Marshall Islands

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CountryMarshall Islands
Optional protocolon the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, on a Communication Procedure
Corporal punishmentCorporal Punishment is legal in the home, alternative care settings, day care and penal institutions; further reform is also required in relation to schools.
Overview of the child rights situation

In the Marshall Islands, children's rights are not yet adequately implemented. This includes the areas of health care, but also education and child labour. The archipelago is also one of the regions most affected by the consequences of climate change, but the State party does not include children in planning for the future.

Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights

The Committee recommends that the State party ensure that comprehensive age-appropriate sexual and reproductive health education is part of the mandatory school curriculum targeting adolescent girls and boys, with a particular focus on preventing early pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS. The Committee further recommends to decriminalize abortion in all cases for girls, ensure access to safe abortion and post-abortion care services, irrespective of whether abortion is legal or not, and ensure that the views of the girl are always heard and respected in abortion decisions as well as improve adolescents’ access to reproductive health-care and related services. Additionally, the Committee recommends that the State party increase support for reproductive health and family planning services, including access to available and affordable contraception, especially in the outer islands.

Situation of children with disabilities

The Committee recommends that the State party adopt a human rights-based approach to disability and develop and support community campaigns and programmes to address discrimination and stigma against children with disabilities as well as give priority to measures that facilitate the full inclusion of children with disabilities in all areas of public life.
Also, Marshall Islands should ensure access to all public buildings and public spaces, all service delivery, and transportation in all areas, especially in the outer islands. Furthermore, the Marshall Islands should guarantee that all children with disabilities, including children with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities, have the right to inclusive education in mainstream schools, independent of parental consent, and ensure the availability of qualified assistance in integrated classes providing individual support and due attention to children with learning difficulties.

Free kindergartenNot clear
Free primary and secondary schoolNot clear
physical health

The Committee recommends that the State party reduce child mortality by improving access to and use of health, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene services, especially in the outer islands. Marshall Islands should also scale up immunization, particularly in the outer islands, and provide sufficient investment in suitable technologies, such as delivery and conservation, and human resource capacities for immunization services. Additionally, the Committee recommends that the State party ensure that there are adequate facilities in place for the treatment of children, including sufficient numbers of well-trained health workers for children and pregnant women, especially obstetric neonatal care facilities, particularly in the outer islands.
The Committee further recommends to strengthen its efforts to improve access to basic health-care services for all children, particularly in the outer islands, and provide mobile health-care teams with more resources so that they are more frequently available and reach a wider population.

Relation to other countries
mental health

The Committee recommends that the State party strengthen both the quality and the availability of mental health services and programmes for children and, in particular, increase the number of specialists in children’s mental health. Furthermore, the Committee recommends that the State party ensure adequate psychosocial care and rehabilitation facilities and outpatient services specifically for children. Additionally, the Committee recommends that the State party strengthen efforts to prevent suicide among children and adolescents, including by increasing the availability of psychological counselling services and social workers in schools and communities, and by ensuring that all professionals working with and for children are trained to identify and address early suicidal tendencies and mental health problems.

Impacts of climate change

The Committee recommends to implement the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes, especially those relating to the immediate and continuing effects of the nuclear tests of the United States of America, on children’s health, the right to live in a healthy environment and indefinite displacement.
Furthermore, the Committee is concerned about the insufficient incorporation of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction into the school curriculum and the lack of a comprehensive disaster-sensitive social protection system. Additionally, the Committee is concerned about the insufficient inclusion of the special needs of children, including children with disabilities, in planning disaster risk reduction, preparedness, response and recovery and the inadequate number of and access to evacuation centres, particularly in the outer islands.

Business sector

The Committee recommends that the State party establish a legislative framework to ensure the legal accountability of business enterprises and their subsidiaries operating in or managed from the State party’s territory, especially in the tourism industry.
The State party should also establish mechanisms for the investigation and redress of violations of children’s rights, with a view to improving accountability and transparency, and require companies to undertake child rights impact assessments and consultations, and full public disclosure of the environmental, health-related and child rights impacts of their business activities and their plans to address such impacts, and promote the inclusion of child rights indicators and parameters for reporting. The Committee further recommends to undertake awareness-raising campaigns with the tourism industry and the public at large on the prevention of sexual exploitation of children and widely disseminate the charter of honour for tourism and the World Tourism Organization global code of ethics for tourism among travel agents and in the tourism industry.

Situation of juvenile justice

The Committee urges the State party to bring its juvenile justice system fully into line with the Convention and other relevant standards. In particular, the Committee recommends that the State party designate specialized judges for children and ensure that such judges and all relevant support staff receive appropriate training. It also recommends to ensure the provision of free, qualified and independent legal aid to children in conflict with the law at an early stage of and throughout the legal proceedings. Marshall Islands should further ensure, in cases where detention is unavoidable, that the children are not detained together with adults and that detention conditions are compliant with international standards, including with regard to access to education and health services.

Specific observations

The Committee recommends that the State party consider holding targeted consultations with families and children, including those in vulnerable situations, and with civil society organizations, with a view to strengthening the strategies and measures for reducing child poverty. It also recommends to strengthen the support available to children living in poverty, in particular those in single-parent families, families with three or more children and families with children with disabilities, and ensure that social protection measures cover the real costs of a decent standard of living for children, including expenses relevant to their right to health, a nutritious diet, education, adequate housing, water and sanitation. Also, the Committee recommends that the State party take immediate steps to guarantee access to clean water and sanitation for all children, and ensure that sanitation facilities are reviewed and improved.

Additional BackgroundConcluding observations on the third and fourth periodic reports released on 27 February 2018.
Last Updated (date)27th of February, 2022