COMMITTEE ON RIGHTS OF CHILD CONCLUDES THIRTY-FOURTH SESSION

3 October 2003
HR/4698

COMMITTEE ON RIGHTS OF CHILD CONCLUDES THIRTY-FOURTH SESSION

03/10/2003
Press Release
HR/4698


Round-Up of Session


COMMITTEE ON RIGHTS OF CHILD CONCLUDES THIRTY-FOURTH SESSION


Adopts Conclusions on Reports of San Marino, Canada, New Zealand,

Pakistan, Madagascar, Brunei Darussalam, Singapore, Bangladesh and Georgia


(Reissued as received.)


GENEVA, 3 October -- The Committee on the Rights of the Child concluded today its thirty-fourth session and issued its conclusions and recommendations on the situation of children in San Marino, Canada, New Zealand, Pakistan, Madagascar, Brunei Darussalam, Singapore, Bangladesh and Georgia, whose reports on efforts to comply with the Convention on the Rights of the Child were considered this session.


The conclusions and recommendations were contained in the Committee's final report for the three-week session, which was adopted today by the Committee’s 18 independent Experts.  


Responding to the report of San Marino, the Committee recommended that the State party make greater efforts to ensure that all children within its jurisdiction enjoyed all rights set out in the Convention without discrimination; and adopt and implement provisions in order to combat against racism and discrimination.  It encouraged the State party to pursue its efforts to ensure the implementation of the principles of the best interest of the child and respect for the views of the child.


The Committee, being encouraged by numerous initiatives undertaken by Canada, recommended that the principle of “best interests of the child” of article 3 of the Convention be appropriately analyzed and objectively implemented, with regard to various situations of the child, groups of children -- for example, Aboriginal or others -- and integrated in all revisions of legislation concerning children, legal procedures in courts, as well as in judicial and administrative decisions, and in projects, programmes and services that had an impact on children.  It also recommended that further measures be taken to ensure birth registration and facilitate applications for citizenship, so as to resolve the situation of stateless children.


After reviewing the report of New Zealand, the Committee recommended that the State party establish a permanent mechanism to coordinate activities by all actors and stakeholders implementing the Convention, the Agenda for Children, and the Youth Development Strategy; and sufficient financial and human resources should be allocated to ensure that they were fully implemented and effectively coordinated.


Also, after considering the initial report of New Zealand on the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflicts, the Committee welcomed the submission of the State party’s comprehensive report, which was the first such report under the Optional Protocol to be submitted to the Committee.  It recommended, among other things, that the State party amend the Defence Force Order to expressly prohibit active service in and outside of New Zealand by soldiers under the age of 18.


After considering the report of Pakistan, the Committee welcomed the withdrawal on 23 July 1997 of the general reservation to the Convention of the Government.  It recognized the difficulties facing Pakistan with serious economic challenge, catastrophic drought conditions hampering the economy, the armed conflict that was taking place in some regions.  Among other things, it recommended that the State party align the age of marriage of boys and girls, by raising the minimum age of marriage for girls to 18 years; take all necessary measures to prevent early and/or forced marriages; establish clear minimum age for compulsory education; establish minimum age for employment; and raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility to an internationally accepted level.


Concerning the second periodic report of Madagascar, the Committee noted with appreciation the establishment of an Inter-ministerial Follow-up and Coordination Committee; the adoption of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper; the establishment of the National Human Rights Commission; the adoption of a National Plan of Action for Education of Girls; and the adoption of the National Programme for the Improvement of Education.  The Committee recommended that the State party make greater efforts to ensure that all children within its jurisdiction enjoyed all rights set out in the Convention without discrimination.


With regard to the initial report of Brunei Darussalam, the Committee welcomed the enactment of the Children’s Order 2001; the establishment of the National Children’s Council; the excellent health care system reflected in very good indicators; and the very high school enrolment rates.  It strongly recommended that the State party expeditiously undertake the re-examination of its reservations on articles 14, 20 and 21 of the Convention with a view to reconsider and ultimately withdrawing them.  It recommended that the State party undertake a comprehensive review of existing legislation from a rights-based approach, to ensure its conformity with the principles and provisions of the Convention.


