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Timor-Leste

CountryTimor-Leste
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.
Safety
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.

Discrimination
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.

Education
Free kindergartenNot clear
Free primary and secondary schoolNot clear
Health
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

Singapore

CountrySingapore
Optional protocolon the involvement of children in armed conflict
Safety
Corporal punishmentCorporal Punishment is legal in the home, alternative care settings, some day care, schools, penal institutions, as a sentence for crime and in military service.
Overview of the child rights situation

The report from Singapore addresses a wide range of discrimination and shows that Singapore has already come a long way in implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. However, health is completely missing from the report, and corporal punishment is widespread and even applied by the state.

Situation of intersexual and transsexual childrenThe Committee recommends that Singapore combat discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex children, including by decriminalizing consensual same-sex sexual acts, implementing awareness-raising and educational activities for children, families and the public and providing sensitivity training for the relevant professionals, so that children are encouraged to report cases of discrimination and violence and reported cases are promptly and appropriately addressed.
Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights

The Committee welcomes the information that sex education is compulsory in schools but is concerned that it emphasizes abstinence, contains limited information on contraception and prevention of sexually transmitted infections and lacks a gender perspective. To improve the situation, the Committee recommends that the State party adopt a comprehensive sexual and reproductive health policy for adolescents and ensure that the education is gender sensitive, does not discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex children and includes the use of contraception, including emergency contraception, and care and treatment of sexually transmitted infections.

Discrimination
Racism, children belonging to a minority and indigenous childrenThe Committee recommends that the State party strengthen its efforts to provide equal opportunities for children of minority groups, in particular the Malay, and that it remove all policies that disadvantage or discriminate against minorities.
Situation of children with disabilities

While the Committee welcomes the inclusion of all children with moderate to severe special education needs in the Compulsory Education Act, it remains concerned at the insufficient quantitative and qualitative data on children with disabilities and their needs, that some children with disabilities are still not fully included in the education system, the persistence of discriminatory attitudes and behaviours against children with disabilities and that non-Singaporean children with disabilities enjoy less protection than their Singaporean peers. Therefore, the Committee recommends that the State party collect and analyse qualitative and quantitative data on children with disabilities and their special needs and use them for the development of relevant policies and programmes as well as strengthen the implementation of the policy of inclusive education in schools and increase the number of places in preschool for children with moderate to severe special educational needs, without discrimination of any kind. Singapore should further increase the number of teachers and professionals trained on a human rights-based approach in integrated classes that provide individual support and due attention to children with learning difficulties. The Committee further recommends that the State party strengthen awareness-raising campaigns targeting government officials, the public and families to combat stigma attached to and prejudice against children with disabilities and promote a positive image of children with disabilities.

Situation of asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant childrenWhile taking note of the State party’s arguments against amending its immigration laws, the Committee remains concerned that children whose parents’ immigration, employment or housing status is uncertain face insecurity and may be at risk of separation or deportation. The Committee urges the State party to reconsider its position.
Education
Free kindergartenNo
Free primary and secondary schoolNo
Health
Relation to other countries
Business sector

While taking note of the information that economic exploitation of children is low in the State party due to its strong legal safeguards, the Committee is concerned that the State party has not taken sufficient steps to provide a framework for national and international enterprises under its jurisdiction to report in all areas that may affect children’s rights. The Committee recommends that the State party establish and implement regulations to ensure that the business sector complies with international and national human rights, labour, environmental and other standards, particularly with regard to children’s rights. Inter alia, it recommends that the State party establish a clear regulatory framework for companies operating in the State party to ensure that their activities do not negatively affect human rights or endanger environmental and other standards, especially those relating to children’s rights. It should also ensure effective implementation by companies, especially industrial companies, of international and national environment and health standards, effective monitoring of the implementation of those standards and the imposition of appropriate sanctions and provision of remedies when violations occur, and that appropriate international certification is sought.

Situation of juvenile justice

The Committee is seriously concerned that children aged between 16 and 18 years are still treated as adults in the criminal justice system and may be sentenced to life imprisonment and there is no child-specific pretrial detention limit.
The Committee urges the State party to bring its juvenile justice system fully into line with the Convention and other relevant international standards. It recommends that the State party abolish the sentence of life imprisonment for children under the age of 18 and promptly review the files of all prisoners serving a life sentence for crimes committed when under 18 years of age, with a view to ensuring their early release and ensure that children currently sentenced to life imprisonment receive education, treatment and care aimed at their release, reintegration and ability to play a constructive role in society. Singapore should further ensure that pretrial detention of children is applied only as a measure of last resort and that its application is subject to strict time limitations and regular review by a judge.

Specific observations

The Committee is concerned that the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly are severely restricted in the State party and subject to undue limitations, with serious repercussions on the rights of children to freely express themselves, including on the Internet. The Committee urges the State party to review its laws and policies, in order to ensure full respect for the rights and freedoms guaranteed to children under the Convention, and that any restrictions to those rights fully comply with international standards.

In line with its general comment No. 11 (2009) on indigenous children and their rights under the Convention, the Committee recommends that the State party strengthen its efforts to provide equal opportunities for children of minority groups, in particular the Malay, and that it removes all policies that disadvantage or discriminate against minorities.

Additional background

Concluding observations on the fourth and fifth periodic reports released on 28 June 2019. The Committee regrets the State party’s position not to withdraw any of its declarations to articles 12 to 17, 19 and 37 and reservations to articles 7, 9, 10, 22, 28 and 32 of the Convention. More information about education in Singapore: https://www.moe.gov.sg

Last Updated (date)2nd of March, 2022

Brunei

CountryBrunei
Optional protocolon the involvement of children in armed conflict, on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography
ViolenceThe Committee recommends that the State party collect disaggregated data about the sexual abuse of and violence against children, including the number of complaints, reports to the police, investigations, prosecutions, sentences and sanctions.
Safety
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

The report from Brunei shows that much remains to be done to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The most serious violations that need to be addressed immediately are the use of whipping against boys as a state instrument and the fact that female circumcision is only prohibited in severe forms.

Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights

The Committee is deeply concerned at the persistence of the practice of female circumcision, which is not regarded by the State party as a form of female genital mutilation. The Committee is also concerned that that practice is prohibited and prosecuted only in its severe form and that a large number of girls are victims of female circumcision/female genital mutilation. The Committee urges the State party to fully adopt legislation to fully prohibit and criminalize the practice of female genital mutilation, including female circumcision and cutting, in all its forms.
The Committee further urges the State party to take effective measures to prevent and combat the practice of child marriage, including all necessary legislative measures, as well as to develop awareness-raising campaigns and programmes on the harmful effects of early marriage on the physical and mental health and well-being of girls, targeting households, local authorities, religious leaders, judges and prosecutors.

