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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 is seriously concerned that 30 per cent of girls have been victims of sexual abuse before the age of 15, and at sentences in cases of rape and other sexual assaults that are well below the maximum sentences provided for in legislation.
Corporal punishmentCorporal Punishment is legal in the home and in some alternative care and day care settings.
Overview of the child rights situation

Nauru has particular problems in implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in the area of violence against children. Reproductive health and the situation of asylum-seeking children need improvement as well.

Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights

The Committee is concerned at the relatively high rate of teenage pregnancy. It is also concerned at the lack of a comprehensive national programme and the lack of coordination among agencies, which undermines the potential to develop a strategic and sustainable response to prevent early pregnancies.
To improve the situation, the Committee recommends that Nauru provide comprehensive, age-appropriate education on sexual and reproductive health, including information on family planning and contraceptives, the dangers of early pregnancy and the prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases. The State party should further develop sexual and reproductive health services, including confidential counselling and modern contraception for adolescent girls and boys.

Racism, children belonging to a minority and indigenous childrenThe Committee is concerned at the high rate of under-5 mortality for non- Nauruan and indigenous Nauruan children. Therefore, the Committee urges the State party to immediately strengthen efforts to ensure that access to adequate health care and nutrition is extended to the most vulnerable families, particularly non-Nauruan and indigenous Nauruan families, as well as asylum-seeking and refugee families.
Situation of children with disabilities

The Committee urges the State party to adopt a human rights-based approach to disability and establish a comprehensive strategy to ensure the inclusion of children with disabilities. It also urges the State party to develop a legal provision to ensure that all persons with disabilities have access, on an equal basis with others, to public buildings, public spaces and all service delivery areas. Further, Nauru should give priority to measures that facilitate the full inclusion of children with disabilities, including those with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities, in all areas of public life, such as leisure activities, community-based care and provision of social housing with reasonable accommodation, in particular the right to inclusive education in mainstream schools independent of parental consent, and ensure the availability of qualified assistance in mainstream schools.
The Committee further recommends to train and assign specialized teachers and professionals in integrated classes providing individual support and due attention to children with learning difficulties, and address the shortage of speech therapists and qualified professionals for children with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities. It further recommends to enhance data collection on children with disabilities and conduct studies and analyses on the effectiveness of the implementation of the Convention and the existing laws and policies.

Situation of asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant childrenWhile the Committee welcomes the State party’s cooperation with UNHCR, it is gravely concerned about the fact that overall, the memorandum of understanding between Nauru and Australia on processing asylum cases fails to take into account the best interests of the child. Furthermore, the Committee is gravely concerned at cases of unaccompanied asylum-seeking and refugee children not being expeditiously processed in accordance with the principle of the best interests of the child and at living conditions in the Regional Processing Centre, which, combined with the lack of certainty for both asylum-seeking and refugee children, is generating and exacerbating mental health issues, leading to feelings of hopelessness and often suicidal ideation.<br /> The Committee urges the State party to immediately ensure that the best interests of the child are a primary consideration in all decisions and agreements in relation to the transfer of any asylum-seeking or refugee children from Australia. It further urges Nauru to process cases involving unaccompanied asylum-seeking and refugee children in a positive, humane and expeditious manner as a means of identifying durable solutions. Nauru should also prioritize the immediate transfer of asylum-seeking children and their families out of the Regional Processing Centre and adopt permanent and sustainable resettlement options for refugees, particularly children and their families, to ensure that they are given lawful stay and reasonable access to employment and other opportunities.
Free kindergartenNot clear
Free primary and secondary schoolNot clear
physical health

The Committee recommends that the State party allocate sufficient human and financial resources to ensure adequate postnatal care for new-borns and mothers and appoint health mediators to conduct home visits. It further recommends to conduct a survey to assess household nutrition levels, especially nutrition of new-borns and children under 5 years of age, and the adequacy of vitamin and micronutrient intakes. Furthermore, the Committee recommends that the State party develop policies to ensure that healthy food choices are available and affordable and strengthen awareness campaigns to promote the benefits of healthy eating for children. Nauru should also ensure the availability of and equitable access to quality primary and specialized health and dental care for all children, particularly those from socially and economically disadvantaged groups.

Relation to other countries
mental health

The Committee is concerned at the lack of qualified specialists, especially child psychiatrists and psychologists, as well as community-based mental health services for all children.
The Committee recommends that the State party make community-based mental health services readily available and that it strengthens preventive work in schools, homes and care centres.

Situation of juvenile justice

The Committee regrets the general lack of information provided by the State party in relation to the administration of juvenile justice. It is, however, concerned at the absence of specialized magistrates and personnel appropriately trained on children’s rights and at the insufficient application of recognized juvenile justice principles when dealing with children in conflict with the law. It is also concerned at reports indicating that the State party’s correctional services significantly lack capacity and fail to meet internationally recognized juvenile justice standards. The Committee is further concerned at reports of ill-treatment of detainees, including children, and at the fact that separate detention facilities do not exist for child offenders.
The Committee urges the State party to bring its juvenile justice system fully into accordance with the Convention and other relevant standards. In particular, the Committee recommends that the State party ensure that judges dealing with children receive appropriate training on juvenile justice standards. Further, Nauru should ensure the provision of qualified and independent legal aid to children in conflict with the law at an early stage of the procedure and throughout the legal proceedings. In cases where detention is unavoidable, Nauru should ensure 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

While the Committee acknowledges that the State party has taken steps to increase and improve child protection policies and legislation, it is concerned that the Immigration Act 2014 does not specifically criminalize the sale of, trafficking in and abduction of children and that the guidance and measures in place for the protection, rehabilitation and support of children who have been sold, trafficked or abducted are insufficient.
The Committee recommends that the State party adopt comprehensive anti-trafficking laws that define specific crimes relating to the sale of, trafficking in and abduction of children and that carry adequately severe penalties for such crimes.

Additional BackgroundConcluding observations on the initial report released on 28 October 2016.
Last Updated (date)2nd of March, 2022