and economic indicators on the various aspects of children’s lives as well as initiatives to strengthen existing data collection and management processes.

Additional background

Concluding observations on the third and fourth periodic reports released on 10 March 2015.More information about education in Jamaica: https://moey.gov.jm

Last Updated (date)1st of March, 2022