Discrimination
Situation of children with disabilities

There is a lack of reliable disaggregated data on children with disabilities in Brunei and thereby an absence of specific information on initiatives and programmes for the rehabilitation and reintegration of children with disabilities, particularly those children suffering from multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination.
The Committee is also concerned that a number of children with disabilities are deprived of education and that most schools are not accessible and do not provide inclusive education.
To improve the situation, the Committee urges the State party to develop an efficient system for the early detection and diagnosis of disability and ensure that all children with disabilities have access to education, give priority to inclusive education in mainstream schools over special schooling and allocate adequate human, financial and technical resources for schools to effectively strengthen inclusive education.

Situation of asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant childrenThe State Party endeavours to naturalize and assimilate a large number of stateless permanent residents. The Committee is, however, concerned at the lack of disaggregated data available on the number of stateless persons and children. It is also concerned that barriers remain for the naturalization of the majority of stateless persons, in particular stateless children, in Brunei. The Committee recommends that the State party provide birth registration and access to basic rights, such as health and education, to all stateless children and their families on the State party’s territory, irrespective of their legal status. It further recommends to establish a comprehensive and systematic mechanism for the collection of data on stateless children and ensure that the data are disaggregated.
Education
Free kindergartenNo
Free primary and secondary schoolYes
Health
physical health

The Committee is concerned at the shortage of qualified local health personnel in the State party, which has a negative impact on the health of children. To guarantee every child the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, the Committee recommends that the State party allocate sufficient financial and human resources to health services, particularly child health and nutrition, providing effective access to trained and qualified health-care personnel.
Concerning adolescent health, the Committee is deeply concerned at the criminalization of abortion. The Committee is also concerned at the absence of sexual and reproductive health education and services. It recommends to decriminalize abortions, adopt a comprehensive sexual and reproductive health policy for adolescents and ensure that sexual and reproductive health education is part of the mandatory school curriculum and targeted at adolescent girls and boys, with special attention to preventing early pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

Relation to other countries
mental health

The Committee recommends that the State party take measures to ensure that adolescents have access to mental health counselling services.

Business sector

The Committee is concerned at the absence of a list of hazardous work in which children should not be involved. The Committee urges the State party to enforce its national legislation to ensure that child labour, including in the informal sector and in family businesses, is in full compliance with international standards, as well as to ensure the full protection of children against all forms of sexual, physical and psychological harassment. The Committee also recommends that the State party explicitly prohibit the employment of children in hazardous work, including exploitative domestic work, as well as establish a list of hazardous work in which children should not be involved. It also recommends to strengthen the implementation of labour laws by establishing labour inspections, including in the informal sector, and ensuring that anyone violating legislation on child labour is held accountable.

Situation of juvenile justice

The Committee remains deeply concerned that no progress has been made towards the abolishment of the sentence of whipping for boys. Furthermore, the Committee is concerned at the lack of adequate training for probation officers working with children.
Therefore, the Committee urges the State party to bring its juvenile justice system fully into line with the Convention and other relevant standards and raise without delay the minimum age of criminal responsibility to an internationally acceptable standard and abolish the sentence of whipping/flogging for boys. The Committee also urges Brunei to ensure that staff working with children, in particular probation officers, specialized judges, legal representatives and social workers, are provided with appropriate training.

Specific observations

The Committee remains concerned that, despite measures taken by the State party to ensure the registration at birth of all children, there are considerable disparities in birth registration in rural and urban areas, and that children in migration circumstances, including irregular migration, as well as children in Kampong Ayer (the “water village”) are not always registered at birth. The Committee remains concerned about the lack of information regarding the practical implementation of the right of the child to express his or her views in judicial and administrative proceedings as well as to participate in the formulation and implementation of policies and programmes affecting him or her.

The Committee is deeply concerned that the State party imposes several measures limiting the observance of religions other than Islam, prohibiting public celebration of Christmas, Chinese New Year and other festivities. The Committee urges the State party to amend its national legislation in order to effectively guarantee the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion of children of all beliefs. The Committee further urges the State party to take all measures necessary, including awareness-raising and public education campaigns, to combat intolerance on the grounds of religion or belief. Additionally, the Committee urges the State party to promote religious dialogue in society, ensure that religious teachings promote tolerance and understanding among children of all communities and religious and non-religious backgrounds and combat every kind of social pressure on children to adhere to the rules of a religion with which they are not affiliated. The Committee also urges the State party to revise its school curricula in order to exempt children belonging to religions other than Islam from the mandatory course on Islamic religious knowledge.

Additional background

Concluding observations on the second and third periodic reports released on 24 February 2016. The Committee encourages the State party to accelerate the review process with a view to withdrawing its reservations to articles 14, 20 (3) and 21 (b)-(e) of the Convention.

More information about education: World data on education

Last Updated (date)2nd of March, 2022

Central African Republic

CountryCentral African Republic
Optional protocolon the involvement of children in armed conflict, on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography
Safety
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 of the Central African Republic shows that the country still has a lot to do in order to implement the Convention and guarantee all children their rights. A major problem are armed conflicts in which children are recruited or injured by fighting. The country has also taken in a large number of refugees, including minors, but they cannot be adequately cared for. The country is very poor and lacks a good public infrastructure in education and health care.

Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights

The Committee is seriously concerned about the very high percentage of child marriages and the prevalent practice of genital mutilation of girls, which is predominant in rural areas. The Committee is also concerned that an abductor or kidnapper may marry the abducted or kidnapped girl and that as a wife she does not have the right to file a legal complaint, which is required for prosecution.
To improve the situation, the Committee urges the State party to take the measures necessary to strictly enforce the legal provisions criminalizing the genital mutilation of girls, including by making the national committee against female genital mutilation operational, and by developing and implementing education and awareness-raising programmes, involving local officials, law enforcement officers, community leaders, women and the media, to address social norms and rites that are harmful to girls.