In response to the report of Singapore, the Committee noted with appreciation the high standard of living of children in the State party, and considerable efforts to implement the economic, social and cultural rights of the child, in particular through the widespread availability of high quality health and education services, and housing.  It recommended, among other things, that the State party amend legislation to prohibit corporal punishment in the home, schools, institutions, and the juvenile justice system; and to amend legislation to ensure the full protection of children in difficult circumstances, while eliminating the possibility for parents to initiate court proceedings against their children, because they were “beyond parental control”.


Responding to the report of Bangladesh, the Committee welcomed positive developments in the area of human rights, such as the formation of a revised National Plan of Action for Children; the adoption of the National Policy for Safe Water Supply and Sanitation; and recognized with appreciation that the State party had made clear and visible progress, in some fields to a remarkable extent, in the field of child nutrition, health, education and labour.  Among other things, it recommended that the State party take all efficient measures to harmonize its domestic legislation fully with the provisions and principles of the Convention, in particular with regard to existing minimum ages of criminal responsibility, and for marriage, child labour, and harmful traditional practices affecting children.


And having reviewed the report of Georgia, the Committee welcomed the timely submission of Georgia’s report; the many legislative and other measures taken with the view to the implementation of the Convention; and the amendments to the Civil Code providing children of 14 years or older with a legal standing in court proceedings.  It noted that the State party was prone to natural disasters and was experiencing serious socio-economic problems due to the transition to a market-oriented economy.  The State party was recommended, among other things, to reinforce its efforts to formalize a comprehensive strategy to prevent and combat domestic violence and other forms of violence, including bullying in schools.


In addition, the Committee adopted today a general comment on general measures of implementation for the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  The comment, the Committee's fifth on various issues relevant to the Convention, states that it was drafted to outline States parties’ obligations to develop what was termed “general measures of implementation”.


The Committee also adopted recommendations following its day of general discussion on the rights of indigenous children, in which it strongly recalled the obligations of States parties under article 2 and 30 of the Convention to promote and protect the human rights of all indigenous children.


The Committee approved a decision to hold a two-chamber session starting October 2004 in order to cope with the rapidly growing workload.  The decision would be submitted to the General Assembly for approval.


This was the second meeting of the Committee with the expanded membership of 18 instead of 10 independent Experts. 


The Committee's next session will be held from 12 to 30 January 2004.  Scheduled for consideration are reports of Indonesia, Guyana, Armenia, Germany, the Netherlands, India, Papua New Guinea, Slovenia and Japan.


Final Conclusions on Country Reports


San Marino


After considering the initial report of San Marino, the Committee noted with appreciation that all children with disabilities were in regular schools with the exception of severely disabled children; the adoption of the law on sexual exploitation of children; and the establishment of a special juvenile justice procedure as a result of the enactment of the law of October 1999.


Among its recommendations, the Committee encouraged the State party to take all necessary measures to ensure that its domestic legislation conformed fully to the principles and provisions of the Convention.  It recommended that the State party make a comprehensive review of its ius commune to identify the provisions of domestic legislation, which were in contradiction with the principles and provisions of the Convention.  Further, the Committee recommended that the State party systematically work on the development of a strong rights-based child policy covering all rights of the Convention.


The Committee recommended that San Marino make greater efforts to ensure that all children within its jurisdiction enjoyed all rights set out in the Convention without discrimination; and that it adopt and implement provisions in order to combat racism and discrimination.  It encouraged the State party to pursue its efforts to ensure the implementation of the principles of the best interest of the child and respect for the views of the child.  Particular emphasis should be placed on the right of the child to actively participate in the family, at school, within other institutions and bodies, and generally in society.


Among other things, the Committee also recommended that San Marino undertake awareness-raising campaigns on the negative impact of corporal punishment.  The State party should undertake studies to assess the prevalence and nature of violence against children, and develop a comprehensive plan of action based on the studies for the prevention of and intervention in cases of child abuse and neglect.


Canada


The Committee welcomed the submission of Canada’s second periodic report and was encouraged by numerous initiatives undertaken by the State party.  It looked forward to the completion of the National Plan of Action for Children, which would further structure such initiatives and ensure their effective implementation.  It urged the Federal Government to ensure that the provinces and territories were aware of their obligations under the Convention, and that the rights in the Convention had to be implemented within all the provinces and territories through legislation and policy and other appropriate measures.


