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Corporal punishmentCorporal punishment is legal in the home, alternative care settings, day care, schools, penal institutions and as a sentence for crime.
Overview of the child rights situation

Tuvalu is a middle-income country, but it still uses too little money to effectively implement children's rights. Organizations and government institutions such as the National Advisory Committee on Children's Rights need more human, technical and financial resources, and all processes, especially budgeting, must include children. Other problems include increasing poverty and climate disasters, which threaten a healthy future. The children on the outer islands are much worse off than those living more centrally.

Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights

The Committee recommends that the State party decriminalize abortion and ensure access to safe abortion and post-abortion care services for adolescent girls, making sure that their views are always heard and given due consideration as part of the decision-making process, as well as strengthen its programmes on sexual and reproductive health education and expand them across the country, targeting adolescent girls and boys, with special attention paid to preventing early pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. Tuvalu should also provide free, confidential and adolescent-responsive sexual and reproductive health services to all adolescents.

Situation of children with disabilities

The Committee is concerned that the laws and policies regarding children do not sufficiently take into account the rights of children with disabilities. It is also concerned about the lack of information on the situation of children with disabilities and the insufficient progress made in ensuring their access to specialized health care and services and to inclusive education.
Therefore, the Committee urges the State party to harmonize national legislative and policy frameworks with the human rights model of disability to uphold the rights of children with disabilities, including by setting up a comprehensive strategy for the full inclusion of children with disabilities into society, and undertake a study on the situation of children with disabilities, including their access to services and support, and use the findings to inform the implementation of the Convention and its national legal and policy frameworks. It further urges Tuvalu to ensure access for children with disabilities, including those with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities, to inclusive education in mainstream schools, with adequately trained teachers and professionals to provide individual support to them as well as provide support and services in the community to enable families to care for children with disabilities. Tuvalu should also take measures to improve the accessibility of public buildings, facilities, services and transportation for children with disabilities to facilitate their inclusion in society on an equal basis with others.

Situation of asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant childrenNoting that international migration in the context of climate change and natural disasters may increasingly affect children, the Committee recommends that the State party consider developing legislation, policies and programmes governing the international migration of children that take into account the rights and needs of children.
Free kindergartenNot clear
Free primary and secondary schoolYes
Digital possibilitiesThe Committee is seriously concerned that child sexual abuse material and the exploitation of children online are still not prohibited by law and the cybercrime bill has not yet been adopted.
physical health

While welcoming the decline in infant and under-5 mortality rates, the high coverage of pre- and postnatal health care for mothers and the efforts to deploy medical personnel on every island, the Committee remains concerned about the disparities in health services between Funafuti and the other islands and at the reliance on government-funded overseas treatment schemes, which leads to less budget funding being allocated to strengthening the State party’s primary and preventive health-care system. The Committee is also concerned that anaemia is affecting 61 per cent of children under 5 years of age, alongside 29 per cent of pregnant women.
To guarantee every child the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, the Committee recommends that the State party strengthen and expand its primary and preventive health-care system, and address disparities between the islands in access to quality health care and services, including by allocating sufficient financial resources and ensuring the availability of qualified health-care staff across the country. It also recommends to strengthen measures to eliminate preventable infant and under-5 mortality and undertake a study on the causes of anaemia among young children and pregnant women and, based on the findings, formulate and implement programmes to address the issue, and inform the Committee of the outcomes in the next periodic report.

Relation to other countries
Impacts of climate change

The Committee recommends that the State party ensure that the special vulnerabilities and needs of children, as well as their views, are taken into account in developing policies and programmes addressing the issues of climate change and disaster risk management and that Tuvalu collect disaggregated data identifying the types of risk faced by children in the occurrence of a variety of disasters, in order to formulate international, regional and national policies, frameworks and agreements accordingly. Tuvalu should also strengthen the implementation of national policies for sustainable safe water supplies and sanitation, including the sustainable and integrated water and sanitation policy, with a view to increasing access to sufficient safe drinking water and providing adequate sanitation, including in the outer islands and strengthen measures to increase children’s awareness and preparedness for climate change and natural disasters, including by strengthening climate change education in schools across the country. In addition, Tuvalu should provide opportunities for children to effectively participate in discussions and decision-making related to climate action.

Situation of juvenile justice

The Committee notes the low number of cases in which children under 18 years of age have been formally charged with offences under the Penal Code, mainly owing to conflicts being addressed through community mediation. However, the Committee is concerned that cases of child offenders are dealt with in the general criminal justice system without the protections provided by the Convention.
To improve the situation, the Committee urges the State party to provide systematic training for judges, prosecutors, police officers and other professionals on the provisions of the Convention. It also recommends to expedite the coming into force of the child welfare and protection bill and enforce its child justice provisions that explicitly prohibit the corporal punishment and life imprisonment of child offenders.

Specific observations

The Committee is concerned about the low rates of birth registration, especially in the outer islands, the fees imposed on late registrations, the lack of effective measures to ensure the registration of the births of children of unmarried parents and the low level of public awareness of the importance of birth registration.
The Committee recommends that the State party intensify its efforts to ensure that all children in its territory, including the children of unmarried parents and children in the outer islands, have access to birth registration, including through setting up mobile registration units, abolishing all birth registration fees and raising awareness among the general public of the importance of birth registration.

Additional background

Concluding observations on the second to fifth periodic reports released on 31 March 2020. More information about education: Situation of children in Tuvalu

Last Updated (date)23rd of February, 2022