Discrimination
Racism, children belonging to a minority and indigenous childrenThe Committee welcomes the measures taken by the State party to protect the rights of pygmy children, but is concerned about their still limited access to birth registration, identity documents, health and educational services and the persistently high rates of infant mortality and malnutrition among pygmy children.<br /> To improve the situation, the Committee urges the State party to develop a national action plan to decrease the infant mortality and malnutrition rates of pygmy children, with the participation of pygmy communities and children, in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures related to them. Also, the State party should provide all pygmy children with birth certificates and identity documents and promote their access to health and education services as well as develop a public awareness campaign on the rights of pygmy children to address negative social attitudes towards them.
Situation of children with disabilities

The Committee is concerned about the fact that most children with disabilities do not attend school and that pervasive poverty and extensive armed violence have exacerbated the discrimination and exclusion already faced by these children and further limited their access to adequate care and assistance. The Committee is further concerned that the number of children with impairments due to armed conflict has increased.
To improve the situation, the Committee urges the State party to take urgent measures to elaborate and implement specific programmes for children with disabilities aimed at enhancing their social inclusion, and ensure in particular their access to health and social services, inclusive education and vocational training. Furthermore, the State party should establish a system for collecting data on children with disabilities in order to design inclusion policies and also ensure that children with disabilities have access to social protection and poverty reduction programmes.

Situation of asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant childrenThe Committee appreciates that despite the difficult economic, political and security context, the State party has continued to host and integrate refugee and asylum-seeking children, and the Committee welcomes the measures taken to provide health care and education to children in camps for refugees and internally displaced persons. The Committee is however seriously concerned that almost 500,000 of the State party’s nationals are refugees in neighbouring countries, while another 500,000 are internally displaced, representing about one fifth of the population living away from their usual place of residence. The Committee is further concerned about refugee and internally displaced children, who may have been or are at risk of being recruited and/or used in hostilities and/or sexually abused by armed groups.
Education
Free kindergartenNo
Free primary and secondary schoolNo
Health
physical health

The Committee is deeply concerned about the extremely high mortality rate of children due to preventable diseases, such as malnutrition, malaria, respiratory infections and diarrhoea, and notes that this alarming situation is further exacerbated by the security crisis and armed conflict. The Central African Republic also has an insufficient number of vaccination centres and inadequate resources available to the existing ones. Also of concern is the fact that only children who are family members of civil servants, or private sector employees who have contributed, have access to social security.

Relation to other countries
mental health

The Committee is seriously concerned about the lack of mental health services to provide support to children affected by conflict and armed violence. Therefore, the Committee urges the State party to establish a mental health programme dedicated to children, in particular those affected by conflict and armed violence, and develop a system of psychosocial support and assistance for children who are internally displaced, refugees and returnees, addressing their special recovery needs after the traumatic experiences of war.

Business sector

The Committee is concerned about the absence of a national plan or regulation on business and human rights and the impact of the business sector, in particular mining and agriculture, on children’s rights.
The Committee recommends that the State party establish and implement regulations to ensure that the business sector, in particular mining and agriculture, complies with international human rights, labour and environmental law with regard to children’s rights.

Situation of juvenile justice

The Committee is concerned about the detention and imprisonment of children with adults and the lack of rehabilitation and reintegration services.
The Committee urges the State party to bring its juvenile justice system fully into line with the Convention and other relevant standards, and in particular to ensure 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. Furthermore, the State party should train judges on children’s rights and establish juvenile justice procedures.

In addition, the Committee is concerned about the very limited measures taken by the State party to protect and assist child witnesses and victims of crime and therefore recommends that the State party ensure that all child victims and/or witnesses of crime receive the protection provided for in the Convention.

Specific observations

The Committee notes the severe impact of the political and security crisis affecting the State party and the difficulties faced in bringing an end to incidents of extreme violence between armed groups, which have led and continue to lead to severe violations of children’s rights, and constitute a serious obstacle to the implementation of the rights enshrined in the Convention. The Committee notes the large movements of refugees and internally displaced people, as well as the serious economic problems faced by the State party, which are a further impediment to the implementation of children’s rights.

Additionally, the Committee is seriously concerned about the very high child mortality rate, the deaths and maiming of hundreds of children by the ex-Séléka and associated armed groups and the anti-Balaka elements, and the thousands of children displaced by the armed conflict.

Additional BackgroundConcluding observations on the second periodic report released on 8 march 2017.
Last Updated (date)2nd of March, 2022

DR Congo

CountryDR Congo
Optional protocolon the involvement of children in armed conflict, on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography
ViolenceThe Committee expresses its deep concern that the rate of sexual violence against children, notably rape, reportedly remains high, and that rape and other types of sexual violence against women and children are used as weapons of war in conflict-affected areas of the country. Also, children surviving sexual violence receive little access to health care, psychological support and compensation and perpetrators of rape and sexual violence against children enjoy impunity.In order to improve the situation, the Committee urges the State party to develop a national plan of action to combat sexual violence and sexual abuse against children, both by civilians and in the context of the armed conflict. In addition, the State party should conduct a study on the extent and forms of sexual violence against children and sexual abuse of children, both by civilians and in the context of armed conflict, and collect disaggregated data on gender-based violence against girls, as well as on the number of complaints, prosecutions and convictions.
Safety
Corporal punishmentCorporal Punishment is legal in the home, alternative care settings, day care and penal institutions.
Overview of the child rights situation

The report of the Democratic Republic of the Congo points out clearly that the views of children are not sufficiently heard.
In addition, the Committee notes that less than half of the population and an even greater number of children do not have access to potable water and only one-fifth of the population has access to sanitation and hygiene. The State Party must make more efforts to overcome child poverty. Many children also experience violence emanating the state or through armed conflicts.

Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights

The Committee is concerned about the continued practice of female genital mutilation in some parts of the country, in particular in Mweso, North Kivu, which remains largely unreported. The Committee also urges the State party to put an end to the practice of female genital mutilation by raising awareness of the harmful effects of the practice and bringing to justice those who carry out the practice and those who collaborate with such practitioners.

Discrimination
Situation of children with disabilities

The vast majority of children with disabilities face discrimination and have limited access to services, including health and education services. Children with mental disabilities, namely intellectual and psychosocial disabilities, are confined to psychiatric clinics. To improve the situation, the Committee recommends that the Democratic Republic of the Congo implement inclusive education for all children with disabilities in mainstream schools and provide training for professional staff working with children with disabilities, such as medical, paramedical and related personnel, teachers and social workers.

