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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 welcomes the establishment of the social work profession in the State party and the execution of the national survey on violence against children. The Committee regrets the high prevalence of physical, sexual and mental violence against children, the absence of a national information management system and the still low number of social workers, particularly at the local level.
Corporal punishmentCorporal Punishment is legal in the home, alternative care settings, day care and penal institutions.
Overview of the child rights situation

Lao's report finds that children with disabilities in particular are facing discrimination and there is also a correlation between poverty, ethnicity and disability. They are stigmatized in society, which hinders their access to education, health care and future employment. But there is also a lot to be done in the health sector, for example, where the mortality rate is extraordinarily high.

Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights

The Committee is concerned at the high prevalence of early pregnancies, in particular among girls from certain ethnic groups and from poor families, and at reports about difficulties in accessing health education and contraceptives. The Committee therefore recommends that Lao adopt a comprehensive sexual and reproductive health policy for adolescents and ensure that sexual and reproductive health education is part of the mandatory school curriculum and targeted at adolescent girls and boys, with special attention to preventing early pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. It should also take measures to raise awareness of and foster responsible parenthood and sexual behaviour, paying particular attention to boys, and make contraceptives accessible to adolescents and ensure access to free and safe abortion.

Racism, children belonging to a minority and indigenous childrenThe Committee remains concerned about the presence of explosive ordnance, mostly affecting children from ethnic minorities or living in rural areas. The Committee urges the State party to strengthen the information and early warning systems with a view to providing adequate, immediate and efficient institutional responses and to allocate adequate resources for mine-risk education and care programmes for child victims.
Situation of children with disabilities

Lao has no systematic data-collection system to gather information on the situation of children and families affected by disability.
The Committee is further concerned about the insufficient coordination and lack of quality services to provide early identification of disability and the necessary rehabilitation and other services to assist the social inclusion of children with disabilities.

Situation of asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant childrenThe Committee is concerned about the challenges to children’s rights caused by increased migration. The Committee recommends that the State party strengthen access to services for migrant children regardless of their nationality and enhance awareness-raising and training for relevant sectors, to ensure that mechanisms are in place to prevent child labour and sexual exploitation in migration. Lao should also strengthen the dissemination of knowledge for preventing trafficking and exploitation.
Free kindergartenNo
Free primary and secondary schoolNo
physical health

While noting with appreciation the provision of free maternal, neonatal and child health care, the Committee remains concerned that under-5 mortality is still very high, that the majority of deaths are preventable and that child mortality rates vary by geographical location, ethnic group, the mother’s education and socioeconomic status.
To guarantee every child the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, the Committee recommends that the State party step up its efforts to address the regional disparities in terms of health care by increasing health sector funding and increasing access, including by improving the road infrastructure, to well-equipped and adequately stocked facilities. The State party should also increase the number of health-care professionals and improve their access to quality training, and develop programmes in local languages for different ethnic groups as well as effectively implement existing programmes aimed at reducing child mortality and morbidity rates, including by improving the skills of midwives and adopting quality standards for maternal and new-born care.
Concerning adolescent health, the Committee recommends to address the incidence of drug use by children and adolescents by, inter alia, providing children and adolescents with accurate and objective information as well as life skills education on preventing substance abuse.

Relation to other countries
mental health

The Committee recommends that the State party implement nationwide policies and strategies for the prevention of mental health problems among children, as well as the treatment and recovery of children and adolescents with mental health problems, involving families and communities in such policies.

Impacts of climate change

The Committee is concerned about the consequences for children of polluted or contaminated drinking water, deforestation and the unrestrained construction of dams, which leads to forced displacement, degradation of biodiversity and erosion of riverbanks, severely affecting the life and subsistence possibilities of people in the area. The Committee recommends that the State party take the measures necessary to ensure children’s access to safe drinking water, to curb deforestation and to restrict the construction of dams based on a child rights impact assessment, and that it involves children in discussions on these matters.

Business sector

The Committee recommends that the State party establish and implement regulations to ensure that the business sector complies with international and national human rights, labour, environmental and other standards, particularly with regard to children’s rights. It also recommends to establish a clear regulatory framework for the industries operating in the State party, in particular the construction, excavation, farming and tourist industries, to ensure that their activities do not negatively affect children’s rights or endanger environmental and other standards. Therefore, Lao should require companies to undertake assessments, consultations and full public disclosure of the environmental, health-related and children’s rights impacts of their business activities and their plans to address such impacts.

Situation of juvenile justice

The Committee welcomes the adoption of child-friendly and gender-sensitive procedures for children in contact with the law as alleged offenders, victims or witnesses. To further improve the situation, the Committee recommends that the State party establish specialized units at the central, provincial and district levels and ensure that the juvenile justice system is equipped with adequate human, technical and financial resources and that designated specialized professionals and the Village Child Mediation Committees receive systematic and appropriate education and training. Lao should also ensure that, in cases where detention is unavoidable, children are not detained together with adults and that detention conditions comply with international standards, including concerning education and health services, as well as strengthening legal and social assistance for children in conflict with the law, including access to legal representation and services for their reintegration.

Specific observations

The Committee is deeply concerned that, despite all efforts, the number of child victims of unexploded ordnance remains high. It therefore recommends to step up its efforts to demine former conflict areas, including through international cooperation, and increase its assistance to and rehabilitation services for child victims of unexploded ordnance, including risk education programmes.

Additional background

Concluding observations on the third to sixth periodic reports released on 1 November 2018.
More information about education in Nepal: Early education report

Last Updated (date)2nd of March, 2022