Among other things, the Committee recommended that the principle of “best interests of the child” of article 3 of the Convention be appropriately analyzed and objectively implemented with regard to various situations of the child, groups of children, for example, Aboriginal or other status, and integrated in all revisions of legislation concerning children, legal procedures in courts, as well as in judicial and administrative decisions, and in projects, programmes and services that had an impact on children.  It also recommended that further measures be taken to ensure birth registration and facilitate applications for citizenship, so as to resolve the situation of stateless children.


While welcoming the efforts being made by the State party to promote research on alternative methods of punishment of children, the Committee recommended that the State party adopt legislation to remove the existing authorization of the use of “reasonable force” in disciplining children and explicitly prohibit all forms of violence against children, however light, within the family, in schools and in other institutions where children might be placed.  It also recommended that the State party undertake measures to ensure equal enjoyment of all children with the same quality of health services, with special attention to indigenous children in rural and remote areas.


The Committee welcomed measures taken by the Government to provide assistance to families through expanded parental leave, increased tax deductions, child benefits, and specific programmes for Aboriginal people.  However, it was concerned at reports related to the high costs of child care, paucity of spaces and lack of national standards.  It encouraged the State party to undertake a comparative analysis at the provincial and territorial levels with a view to identifying the variations of child care provisions and their impact on children, and to devise a coordinated approach to ensure quality child care was available to all children.


The Committee suggested that the State party continue to give priority to studying possible causes of youth suicide and the characteristics of those who appeared to be most at risk, and take steps as soon as practicable to put in place additional support and prevention and intervention programmes.  It recommended that further research be carried out to identify the causes of the spread of homelessness, particularly among children, and any links between homelessness and child abuse, child prostitution, child pornography and trafficking in children.  It also recommended that the State party continue to address the factors responsible for the increasing number of children living in poverty.


The Committee recommended, among other things, that the State party further improve the quality of education throughout the country by ensuring that free primary quality education that was sensitive to the cultural identity of every child was available and accessible for all children, with particular attention to children in rural communities, Aboriginal children, and refugees or asylum seekers.


New Zealand


Having considered the second periodic report of New Zealand, the Committee welcomed the State party’s ratification of ILO Convention 182 on the worst forms of child labour in 2001; its ratification of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime in 2002; its accession to the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption; and its ratification of the 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction.


Among other things, the Committee recommended that the State party establish a permanent mechanism to coordinate activities by all actors and stakeholders implementing the Convention, the Agenda for Children, and the Youth Development Strategy; and that it allocate sufficient financial and human resources to ensure that they were fully implemented and effectively coordinated.  It recommended that the State party pay particular attention to the full implementation of article 4 of the Convention by prioritising budgetary allocations to ensure implementation of the economic, social and cultural rights of children, in particular those belonging to economically disadvantaged groups.


The Committee recommended that the State party review the age limit set by the different legislations affecting children, to ensure its conformity with the principles and provisions of the Convention.  It also specifically recommended that the State party raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility to an internationally acceptable level, and ensure that it applied to all criminal offences; extend the Child, Young Persons and Their Families Act of 1989 to all persons under the age of 18; and set a minimum age of admission to employment.


The Committee recommended, among other things, that the State party take all necessary measures to address youth suicide, especially among Mäori youth, by strengthening the Youth Suicide Prevention Programme; undertake effective measures to reduce the rate of teenage pregnancies; undertake effective preventive and other measures to address the rise in alcohol consumption by adolescents; and strengthen mental health and counselling services, ensuring that they were accessible to, and appropriate for, all adolescents, including Mäori children and those in rural areas and in residential institutions.


The Committee also recommended that the State party ensure that all children in the country had access to free primary education; enforce legislation on compulsory education, and prohibit exclusions on arbitrary grounds; take effective measures to address disparities in enrolment and drop out rates between ethnic groups, including by strengthening programmes for bilingual education; and take all necessary measures, including the provision of quality counselling programmes in schools, to address behavioural problems of students while respecting their right to privacy.


The Committee recommended that New Zealand ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.