Situation of asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant childrenIn view of the fact that large numbers of children continue to be internally displaced owing to the armed conflict in the eastern part of the country and the significant numbers of refugees arriving from neighbouring countries, the Committee recommends that the State party strengthen its efforts to ensure that all refugees and displaced persons, particularly children, are provided with adequate and appropriate assistance, including food, medical and psychological care and access to education. The Committee further recommends that the State party establish a coherent database and national programmes for refugee and internally displaced children, with a view to ensuring full protection of their rights.
Education
Free kindergartenNo
Free primary and secondary schoolNo
Health
physical health

As budgetary resources for the health sector remain very low and access to health and health services is made difficult by poor infrastructure and equipment, the poor quality of services and the lack of qualified personnel, as well as the fact that children continue to suffer from malnutrition and the effects of inadequate immunization, the Committee recommends that the State party increase its allocation of resources for primary health care to make it both accessible and affordable. Furthermore, the Committee recommends that the State party strengthen its efforts to improve immunization rates, particularly through the proper functioning of the cold chain and through increased and better dissemination of information on vaccination campaigns.

Relation to other countries
Impacts of climate change

Extractive industries continue to cause the destruction of lands, ecosystems and the livelihoods of families, in particular indigenous families with children, and forcing them into situations of internal displacement. Therefore, the Committee recommends that the State party establish and implement regulations to ensure that extractive industries comply with international and national human rights, labour, environment and other standards.

Business sector

Given that large numbers of children, including indigenous children, continue to be exploited in the extractive industries in extremely hazardous conditions, mainly in the east of the country, with high risk to their lives, health and development, as well as in the informal sector, the Committee urges the State party to eliminate all forms of exploitation of child labour, especially in extractive industries, and take measures to investigate, prosecute and punish those who are responsible, as well as raise public awareness of the harmful effects of such labour and child labour in general on children’s health and development.

Situation of juvenile justice

While noting the establishment of a police unit responsible for protecting children, given the fact that children, especially those suspected of association with armed groups, are ill-treated by the police and detained in dire conditions, the Committee recommends that the State party take the measures necessary to prevent, and protect children from, ill-treatment in detention centres.

To improve the situation, the Committee urges the State party to bring its juvenile justice system fully into line with the Convention and ensure the provision of free, qualified and independent legal aid to children in conflict with the law at an early stage of the procedure and throughout the legal proceedings. Also, in cases where detention is unavoidable, the Committee urges the State party to 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. Furthermore, the Committee urges the State party to ensure that children are protected and not affected in the anti-crime campaigns of the State party and provide physical and psychological rehabilitation for victims of such campaigns.

Specific observations

The Committee takes note of the information provided by the State party regarding the establishment of the national identification office, which will be tasked with providing all Congolese nationals with identification, but expresses its grave concern that, at the moment, rates of birth registration remain extremely low and continue to decrease, especially in North Kivu, rendering children vulnerable to statelessness and limiting their access to social benefits and services. The Committee is also concerned at reports that such low rates are due to the lack of information provided to parents on the importance of birth registration, the negligence of parents, the long distances that must be travelled to access civil registration offices, which are under resourced, slow administrative processes, the associated hidden costs for parents and caregivers, and continuous armed conflicts, which lead to a constant movement of the population in affected areas.

Additional background

Concluding observations on the third to fifth periodic reports released on 28 February 2017. More information about education: Constitution de la Republique du Congo

Last Updated (date)2nd of March, 2022

Seychelles

CountrySeychelles
Optional protocolon the involvement of children in armed conflict, on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, on a Communication Procedure
Safety
Corporal punishmentCorporal Punishment is prohibited
Overview of the child rights situation

There are some interesting points in the Seychelles report, which differ from the reports of other countries. For example, very general forms of discrimination based on "race" or "gender" are listed here, while other reports were much more specific. The report is also very short, whether it is due to missing data or due to something else that is not mentioned. Especially the chapter on children with disabilities is very short. Also, no information on the general living situation for children is given. The topic of climate protection, which affects the Seychelles as an island particularly strongly, is not mentioned either.

Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights

There is a sex-discriminatory provision on "carnal knowledge" in the Penal Code, which should be deleted. Concerning the improvement of reproductive health, the Committee recommends that the State party take all necessary measures to educate children, adolescents and their families about HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, as well as about the negative consequences of early pregnancy and abortions, especially abortions carried out at home. Seychelles should also strengthen its adolescent reproductive health programmes, including life skills education to foster responsible parenthood and sexual behaviour, paying particular attention to boys, continue to allow access to contraceptives for adolescents under the age of 18 years and provide a legal basis to ensure access to comprehensive health services, confidential counselling and support for pregnant adolescent girls.

Discrimination
Racism, children belonging to a minority and indigenous childrenThe Committee urges the State party to specifically prohibit discrimination on the basis of the child’s or his or her parent’s or legal guardian’s race.
Situation of children with disabilities

The Committee recommends that the State party continue integrating children with disabilities into the mainstream school system and building the capacity, including through training, of primary and secondary school teachers for inclusive education of children with disabilities and for education of children with special needs.

Situation of asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant childrenThe Committee recommends to establish a national legislative asylum framework that includes procedures for refugee-status determination, to ensure that children in need of international protection and their families have prompt and effective access to fair and efficient asylum procedures and to registration and identity documents. Further, the Committee recommends to ensure that the best interests of asylum-seeking and refugee children are taken as a primary consideration in all decisions and agreements.
Education
Free kindergartenYes
Free primary and secondary schoolYes
Health
physical health

While noting the almost universal immunization coverage of children and the improvements to the State party’s health infrastructure, the Committee recommends that the State party effectively implement existing programmes aimed at reducing mortality rates and seek financial and technical assistance in this regard from, among others, UNICEF and the World Health Organization. Concerning drug and substance abuse, the Committee recommends that the State party strengthen its measures to address drug use by children and adolescents by, inter alia, providing children and adolescents with accurate and objective information and life skills education on preventing substance abuse, including tobacco and alcohol, and developing accessible and youth-friendly drug dependence treatment and harm-reduction services.

Relation to other countries
Business sector

The Committee, inter alia, recommends that the State party establish a clear regulatory framework for the industries operating in the State party, in particular the tourism, fishing and farming industries, to ensure that their activities do not negatively affect children’s rights or endanger environmental and other standards. The Seychelles should also ensure effective implementation by companies of international and national environmental and health standards and effective monitoring of the implementation of these standards. Furthermore, the Committee recommends that the State party appropriately sanction and provide remedies for any violations that occur, as well as ensure that appropriate international certification is sought.

