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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 concerned about the increasing number of incidents relating to child maltreatment, in particular neglect of children and domestic violence, including witnessing domestic violence.
Corporal punishmentCorporal Punishment is prohibited.
Overview of the child rights situation

Children in the Caribbean part of the State party (Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten, as well as Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba) do not enjoy the same rights as children in the European part of the Netherlands.

The Netherlands' report also makes clear that refugee and undocumented children have more difficulties in accessing health care. Furthermore, the country needs to improve its regulations for companies from the Netherlands regarding child labour as well as participation opportunities for children.

Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights

The Committee is concerned that, despite some improvements, the numbers of teenage pregnancies remain high, especially in Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten, as well as Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba.
To improve the situation, the Committee recommends that the State party adopt a comprehensive sexual and reproductive health policy for adolescents and ensure that sexual and reproductive health education be part of the mandatory school curriculum and targeted at adolescent girls and boys, paying special attention to preventing early pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

Racism, children belonging to a minority and indigenous childrenThe Committee is concerned about the activities of some Netherlands businesses abroad that cause adverse effects on the enjoyment of the rights of children in numerous countries. It is particularly concerned about reports that companies under the State party’s jurisdiction which are involved in the processing, trading or financing of palm oil and soy production contribute to deforestation and land grabbing practices in a number of countries, violating the rights of indigenous children to livelihood.
Situation of children with disabilities

The Committee is concerned that a high number of children with disabilities or learning and behavioural difficulties have spent significant time out of school in earlier years and there is no information on the number in the present school year. Therefore, the Committee urges the State party to adopt a human rights-based approach to disability, set up a comprehensive strategy for the inclusion of children with disabilities, ensure sufficient places for all children with disabilities in the mainstream education system and provide access to inclusive education without delays.

Situation of asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant childrenThe Committee recommends that the Netherlands ensure that all stateless children born in its territory, irrespective of residency status, have access to citizenship without any conditions. To improve the situation, the Committee recommends to ensure the availability and quality of prevention, protection, access to justice, rehabilitation and reintegration programmes, including health services and psychosocial support, free helplines and adequate shelters for victims.<br /> <br /> The Committee is concerned that the Netherlands deport children in vulnerable situations to their countries of origin where they may end up in orphanages.
Free kindergartenYes
Free primary and secondary schoolYes
physical health

The Committee welcomes the State party’s positive efforts aimed at improving children’s health and promoting a healthy lifestyle, particularly in Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten, as well as in Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba. Nevertheless, the Committee is concerned about the high incidence of infant mortality in the State party and significant numbers of overweight and obese children throughout the State party, as well as limited access to health-care services for children with low economic or social status.
To improve the situation, the Committee recommends to ensure that all children, including children without documentation, have access to basic health care free of charge without limitations owing to language.Concerning adolescent health, the Committee is concerned that large numbers of children in the State party continue to engage in tobacco, alcohol and marijuana abuse.

Relation to other countries
mental health

Regarding improvements in the mental health section, the Committee recommends to examine the diagnosis of ADHD and other behavioural specificities, and make sure that parents and children are informed about the negative effect of drug treatments for the children diagnosed. Also, the Committee suggests to undertake a study on the root causes of the increase in suicides among adolescent children and provide children at risk with easy access to necessary psychological care.

Business sector

The Committee is concerned about reports of violations of the rights of children by activities of Netherlands businesses abroad, in particular in the oil extracting industry in Nigeria and the Barro Blanco Dam construction in Panama.
In addition to that, the Committee recommends that the State party strengthen the work of labour inspectorates in order to ensure the implementation of its labour regulations, in particular to ensure that children below the age of 18 years are not allowed to work in hazardous conditions. The Committee also recommends that the State party apply sanctions against all the employers who fail to comply with the minimum age standards and other labour regulations relating to children.

Situation of juvenile justice

The Committee urges the State party to further amend the laws relating to the juvenile justice system in order to ensure that all children below the age of 18 years are treated under the juvenile justice laws irrespective of the gravity of the charges pressed upon them. Furthermore, the Committee urges the State party to ensure that children are not detained together with adults and that detention conditions comply with international standards, including with regard to access to education and health services. No child below the age of 18 years should be held in an adult penitentiary institution irrespective of the nature of the conviction.

Specific observations

The Committee is concerned about the limited opportunities for children to participate in decisions and policies that affect them, especially in the Caribbean part of the State party.

The Committee inter alia recommends to take the measures necessary to improve the quality of education, and provide quality training for teachers, in order to address differences in development among pupils appropriately. Furthermore, the Netherlands should take measures to address the root causes of school dropouts by adopting targeted policies to support and reinstate such children in the education system. Also, the Committee recommends to monitor the quality of home-schooling and ensure that such children do not lag behind their peers in regular schools.

Additional BackgroundConcluding observations on the fourth periodic reports released on 16 July 2015.
Last Updated (date)2nd of March, 2022