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Optional protocolon the involvement of children in armed conflict, on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography
Corporal punishmentCorporal Punishment is legal in in the home, alternative care settings, day care, schools and in penal institutions.
Overview of the child rights situation

The report on Zimbabwe highlights several important issues, including high levels of child and family poverty leading to malnutrition, which causes deaths. Another problem is the health care situation, for example that young people need their parents' consent to obtain contraceptives. The Committee also notes with great concern that corruption remains pervasive in the State party.

Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights

The Committee is seriously concerned about the situation of girls, in particular adolescent girls, who suffer marginalization and gender stereotyping, which compromise their educational opportunities, and who are more vulnerable to sexual violence, abuse and HIV/AIDS. Zimbabwe also has high rates of sexual violence, early pregnancies and child marriage and a restrictive abortion law.
Therefore, the Committee urges the State party to ensure that sexual and reproductive health education is part of the mandatory school curriculum and that it targets adolescent girls and boys, with special attention to improving the knowledge of and the availability of reproductive health-care services with a view to reducing teenage pregnancies and preventing HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections.

Situation of children with disabilities

The Committee is concerned that in the majority of cases, disability in children is due to preventable causes. It is further concerned that throughout the country, children with disabilities, especially those with intellectual or psychosocial impairments, are subjected to greater abuse, violence, stigma and exclusion, particularly in rural areas. In addition to that, access to inclusive education and well-trained teachers is limited and infrastructure in public places is not suitable for children with disabilities.

To improve the situation for children with disabilities, the Committee urges Zimbabwe to adopt measures to eliminate the stigmatization and exclusion of children with disabilities and prohibit such discrimination. Also, Zimbabwe should set up comprehensive measures to develop inclusive education for children with disabilities and ensure that inclusive education is given priority over the placement of children in special schools and classes.

Situation of asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant childrenThe Committee is concerned that the prolonged socioeconomic crisis in the State party has led to the migration of children to neighbouring countries, either with parents or unaccompanied, in search of employment or relatives. It is particularly concerned about the exposure of children to a number of risks along the migration routes, including sexual and physical abuse and exploitation, malnutrition and attacks by wild animals.The Committee recommends that the State party implement comprehensive measures to address the root causes of economic migration. It further recommends that the State party take measures to mitigate the effects of migration on the welfare of affected children, including through the provision of support at the local level, the training of caregivers and improved social and psychological support to affected children deprived of a family environment. The State party is encouraged to enter into bilateral agreements with neighbouring States for adequate protection of migrant children in their countries of destination.
Free kindergartenNo
Free primary and secondary schoolNo
physical health

The Committee notes with serious concern the high rates of maternal, neonatal and child mortality, as well as of stunting and malnutrition among children under the age of 5 years, with much higher rates in rural areas. It is also gravely concerned about the significant number of deaths of children under 5 years of age owing to poor hygiene, inadequate sanitation and lack of clean drinking water.

To guarantee every child the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, the Committee recommends to the State party to facilitate access to free maternal and child health services, reduce the incidence of maternal, child and infant mortality and prevent and combat malnutrition through the sufficient allocation of resources to critical nutrition interventions and access to safe drinking water and sanitation.

Relation to other countries
Impacts of climate change

The Committee is concerned about the destitution faced by displaced children and their families as a result of the flooding at the Tokwe Murkosi dam and the forced resettlement operations, in particular, the reported severe malnutrition and disease, incidences of abuse and sexual violence committed against children and disruption of education.
The Committee urges the State party to expedite redress to the families displaced owing to the flooding of the Tokwe Murkosi dam and the forced resettlement operations, including the provision of prompt and adequate compensation and the ability to return to their land, while ensuring their access to appropriate and quality educational, health-care and recreational facilities and restoration of lost birth certificates.

Business sector

The Committee is concerned about the persistence of child labour, including hazardous labour, in the State party due to weak enforcement of existing legislation and policies. The Committee is further concerned about reports of exploitation of children, particularly from low-income households, in the agriculture, forestry/hunting and fishing sectors, including low payment and long working hours.

The Committee urges Zimbabwe to ensure the implementation of the minimum age of employment, including through the use of appropriately trained labour inspectors and the application of high penalties, as provided for in legislation with regard to those who exploit children. Also, Zimbabwe should take measures to address the socioeconomic factors contributing to child labour and scale up the implementation of social welfare programmes to prevent children engaging in economic activities.

Situation of juvenile justice

The Committee is, among other things, concerned about the lack of a clear legal prohibition of life imprisonment without the possibility of release and the indeterminate sentencing of children and the recourse to whipping as a disciplinary measure for boys. To improve the situation, the Committee urges the State party to adopt a comprehensive policy for juvenile justice based on restorative practices and guided by the right of the child to have his or her best interests taken as a primary consideration and also increase the number of adequately trained professionals working in the juvenile justice system.

Specific observations

The Committee notes that the severe economic decline prevailing in the country has impacted the delivery of all services to children, and that this situation is compounded by pervasive corruption, which continues to divert resources that could enhance the implementation of the rights of children. It further acknowledges that the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the State party continues to have a negative impact on the situation of children.
The Committee is concerned about reports that children born on the territory of the State party to parents of indeterminate nationality have been denied the right to have their birth registered and to acquire Zimbabwean nationality, which has impeded their access to health care, education and other social services. It further notes the absence of legislative provisions to guarantee that children born stateless in the State party acquire a nationality.

Additional background

Concluding observations on the second periodic report released on 7 March 2016. More information about education: Education Act

Last Updated (date)2nd of March, 2022