Situation of juvenile justice

The Committee urges the State party to bring its juvenile justice system fully into line with the Convention and other relevant standards, and recommends that the State party ensure the provision of qualified and independent legal aid to children in conflict with the law at an early stage of and throughout legal proceedings, and also ensure that the juvenile justice system is equipped with adequate human, technical and financial resources and that designated specialized judges for children receive appropriate training.

Specific observations

The Committee remains deeply concerned that no law has been enacted to ensure the right of children born out of wedlock to know their biological father and that the State party considers implementing the Committee’s recommendations to be difficult, owing to sociocultural aspects. The Committee is also concerned that the Citizenship Act does not provide for the acquisition of citizenship of the State party by children born to unknown parents or abandoned by their parents on the territory of the State party, a situation which may render them stateless.

Additional background

Concluding observations on the fifth and sixth periodic reports released on 5 March 2018.
More information about education: Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to education

Last Updated (date)2nd of March, 2022

Turkmenistan

CountryTurkmenistan
Optional protocolon the involvement of children in armed conflict, on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography
Safety
Corporal punishmentCorporal Punishment is prohibited.
Overview of the child rights situation

The report from Turkmenistan is very short and does not include information on child labour and refugee/migrant children. In the near future, Turkmenistan will need to work on making it easier for children, especially girls, to express their opinions. Improvements are also necessary in the area of juvenile justice.

Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights

The Committee is concerned at the State party’s limited efforts to tackle discrimination against girls and to modify or eliminate stereotypes and negative traditional values and practices. The Committee therefore recommends to undertake comprehensive public education and awareness-raising campaigns, in particular in rural areas, to prevent and combat negative societal attitudes, including discrimination, based on, inter alia, sex, gender, nationality, ethnicity or religion.

Discrimination
Racism, children belonging to a minority and indigenous childrenThe Committee recommends that the State party adopt legislative and administrative measures to prevent and eliminate disparities in the enjoyment by children of their rights, as well as discriminatory attitudes against certain groups of children, in particular girls and children belonging to national minorities. Turkmenistan should also guarantee the right to education in their mother tongue for children belonging to national minorities and abolish restrictions in that regard.
Situation of children with disabilities

The Committee notes as positive the efforts of the State party to provide children with disabilities with inclusive education, inter alia, through the creation of a network of “child-friendly schools”. However, the Committee is concerned that information is lacking with regard to the community-based rehabilitation programmes and home-based care for children with disabilities. Also, children with disabilities reaching the age of 16 are treated as adults for the purpose of disability allowances or other forms of support. Professionals such as psychologists and social workers are not adequately trained to support the needs of children with disabilities.
Therefore, the Committee urges the State party to adopt a human rights-based approach to disability and to develop community-based rehabilitation programmes and home-based care, with a view to reducing the institutionalization of children with disabilities. It also urges Turkmenistan to accelerate its efforts towards the inclusive education of children with disabilities and extend the network of “child-friendly schools” and ensure that the staff are sufficiently and appropriately trained. Turkmenistan should also make the child disability allowances payable up to the age of 18 and ensure that adequate human, technical and financial resources are allocated to alternative care centres and relevant child-protection services.

Education
Free kindergartenYes
Free primary and secondary schoolYes
Digital possibilitiesWhile welcoming the entry into force on 4 January 2013 of the Mass Media Act, which prohibits censorship and guarantees the right to access information and international mass media, and also welcoming the sharp increase in the numbers of Internet users, the Committee remains concerned about the possible effects of the reported strict monitoring by the State of the use of the Internet on children’s right to access appropriate information, the limited availability of international media and the lack of independence of the national media.The Committee recommends that the State party take steps to expand and to guarantee children’s access to appropriate information, including through free access to the Internet and to international media, while ensuring the independence of the national media.
Health
physical health

The Committee is concerned at reports of the insufficient number of family doctors, nurses and midwifes, in particular in rural areas, the lack of medicines and the acute need to improve the knowledge and skills of medical personnel.
To guarantee every child the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, the Committee recommends that the State party ensure a sufficient number of family doctors, nurses and midwives, and increase the availability of medicines, especially in rural areas, as well as take measures to ensure that all personnel responsible for the health care of children are well qualified and well trained.

Relation to other countries
mental health

While noting that the suicide rate among adolescents has decreased, the Committee remains concerned about the persistence of this phenomenon in the State party. The Committee recommends that the State party strengthen its efforts to prevent suicide among children and youth, including by increasing psychological consultation services and special psychosocial support programmes, and by addressing the root causes of the phenomenon. Moreover, the State party should collect disaggregated data on the occurrence of suicide.

Impacts of climate change

While welcoming information on the 12 per cent decrease in child morbidity in the Dashoguz region, the Committee remains concerned at the damaging effects of the Aral Sea crisis on children living in nearby areas and the reports of high rates of infant and maternal mortality, as well as high rates of deaths due to cancer, which are attributed to environmental pollution, especially in the Dashoguz region.
The Committee urges the State party to promptly assess the health situation of children living in the Aral Sea area, particularly in the Dashoguz region, with a view to ensuring the prompt provision of the necessary health services to all children, with an emphasis on the development of primary health care. The Committee also urges the State party to continue addressing the issue of infant and maternal mortality and the rates of death due to cancer in the Aral Sea area.

Situation of juvenile justice

The Committee urges the State party to expeditiously establish specialized juvenile court facilities and procedures, with adequate human, technical and financial resources, designate specialized judges for children and ensure that such judges receive appropriate education and training. It should also ensure the provision of qualified and independent legal aid to children in conflict with the law at an early stage and throughout the legal proceedings. Further, the Committee urges Turkmenistan to promote alternative measures to detention, such as diversion, probation, mediation, counselling or community service, whenever possible, and ensure that detention is used as a measure of last resort and for the shortest possible period of time and that it is reviewed on a regular basis with a view to ending it. It should also ensure that, in cases where detention is unavoidable, 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

The Committee is concerned that certain gaps remain that may lead to the statelessness of children born in the State party.
The Committee recommends that the State party review its citizenship legislation and procedures to ensure their full compliance with international standards aimed at the prevention and reduction of statelessness and ensure that all children born in its territory acquire Turkmen nationality, if otherwise they would be stateless, irrespective of the legal status of their parents.

