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Optional protocolon the involvement of children in armed conflict, on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography
ViolenceTo overcome abuse and neglect, the Committee recommends to establish an easily accessible mechanism for children and others to report cases of abuse and neglect, ensuring the necessary protection for such victims and facilitate the physical and psychological rehabilitation of child victims and ensure they have access to health services, including mental health services. Further, the Committee recommends that the State party ensure that all professionals and staff working with and for children are provided with the necessary training on how to prevent and monitor domestic violence as well as receive, investigate and prosecute complaints about such violence in a child- and gender-sensitive manner.
Corporal punishmentCorporal Punishment is legal in the home, alternative care settings, day care, schools and penal institutions.
Overview of the child rights situation

The report from Timor-Leste shows many positive examples of how the country is implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child under the difficult post-independence conditions, such as efforts to ensure respect for the views of the child and the mainstreaming approach to implementing the best interests of the child. Timor-Leste has also been successful in implementing education for all by making primary education free, resulting in 20% more primary school students attending school since the war. Problems exist in the health sector, where many children have not received all their vaccinations and there are not enough trained personnel, and there is also room for improvement in the area of juvenile justice.

Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights

The Committee is concerned about the high teenage pregnancy rate, which is linked to the prevalence of child marriage in the State party, limited knowledge of reproductive health, and social and cultural barriers that prevent adolescents from seeking reproductive health information and services. It is also concerned about the insufficient coverage of and access by adolescents to sexual reproductive health services, including for the prevention of HIV and sexually transmitted infections.
To improve the situation, the Committee recommends that the State party develop awareness-raising campaigns and programmes on the harmful effects of early pregnancy and promote age-appropriate sex education targeted at adolescents as well as the wider community, with special attention paid to the prevention of teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.

Racism, children belonging to a minority and indigenous childrenThe Committee recommends to increase access to, retention in and completion of basic education through inclusive and better-quality education, in particular for children who are members of minority linguistic groups.
Situation of children with disabilities

The Committee is concerned that children with disabilities lack access to education and health care and are not integrated effectively in all areas of social life. There is also a lack of statistical data concerning children with disabilities in the State party and there are not enough adequate facilities such as schools and sports facilities. To improve the situation, 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 and strengthen support for caregivers of children with disabilities, including by providing counselling, training and stipend.
Timor-Leste should also ensure that trainings are provided for professionals working with children with disabilities, and that mechanisms are in place to monitor the performance of care providers. The Committee further urges the State party to strengthen the collection of data and take all measures necessary to ensure that children with disabilities are integrated fully into all areas of social life, including accessible schools.

Free kindergartenNot clear
Free primary and secondary schoolNot clear
physical health

The Committee commends the State party for its commitment to providing access to primary health care free to all nationals of the State party. It also commends the reduction in the under-5 mortality rate and efforts to address the number of children classified as stunted, wasted and underweight, the improvements in the nutritional status of children overall, and the vaccination coverage of children.
To guarantee every child the right to the highest attainable standard of health, the Committee recommends that the State party continue to strengthen efforts to ensure the provision of adequate financial and human resources and improve training and access to health-care professionals and midwives for childbirth. Timor-Leste should also continue targeted interventions to prevent the stunting, wasting and undernourishment of children. It should also implement the electronic child-tracking system to ensure that all children are registered for immunization. The Committee further recommends to strengthen efforts and increase resources to ensure that homes, schools and other public facilities have adequate safe drinking water, basic sanitation and hygiene facilities, and raise awareness about open defecation and proper sanitation and hand washing practices.

Relation to other countries
mental health

The Committee is concerned that there is limited access to mental health care and psychosocial rehabilitation for children, especially for those who were exposed to violence, including sexual violence and harassment, abuse and neglect.
The Committee recommends that the State party strengthen existing quality services and programmes of mental health for children and, in particular, take measures to increase the number of specialists in children’s mental health. Furthermore, the Committee recommends that the State party ensure adequate facilities and outpatient services for psychosocial rehabilitation and ensure that all professionals working with children are trained to identify and address mental health problems.

Impacts of climate change

The Committee is concerned about the high levels of indoor air pollution resulting from traditional cooking practices. It recommends to strengthen measures to introduce clean cooking technologies and raise awareness about the links between respiratory illnesses and the use of firewood in traditional cooking practices, and reduce reliance on firewood, including by subsidizing the cost of cooking fuel.

Business sector

The Committee is concerned about the high number of children involved in labour, the majority of whom are found in agriculture, construction, domestic service, street and market vending and prostitution, as well as the situation of children forced to work as servants to settle outstanding debts of their families.
The Committee recommends that the State party take measures to prevent children from being economically exploited by adopting legislation and policies to address child labour in both the formal and informal sectors, in particular by prohibiting the procuring or offering of a child for all illicit activities, including bonded labour, as well as dangerous work. Also, the State party should continue to raise awareness about the negative consequences of child labour through public educational programmes, including campaigns organized in cooperation with opinion leaders, families and the media.

Situation of juvenile justice

The Committee notes the information in the report of the State party that the juvenile justice regime is currently undergoing significant review and reform. However, the Committee is concerned about the insufficient capacity and specialized training of personnel in child justice administration and the lack of data on legal assistance provided to children in conflict with the law and children held in police stations and pretrial detention. It is further concerned about the grouping together of juveniles and adult prisoners at the Becora prison, and the lack of a single juvenile centre.
The Committee urges the State party to bring its juvenile justice system into line with the Convention and, in particular, recommends that the State party adopt a holistic and preventive approach to addressing the problem of children in conflict with the law and the 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. Timor-Leste should also ensure, in cases where detention is unavoidable, that adequate facilities exist for children in conflict with the law, that 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 welcomes the information in the report of the State party concerning efforts to increase birth registration through the expansion of birth registration offices, the establishment of an online registry and mobile birth registration, as well as through the national campaign for the registration of children. The Committee is concerned, however, about the number of children who are not registered or are registered late, and about barriers to registration, in particular regarding children in rural areas and costs for documents. The Committee recommends that the State party strengthen efforts to ensure that all children are provided with birth certificates free of charge, including through mobile units and outreach programmes in remote areas of the State party, raise awareness of the importance of birth registration and adopt and implement the draft civil registry code.

Additional background

Concluding observations on the second and third periodic reports released on 30 October 2015. More information about education in Timor-Leste: http://uis.unesco.org

Last Updated (date)2nd of March, 2022