After considering the initial report of New Zealand on the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflicts, the Committee welcomed the submission of the State party’s comprehensive report, which was the first such report under the Optional Protocol to be submitted to the Committee.  It also welcomed the State party’s international and bilateral technical cooperation activities and financial assistance aimed at preventing the involvement of children in armed conflicts, and assisting the recovery of child victims of armed conflicts, and the rehabilitation and recovery of child combatants.


The Committee recommended, among other things, that the State party amend the Defence Force Order to expressly prohibit active service in and outside of New Zealand by soldiers under the age of 18; amend the Defence Act and the Guardianship Act to specify the minimum age of voluntary recruitment of 17 years for all persons; and consider the possibility to increase the minimum age for voluntary recruitment to 18 years.


The Committee requested that the State party provide information in its next report on refugee and migrant children within its jurisdiction that might have been involved in hostilities in their home country, and the assistance provided for their physical and psychological recovery and their social reintegration.


Pakistan


After considering the second periodic report of Pakistan, the Committee welcomed the withdrawal on 23 July 1997 of the general reservation to the Convention by the Government.  It expressed its appreciation of the State party’s recent ratification of the ILO Convention 182 on the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour.  It also welcomed positive developments in the areas of human rights, including the formation of a revised National Plan of Action and of the Code of Ethics for Media on Reporting of Children’s Issues, and the adoption of the 2000 Juvenile Justice System Ordinance, of the 2002 Ordinance for the Prevention and Control of Human Trafficking, the 1995 Compulsory Primary Education Act, and of the 2002 Protection of Breastfeeding and Child Nutrition Ordinance.


The Committee recognized the difficulties facing Pakistan with serious economic challenges, catastrophic drought conditions hampering the economy, the armed conflict that was taking place in some regions, the high number of refugees who entered the country from Afghanistan in the past years, as well as a high population growth rate, all which seriously impeded the full implementation of the Convention.


The Committee noted the cooperation between the State party and NGOs, but remained concerned that much of that cooperation was project-based and might lack long-term planning and goals; it recommended that the State party strengthen its cooperation with NGOs, ensuring such cooperation was long-term planned.


The Committee, among other things, recommended that the State party align the age of marriage of boys and girls, by raising the minimum age of marriage for girls to 18 years; take all necessary measures to prevent early and/or forced marriages; establish clear minimum age for compulsory education; establish minimum age for employment; and raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility to an internationally accepted level.  It also recommended that the State party make greater efforts to ensure that all children within its jurisdiction enjoyed all the rights set out in the Convention without discrimination, particularly with regard to girl children, children belonging to a religious or other minority group, children with disabilities, and other vulnerable groups of children.


The Committee recommended that the State party assess the scope, nature and causes of violence against children, in particular sexual violence against girls, with a view to adopting a comprehensive strategy and effective measures and policies, and to changing attitudes; properly investigate cases of violence through a child-sensitive judicial procedure; add a definition of torture to the Constitution and ratify the UN Convention against Torture; and undertake a public campaign of education to promote a culture of non-violence.  The Committee recommended that the State party, as a matter of urgency, repeal section 89 of the Penal Code of 1860 and explicitly prohibit all forms of corporal punishment; abolish the sentence of whipping under any circumstance or law; and undertake a well-targeted public awareness campaign on the negative impact of corporal punishment on children.


The Committee recommended that the State party continue to strengthen its efforts to address adolescent health issues and develop a comprehensive policy to ensure reproductive health counselling and services, including family life education, especially on early marriage and family planning, for all adolescents; and strengthen its efforts to prevent and combat HIV/AIDS and harmful effects of drugs.  The Committee reiterated its concern at the existence of harmful traditional practices, such as forced and/or early child marriages and dowry-related violence, and recommended that the State party undertake all necessary measures to eradicate all harmful traditional practices, affecting more particularly the girl child, and being harmful to the physical and psychological well-being of children.


The Committee recommended that the State party ensure the protection of children from maltreatment within madrassas through the establishment of an adequate monitoring mechanism; continue and strengthen its planned reform of madrassas, with a view to broaden the scope of the education given in madrassas; and take effective measures to ensure that children below the age of 18 years were not involved in hostilities, and to protect children from forced recruitment.