The Committee expresses concern at reports that the State party systematically limits the right of the child to freedom of expression and that prevailing traditional societal attitudes in the family and in other settings regarding the role of children make it difficult for children to seek and impart information freely and to express their views on public matters openly.

Additional background

Concluding observations on the second to fourth periodic reports released on 10 march 2015.More information about education in Turkmenistan: https://www.unicef.org

Last Updated (date)2nd of March, 2022

Mongolia

CountryMongolia
Optional protocolon the involvement of children in armed conflict, on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, on a Communication Procedure
Safety
Corporal punishmentCorporal Punishment is prohibited.
Overview of the child rights situation

The report from Mongolia shows a high burden for children by environmental conditions, especially pollution. Due to many people moving to the urban centres, the rural regions are often left behind. Positive aspects are the free education and the ratification of all optional protocols by Mongolia.

Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights

The Committee recommends that the State party reintroduce sexual and reproductive health as a separate class in schools, involving adolescents in the development of its content, and that the State party strengthen its efforts to provide adolescents with appropriate reproductive health.

Discrimination
Situation of children with disabilities

The Committee is concerned at the social exclusion of children with disabilities and the discrimination they face in all areas of life. The Committee urges the State Party to, among other things, adopt a human rights-based approach to disability, set up a comprehensive strategy for the inclusion of children with disabilities and ensure the allocation of sufficient human, technical and financial resources to effectively implement the Law on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Committee further urges Mongolia to organize the collection of data on children with disabilities and develop an efficient system for diagnosing disability, which is necessary for putting in place appropriate policies and programmes for children with disabilities. In addition to that, Mongolia should set up comprehensive measures to develop inclusive education that caters to the individual needs of each student and ensure that inclusive education is given priority over the placement of children in specialized institutions and classes as well as take immediate measures to ensure that children with disabilities have access to health care, including early detection and intervention programmes.

Education
Free kindergartenYes
Free primary and secondary schoolYes
Digital possibilitiesNoting the prevalence of Internet use among children in the State party, the Committee recommends that the State party take all necessary measures to ensure that children are adequately protected from information and material harmful to their well-being, particularly on the Internet and social media. It also recommends that the State party take concrete measures to improve children’s access to appropriate information from a diversity of sources, including television programmes for children as well as books, especially those aimed at the promotion of the child’s social, spiritual and moral well-being and physical and mental health, while paying particular attention to the content disseminated through the mass media, the needs of children from ethnic and linguistic minority groups and children with disabilities.
Health
physical health

While welcoming the measures taken by the State party to improve the quality of and access to health services, including efforts to provide free health insurance coverage to all children, the Committee remains concerned at the persistent inequality in children’s health across regions and socioeconomic status, as well as the lack of access to quality health care. The Committee therefore recommends that the State party promptly take the necessary measures to ensure adequate access to health services to all children, with particular attention to children in rural areas and from low-income families. It further recommends to take concrete measures to combat corruption in the health-care sector.

Concerning environmental health, the Committee notes the measures taken by the State party to respond to severe air pollution, and expresses its serious concern about the impact of increasing levels of air pollution on children, particularly in Ulaanbaatar and the Ger areas, including reduced foetal growth, preterm birth, reduced lung function leading to acute respiratory disease and chronic respiratory disease later in life, and pneumonia, which is already one of the leading causes of under-5 child mortality in Mongolia. It also expresses concern that mining activities and rapid urbanization have led to increased water and soil contamination, thus further undermining children’s access to safe drinking water.

Relation to other countries
mental health

The Committee is concerned about indications of a further increase in mental health issues among children, including children contemplating or attempting suicide, and reiterates its recommendation that the State party develop a comprehensive national child mental health policy, which should be based on an analysis of the situation and its root causes. The Committee further recommends that the State party take measures to increase the number of specialized child psychologists and consider introducing low-threshold services, such as specialized nurses in the school health service.

Impacts of climate change

Noting the impact of climate change on the fragile ecosystem of the State party and the direct impact on children as a result of extreme winters that lead to significant losses in livestock, particularly among herding families, the Committee urges the State party to adopt a child-focused approach to coping and adapting to climate change and include children in the development of its policies and plans.

Business sector

While noting the measures taken by the State party to minimize the negative impact of business activities, the Committee remains concerned at the lack of regulation of business enterprises that negatively affect the rights of children, including the extractive industry. It also expresses serious concern about the prevalence of conflicts of interest between official duties and the private interests of those in public service roles, including members of parliament and government officials having personal investments in horse racing and training, pharmaceutical industries and tobacco and alcohol industries, which curtails the rights of children.
The Committee recommends that the State party establish and implement regulations to ensure that the business sector complies with international and national human rights, labour, environmental and other standards, particularly with regard to children’s rights. In particular, it recommends that the State party adopt appropriate legislation to regulate the extractive industry and ensure its effective implementation so that the industry’s activities do not negatively affect the rights of children. The State party should also take all measures necessary, including effective enforcement of legislation, to eliminate conflicts of interest between official duties and the private interests of those in public service roles.

Situation of juvenile justice

Noting the commitment made by the State party in the context of the universal periodic review to establish a comprehensive framework on juvenile justice in conformity with international standards, the Committee urges the State party to do so without further delay and to implement its previous recommendations. In particular, the Committee urges the State party to designate specialized judges for children and ensure that such specialized judges receive appropriate education and training on the principles and provisions of the Convention. Furthermore, the Committee urges the State party to ensure the provision of qualified and independent legal aid to children in conflict with the law and throughout the legal proceedings, including free legal aid for those unable to afford it. Mongolia should also ensure, in cases where detention is unavoidable, 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 noting the measures adopted by the State party, the Committee remains seriously concerned about risks to the life, survival and development of children caused by injuries and accidents, in particular burns among children below 5 years of age, car accidents due to increasing traffic in rural areas and horse racing. The Committee recommends that the State party strengthen efforts to prevent injuries and accidents, including by educating parents and the public at large on accident prevention and ensuring the accountability of those responsible.

Additional background

Concluding observations on the fifth periodic report released on 12 July 2017. More Information about education in Mongolia: https://openknowledge.worldbank.org
(page 20) and Preschool in Mongolia and Secondary education regional information base

Last Updated (date)2nd of March, 2022

Lao

CountryLao
Optional protocolon the involvement of children in armed conflict, on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography
ViolenceThe Committee welcomes the establishment of the social work profession in the State party and the execution of the national survey on violence against children. The Committee regrets the high prevalence of physical, sexual and mental violence against children, the absence of a national information management system and the still low number of social workers, particularly at the local level.
Safety
Corporal punishmentCorporal Punishment is legal in the home, alternative care settings, day care and penal institutions.
Overview of the child rights situation

Lao's report finds that children with disabilities in particular are facing discrimination and there is also a correlation between poverty, ethnicity and disability. They are stigmatized in society, which hinders their access to education, health care and future employment. But there is also a lot to be done in the health sector, for example, where the mortality rate is extraordinarily high.

Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights

The Committee is concerned at the high prevalence of early pregnancies, in particular among girls from certain ethnic groups and from poor families, and at reports about difficulties in accessing health education and contraceptives. The Committee therefore recommends that Lao adopt a comprehensive sexual and reproductive health policy for adolescents and ensure that sexual and reproductive health education is part of the mandatory school curriculum and targeted at adolescent girls and boys, with special attention to preventing early pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. It should also take measures to raise awareness of and foster responsible parenthood and sexual behaviour, paying particular attention to boys, and make contraceptives accessible to adolescents and ensure access to free and safe abortion.

Discrimination
Racism, children belonging to a minority and indigenous childrenThe Committee remains concerned about the presence of explosive ordnance, mostly affecting children from ethnic minorities or living in rural areas. The Committee urges the State party to strengthen the information and early warning systems with a view to providing adequate, immediate and efficient institutional responses and to allocate adequate resources for mine-risk education and care programmes for child victims.
Situation of children with disabilities

Lao has no systematic data-collection system to gather information on the situation of children and families affected by disability.
The Committee is further concerned about the insufficient coordination and lack of quality services to provide early identification of disability and the necessary rehabilitation and other services to assist the social inclusion of children with disabilities.

Situation of asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant childrenThe Committee is concerned about the challenges to children’s rights caused by increased migration. The Committee recommends that the State party strengthen access to services for migrant children regardless of their nationality and enhance awareness-raising and training for relevant sectors, to ensure that mechanisms are in place to prevent child labour and sexual exploitation in migration. Lao should also strengthen the dissemination of knowledge for preventing trafficking and exploitation.
Education
Free kindergartenNo
Free primary and secondary schoolNo
Health
physical health

While noting with appreciation the provision of free maternal, neonatal and child health care, the Committee remains concerned that under-5 mortality is still very high, that the majority of deaths are preventable and that child mortality rates vary by geographical location, ethnic group, the mother’s education and socioeconomic status.
To guarantee every child the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, the Committee recommends that the State party step up its efforts to address the regional disparities in terms of health care by increasing health sector funding and increasing access, including by improving the road infrastructure, to well-equipped and adequately stocked facilities. The State party should also increase the number of health-care professionals and improve their access to quality training, and develop programmes in local languages for different ethnic groups as well as effectively implement existing programmes aimed at reducing child mortality and morbidity rates, including by improving the skills of midwives and adopting quality standards for maternal and new-born care.
Concerning adolescent health, the Committee recommends to address the incidence of drug use by children and adolescents by, inter alia, providing children and adolescents with accurate and objective information as well as life skills education on preventing substance abuse.

Relation to other countries
mental health

The Committee recommends that the State party implement nationwide policies and strategies for the prevention of mental health problems among children, as well as the treatment and recovery of children and adolescents with mental health problems, involving families and communities in such policies.

Impacts of climate change

The Committee is concerned about the consequences for children of polluted or contaminated drinking water, deforestation and the unrestrained construction of dams, which leads to forced displacement, degradation of biodiversity and erosion of riverbanks, severely affecting the life and subsistence possibilities of people in the area. The Committee recommends that the State party take the measures necessary to ensure children’s access to safe drinking water, to curb deforestation and to restrict the construction of dams based on a child rights impact assessment, and that it involves children in discussions on these matters.

Business sector

The Committee recommends that the State party establish and implement regulations to ensure that the business sector complies with international and national human rights, labour, environmental and other standards, particularly with regard to children’s rights. It also recommends to establish a clear regulatory framework for the industries operating in the State party, in particular the construction, excavation, farming and tourist industries, to ensure that their activities do not negatively affect children’s rights or endanger environmental and other standards. Therefore, Lao should require companies to undertake assessments, consultations and full public disclosure of the environmental, health-related and children’s rights impacts of their business activities and their plans to address such impacts.

Situation of juvenile justice

The Committee welcomes the adoption of child-friendly and gender-sensitive procedures for children in contact with the law as alleged offenders, victims or witnesses. To further improve the situation, the Committee recommends that the State party establish specialized units at the central, provincial and district levels and ensure that the juvenile justice system is equipped with adequate human, technical and financial resources and that designated specialized professionals and the Village Child Mediation Committees receive systematic and appropriate education and training. Lao should also ensure that, in cases where detention is unavoidable, children are not detained together with adults and that detention conditions comply with international standards, including concerning education and health services, as well as strengthening legal and social assistance for children in conflict with the law, including access to legal representation and services for their reintegration.

Specific observations

The Committee is deeply concerned that, despite all efforts, the number of child victims of unexploded ordnance remains high. It therefore recommends to step up its efforts to demine former conflict areas, including through international cooperation, and increase its assistance to and rehabilitation services for child victims of unexploded ordnance, including risk education programmes.

Additional background

Concluding observations on the third to sixth periodic reports released on 1 November 2018.
More information about education in Nepal: Early education report

Last Updated (date)2nd of March, 2022

Bangladesh

CountryBangladesh
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 number of children who died or were seriously injured during political demonstrations in the State party in 2013 as well as that drowning is the major cause of death among children between the ages of 1 and 10. It is further concerned about the high incidence of accidents, including road accidents, and injury-related death of children in the State party and about the situation of children of parents employed in the garment industry, in particular at reports of children dying in the childcare facilities of garment factories during fire accidents.
Safety
Corporal punishmentCorporal Punishment is legal in the home, alternative care settings, day care, penal institutions and as a sentence for crime.
Overview of the child rights situation

The Bangladesh report sheds particular light on the many child deaths in the country and the poor health care. A positive aspect is the awareness of intersecting forms of discrimination. The recognition of Rohingya refugees helps many children, although improvements are still needed with regard to their accommodation in detention centres.

Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights

The Committee is concerned about the high prevalence of adolescent pregnancy and the lack of adolescent-friendly health services and menstrual hygiene management facilities and services. To improve the situation, the Committee recommends that Bangladesh adopt a comprehensive sexual and reproductive health policy for adolescents and ensure that sexual and reproductive health education is part of the mandatory school curriculum and targeted at adolescent girls and boys, with special attention paid to preventing early pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. Bangladesh should also improve access to adolescent-friendly health services and raise awareness in schools and communities about improving hygiene practices, while ensuring access to menstrual hygiene management facilities and services.

Discrimination
Racism, children belonging to a minority and indigenous childrenThe Committee is concerned that children from minority groups, in particular Dalit children and indigenous children, face discrimination and violence and lack access to quality education, in particular to education in their mother tongue. The Committee is also concerned about the lack of recognition by the State party of indigenous identity of the Adivasi indigenous peoples.
Situation of children with disabilities

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 develop an efficient system for diagnosing disability, which is necessary for putting in place appropriate policies and programmes for children with disabilities, including rehabilitation and reintegration programmes for children suffering from multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination as well as undertake awareness-raising campaigns aimed at government officials, the public and families to combat the stigmatization of and prejudice against children with disabilities and promote a positive image of such children.
Bangladesh should also set up comprehensive measures to develop inclusive education and ensure that such education is given priority over the placement of children in specialized institutions and classes and train specialized teachers and professionals in inclusive education and assign them to integrated classes providing individual support and all due attention to children with learning difficulties. The Committee further urges Bangladesh to immediately take measures to ensure that schools and health care facilities are accessible and that educational services are tailored to children’s needs.

Situation of asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant childrenThe Committee welcomes the adoption of a national strategy on Myanmar refugees and undocumented Myanmar nationals, which acknowledges for the first time that undocumented Rohingya from northern Rakhine State in Myanmar who are currently in Bangladesh, many of whom are children, have fled persecution and need humanitarian assistance. Meanwhile, the Committee is concerned at reports that Rohingya asylum-seeking children from Myanmar and their families are routinely detained because of illegal entry into the State party.To improve the situation, the Committee recommends that the State party release asylum-seeking and refugee children held in detention centres and enable them to access the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and ensure that unaccompanied, separated, refugee and asylum-seeking children are not detained because of illegal entry or stay in the State party.
Education
Free kindergartenNo
Free primary and secondary schoolYes
Digital possibilitiesThe State Party endeavours to establish an online database to store data and information on people and children with disabilities and to provide reports for planning and programming.
Health
physical health

The Committee notes with appreciation the initiatives undertaken by the State party. It remains, however, concerned that only one third of women deliver with the support of a skilled attendant, and about regional disparities in the provision of health services. The Committee is also concerned about the prevalence of anaemia and malnutrition among children, in particular in slums and rural areas.
To guarantee every child the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, the Committee recommends that the State party allocate sufficient financial and human resources to health to eliminate regional disparities in the provision of health services. Furthermore, the Committee recommends that the State party implement and apply the technical guidance on the application of a human rights-based approach to the implementation of policies and programmes to reduce and eliminate preventable mortality and morbidity of children under 5 years of age and pay specific attention to anaemia and malnutrition, in particular in rural and remote areas and in slums. Bangladesh should further develop and implement policies to improve health infrastructures, and intensify training programmes for all health professionals.

Relation to other countries
mental health

The Committee reiterates its previous concern about the lack of adequate facilities and counselling services for mental health for adolescents and expresses concern at the reported increased number of suicides among adolescents.
The Committee recommends that the State party take urgent action to strengthen its efforts to prevent suicide among children and youth, including by increasing psychological counselling services and social workers in schools and communities, and ensure that all professionals working with children are adequately trained to identify and address early suicidal tendencies and mental health problems.

Business sector

The Committee is concerned about the significant number of children being engaged in labour, many of them in hazardous conditions, and in domestic work where they are vulnerable to violence and sexual abuse. It therefore urges the State party to enforce its national legislation to ensure that child labour, including in the informal sector and family businesses, is in full compliance with international standards and to ensure the full protection of children against all forms of sexual, physical and psychological harassment. The Committee also recommends that the State party establish programmes to reintegrate into mainstream education children who have been involved in labour and strengthen the implementation of labour laws by establishing labour inspections, including in the informal sector, and ensuring that anyone violating legislation on child labour be held accountable.

Situation of juvenile justice

The Committee welcomes the reform of the administration of juvenile justice, which provides for the appointment of a child affairs police officer in each police station and the establishment of one Children Court in every district. However, the Committee is concerned that owing to the large difference in population numbers among various districts, the number of juvenile courts on a per capita basis is limited. Therefore, the Committee urges the State party to bring its juvenile justice system fully into line with the Convention and other relevant standards. In particular, the Committee urges the State party to increase the number of juvenile courts in the State party on a per capita basis and ensure that such new courts are adequately staffed by trained judges and the relevant support staff, especially probation and social welfare officers, as well as to provide accurate and updated disaggregated data on children serving prison terms and those on remand awaiting trial, as well as on the reasons for their detention.

Specific observations

To improve birth registration, the Committee urges Bangladesh to take all measures necessary to increase the birth registration rate, including by establishing mobile registration offices, in particular in rural areas, and undertaking a campaign aimed at registering all children who have not yet been registered and who do not have birth certificates. Bangladesh should also promote awareness of the importance of birth registration among parents and relevant authorities through regular mass campaigns and provide information on the procedures for birth registration and the rights and entitlements deriving from such registration.
Also, despite the decision to provide birth certificates to children born inside two refugee camps in the State party, the Committee is concerned that refugee children born outside the camps do not have birth certificates and have limited access to basic services, education and recreation. The Committee recommends to provide birth registration and access to basic rights, such as to health and education, for all undocumented Rohingya children and their families on the State party’s territory, irrespective of their legal status.

The Committee is deeply concerned about the increase in prostitution in general, and that the prohibition of involvement in prostitution applies only to children under the age of 10.
The Committee recommends that the State party prohibit and criminalize the involvement of children in prostitution and all forms of exploitation and take measures to prevent such exploitation, monitor the implementation of such measures and provide victims with rehabilitation and care.

Additional background

Concluding observations on the fifth periodic report released on 30 October 2015. The Committee recommends to the State party to accelerate the review process with a view to withdrawing the reservations to articles 14 (1) and 21 of the Convention in accordance with the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action. More information about education in Bangladesh: http://bdlaws.minlaw.gov.bd and http://ecd-bangladesh.net

Last Updated (date)2nd of March, 2022