Further, the Committee recommended that the State party continue and strengthen its efforts to eradicate child labour, in particular by addressing the root causes of economic exploitation through poverty eradication and access to education; and review its legislation, clearly defining sexual abuse, and in particular child sexual abuse and child sexual exploitation.


Madagascar


After due consideration of the second periodic report of Madagascar, the Committee noted with appreciation the establishment of an Inter-ministerial Follow-up and Coordination Committee; the adoption of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper; the establishment of the National Human Rights Commission; the adoption of a National Plan of Action for Education of Girls; and the adoption of the National Programme for the Improvement of Education.


The Committee acknowledged that natural disasters, the external debt, the structural adjustment programme, and the limited availability of financial and skilled human resources had had a negative impact on the social welfare of children, and had impeded the full implementation of the Convention.  Also, the coexistence of customary law and statutory law affected the implementation of the Convention in the State party, where some traditional practices hindered the implementation of children’s rights.


The Committee recommended that the State party make greater efforts to ensure that all children within its jurisdiction enjoyed all rights set out in the Convention without discrimination; prioritize and target social services to children belonging to the marginalized and most vulnerable groups through a pro-active and comprehensive strategy; ensure effective law enforcement, notably with regard to unlawful customs; and undertake studies and launch comprehensive public information campaigns involving religious leaders to prevent and combat all forms of discrimination.


Further, among other things, the Committee recommended that the State party take all the necessary measures to stop the murder or rejection of children thought to be “born on an unlucky day”, including through awareness-raising in the society at large, which should involve traditional leaders.


While noting that child abuse was prohibited under the Criminal Code, the Committee was concerned at the incidence of abuse, including sexual abuse, violence against and neglect of children in the State party; that corporal punishment was not prohibited under law; and that insufficient efforts had been made to protect children.  It recommended, among other things, that the State party undertake further studies on violence, including sexual violence, against children within the family, at school and in other institutions, in order to assess the scope, nature and causes of those practices; take all necessary steps to introduce the legal prohibition of the use of corporal punishment; properly investigate cases of violence; establish an appropriate complaints procedure; and provide services for the physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of the victims.


Finally, the Committee recommended that the State party take measures to prevent and combat the sale and trafficking of children, including awareness-raising campaigns and educational programmes, particularly for parents; undertake research and data gathering; and facilitate the reunification of child victims with their families, and provide adequate care for them.


Brunei Darussalam


The Committee, having considered the initial report of Brunei Darussalam, welcomed the enactment of the Children’s Order 2001; the establishment of the National Children’s Council; the excellent health care system reflected in very good indicators; and the very high school enrolment rates.


The Committee strongly recommended that the State party expeditiously undertake the re-examination of its reservations on articles 14, 20 and 21 of the Convention, with a view to reconsidering and ultimately withdrawing them.  It recommended that the State party undertake a comprehensive review of existing legislation from a rights-based approach to ensure its conformity with the principles and provisions of the Convention; ensure the speedy promulgation of legislation to child rights and its effective implementation; and ensure that laws were sufficiently clear and precise, were published and were accessible to the public.


The Committee recommended that the State party establish a national human rights institution to enable it to monitor and evaluate progress in the implementation of the Convention.  The institution should be empowered to receive and investigate complaints of violations of child rights in a child-sensitive manner and to effectively address them; review the role of the existing institutions in order to avoid any overlap in their functions; and seek technical assistance from, among others, OHCHR and UNICEF.


Among other things, the Committee also recommended that the State party continue to promote and facilitate within the family, the school, institutions, the courts and administrative bodies respect for the views of children and their active participation in all matters affecting them, in accordance with article 12 of the Convention; develop skills-training programmes in community settings for parents, teachers, social workers and local officials, so that they could learn how to help children to express their informed views and opinions, and to take those views into consideration; and seek assistance from UNICEF, among others.


Expressing concern that citizenship was not automatically granted to children of Brunei women married to non-nationals, the Committee recommended that the State party revise the Brunei Nationality Act, in order to ensure that children who had a Brunei parent acquire Brunei citizenship in an equal manner, regardless whether the Bruneian parent was the father or the mother.


Singapore


The Committee welcomed the submission of Singapore’s initial report and noted with appreciation the high standard of living of children in the State party, and considerable efforts to implement the economic, social and cultural rights of the child, in particular through the widespread availability of high quality health and education services and housing.


The Committee, among other things, recommended that the State party undertake public awareness campaigns on children’s rights aimed at the general public and specifically at children; extend the Children and Young Person’s Act to cover all persons under the age of 18; raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility to an internationally acceptable level; raise the minimum age of employment to 15 years, the age or the end of compulsory schooling; amend its legislation to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender or disability, and ensure that it was applicable to all persons in the State party; and review its citizenship and immigration laws and undertake necessary reforms to ensure that they respected the right of the child to nationality and identity, without discrimination.


The Committee recommended that the State party amend legislation to prohibit corporal punishment in the home, schools, institutions and the juvenile justice system; to amend legislation to ensure the full protection of children in difficult circumstances, while eliminating the possibility for parents to initiate court proceedings against their children, because they were “beyond parental control”; and strengthen measures to encourage reporting of instances of child maltreatment and abuse 


Noting with appreciation the excellent level of health indicators of children, the Committee recommended that the State party strengthen efforts to promote exclusive breastfeeding for an infant’s first six months; strengthen adolescent health services, in particular counselling services and suicide prevention programmes; and extend the Compulsory Education Act to include special schools and all children with disabilities.


The Committee recommended that the State party extend the Compulsory Education Act to include all children within the country, including non-citizens, and monitor the implementation of the Act to ensure that all children attended school; ensure that all children in the State party had access to free primary education; undertake effective measures to reduce school-related stress; and include human rights education as part of the curriculum.


Bangladesh


Responding to the second periodic report of Bangladesh, the Committee welcomed positive developments in the area of human rights, such as the formation of a revised National Plan of Action for Children; the adoption of the National Policy for Safe Water Supply and Sanitation, the 2002 National Plan of Action to combat sexual abuse and exploitation including trafficking, the 2000 Suppression of Violence against Women and Children Act, the 2002 Acid Control Act, the 2002 Acid Crimes Prevention Act, the 2002 law safeguarding the speedy progress of trials; and the withdrawal of the 2002 Public Safety Act.  The Committee recognized with appreciation that the State party had made clear and visible progress, in some fields to a remarkable extent, in the field of child nutrition, health, education and labour.


The Committee recommended that the State party take all efficient measures to harmonize its domestic legislation fully with the provisions and principles of the Convention, in particular with regard to existing minimum ages of criminal responsibility and for marriage, child labour and harmful traditional practices affecting children.  It also recommended that appropriate measures be taken to ensure that the best interests of the child were integrated in all legislation, as well as judicial and administrative decisions, and in projects, programmes and services which had an impact on children.  The Committee also encouraged the State party to take all necessary measures to ensure that traditional practices and customary law did not impede the implementation of that general principle.


Despite the information that the death penalty had never been executed against juvenile offenders in the State party, the Committee strongly recommended that the State party take immediate steps to ensure that the imposition of the death penalty for crimes committed by persons less than 18 years was explicitly prohibited by law.


The Committee recommended that the State party promote and facilitate respect for the views of children and their participation in all matters affecting them in all spheres of society; provide educational information to parents, teachers, government and local administrative officials, the judiciary, traditional and religious leaders and society at large on children’s rights to participate and to have their views taken into account; and amend national legislation so that the principle of the respect for the view of the child was recognized and respected.


The Committee recommended that the State party, as a matter of urgency, review existing legislation, and explicitly prohibit all forms of corporal punishment in the family, schools and institutions, as well as carry out a public education campaign about the negative consequences of ill-treatment of children, and promote positive, non-violent forms of discipline as an alternative to corporal punishment.


The Committee urged the State party to continue and strengthen its efforts to reduce contamination and pollution of air and water, as well as improve sanitation facilities, including by strengthening the implementation of the National Policy for Safe Water Supply and Sanitation; and intensify awareness campaigns and educational programmes, in order to instruct children and adults about appropriate behaviour protecting them against risks.


Georgia


The Committee welcomed the timely submission of Georgia’s second periodic report; the many legislative and other measures taken with the view to the implementation of the Convention; the amendments to the Civil Code providing children of 14 years or older with a legal standing in court proceedings; the amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure providing for significant improvements of the rules applicable to juveniles in conflict with the law; the changes of the Criminal Code improving the protection of minors from trafficking; and the changes to the Code of Administrative Offences strengthening the protection of children from economic exploitation and drug abuse.


The Committee noted that the State party was prone to natural disaster and was experiencing serious socio-economic problems due to the transition to a market-oriented economy.  Furthermore, the ethnic and political conflicts in the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia created serious obstacles for the State party in exercising its jurisdiction with regard to the implementation of the Convention in those regions.


The Committee, welcoming information provided in the State party’s report on the Children’s Parliament, recommended that the State party continue and strengthen its efforts to promote and support those and other activities for children, in particular facilitate and support participation of children with disabilities and children in institutions.  It also recommended that measures be taken to promote and guarantee the right of the child to freedom of expression within the family, in school and other institutions, and in society.


The Committee recommended that the State party reinforce its efforts to formalize a comprehensive strategy to prevent and combat domestic violence and other forms of violence, including bullying in schools.  The State party was encouraged to enact specific domestic violence legislation, which would bring together criminal and civil provisions, including remedies; and measures should be taken to provide counselling and support services to all child victims of violence, including those who bullied others in school.


Further, the Committee encouraged the State party expressly to prohibit corporal punishment in the family in legislation, and to fully implement the prohibition of the use of violence, including corporal punishment in schools and institutions by promoting positive, non-violent forms of discipline, especially in families, schools and care institutions.


The Committee encouraged the State party to fully implement the Poverty Reduction Programme, and to take measures to assist parents and others responsible for children by strengthening efforts to combat poverty with a view to improving the standard of living of children, and providing material assistance and support programmes, without discrimination based on the place of residence.


General Comment on General Measures of Implementation for Convention


The Committee adopted General Comment No. 5 on the general measures of implementation for the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in which it said that it had drafted it to outline States parties’ obligations to develop what it had termed “general measures of implementation”.  The various elements of the concept were complex and the Committee emphasized that it was likely to issue more detailed General Comments on individual elements in due course to expand on that outline.  Its General Comment No. 2 had already expanded on “The Role of Independent National Human Rights Institutions in the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of the Child”.


The general measures of implementation identified by the Committee and described in the General Comment were intended to promote full enjoyment of all rights in the Convention by all children, through legislation, the establishment of coordinating and monitoring bodies –- governmental and independent, comprehensive data collection, awareness-raising and training, and the development and implementation of appropriate policies, services and programmes.  The Committee emphasized that in the context of the Convention, States should see their role as fulfilling clear legal obligations to each and every child.


Recommendations Following Day of General Discussion on Rights of Indigenous Children


Following its day of general discussion on the rights of indigenous children, the Committee adopted recommendations strongly recalling the obligations of States parties under articles 2 and 30 of the Convention to promote and protect the human rights of all indigenous children.  It reaffirmed its commitment to promote and protect the human rights of indigenous children by addressing more systematically the situation of indigenous children under all relevant provisions and principles of the Convention when periodically reviewing State party reports.


Committee Membership


The Convention requires that the members of the Committee have a high moral standing and recognized competence in the field of children's rights.  The following Experts, elected by the State parties to serve in their personal capacity, have been elected to the Committee: Ibrahim Abdul Aziz Al-Sheddi (Saudi Arabia), Ghalia Mohd Bin Hamad Al-Thani (Qatar), Joyce Aluoch (Kenya), Saisuree Chutikul (Thailand), Luigi Citarella (Italy), Jacob Egbert Doek (the Netherlands), Kamel Filali (Algeria),  Moushira Khattab (Egypt), Hatem Kotrane (Tunisia), Lothar Friedrich Krappmann (Germany), Yanghee Lee (Republic of Korea), Norberto Liwski (Argentina), Rosa Maria Ortiz (Paraguay), Awa N'Deye Ouedraogo (Burkina Faso), Marilia Sardenberg Goncalves (Brazil), Lucy Smith (Norway); Marjorie Taylor (Jamaica), and Nevena Vuckovic-Sahovic (Serbia and Montenegro).


Mr. Doek is the Chairperson.  Ms. Aluoch, Ms. Chutikul and Ms. Sardenberg Goncalves are Vice Chairpersons, and Ms. Khattab is the Rapporteur.


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For information media. Not an official record.