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Committee on the Rights of the Child considers report of Argentina

GENEVA (15 May 2018) - The Committee on the Rights of the Child today concluded its consideration of the combined fifth and sixth periodic report of Argentina on how it is implementing the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Presenting the report, Gabriel Castelli, Secretary for Children, Adolescents and Family at the Ministry of Social Development of Argentina, said the Convention on the Rights of the Child had been incorporated in the national Constitution as soon as it had been ratified in 1990.  The normative application of the Convention was evident in the Law on the Integral Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Girls, Boys and Adolescents of 2005.  The holistic approach to the protection of children’s rights, at the national, provincial and local levels, was the bedrock of Argentina’s policy.  The national social spending on children had been increased from 1.3 per cent in 1995 to 2.6 per cent in 2017.  As part of its 2018 strategy to achieve inclusive development, the Government had adopted an intersectoral approach in implementing effective public policies for children.  One of the bedrocks of the current social policy was care and development for children in early childhood, such as through the provision of quality education.  Argentina was one of the few countries where education was mandatory at all three levels: nursery, primary and secondary.  Another priority for the Government was to eradicate violence against adolescent girls, encourage training in gender perspective, prevent school dropout among adolescents, encourage education for adolescents without parents, and to strengthen the justice system for juvenile offenders.  

In the ensuing discussion, Committee Experts expressed concern about a possible economic crisis in Argentina as a result of the ongoing negotiations with the International Monetary Fund, and the process of decentralization, which could lead to social and economic disparities.  An Expert asked who coordinated children’s policies, noting that depending on where children were born, their rights were respected in different ways.  How could those provincial inequalities be streamlined?  There were still some challenges in data collection, for example on nutrition, the situation of indigenous children, and children with disabilities.  What was the Government doing to improve data collection?  Questions were asked about child marriage, children with disabilities, breastfeeding, the long delay in the establishment of a Children’s Ombudsman, reports of torture of detained children, corporal punishment, and street children.  An Expert asked about the impact of austerity measures on the adequacy of resources available for the implementation of children’s rights.  More information was requested about freedom of expression and freedom of assembly for children, alternative care, and adoption.  Clarity was also asked for with regards to the rights of breastfeeding mothers as well as healthcare available for people living with HIV/AIDS.

Luis Ernesto Pedernera Reyna, Committee Expert and Rapporteur for Argentina, in concluding remarks, said the challenge for Argentina would be to continue to progress in a clear direction in promoting the rights of the child and already there was good will by the country to this effect.  The recommendations by the Experts should be used as a road map to improve the rights of children but they should also be made available to children and adolescents so they could know and understand their rights.

In his concluding remarks, Mr. Castelli expressed his thanks for the recommendations of the Committee and their dedication to the rights of the child.  Although the economic situation in Argentina was certainly of concern, the State party was committed to continually improving the rights of children in Argentina.

The delegation of Argentina included representatives of the Ministry of Social Development, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Finance, and the Permanent Mission of Argentina to the United Nations Office at Geneva.

The Committee will next meet in public today at 3 p.m. to consider the combined fifth to seventh periodic report of Angola (CRC/C/AGO/5-7).

Report

The Committee is considering the combined fifth and sixth periodic report of Argentina (CRC/C/ARG/5-6).

Presentation of the Report

GABRIEL CASTELLI, Secretary for Children, Adolescents and Family at the Ministry of Social Development of Argentina, reminded that the Convention on the Rights of the Child had been incorporated in the national Constitution as soon as it had been ratified in 1990.  The normative application of the Convention was evident in the Law on the Integral Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Girls, Boys and Adolescents of 2005.  The holistic approach to the protection of children’s rights, at the national, provincial and local levels, was the bedrock of Argentina’s policy.  According to a 2017 survey, children constituted 32.8 per cent of the total population of the country.  Child poverty was present in Argentina, as it was all over Latin America, which was why the Government had reformed the tax system for those with families with lower incomes, and it had extended the child allowance coverage.  In June 2017, the system of social protection in the country covered some 8.9 million children.  The most important challenge was to identify vulnerable children and to that end, in 2016, the Government had launched a programme to identify informal settlements.  According to the results of the programme, in 2017 there were 39.7 per cent of children in situations of poverty, out of which 7.6 per cent were indigenous children.  In the area of health, access to public hospitals was open and free of charge for all children, without any discrimination.  The national social spending on children had been increased from 1.3 per cent in 1995 to 2.6 per cent in 2017.  

As part of its 2018 strategy to achieve inclusive development, the Government had adopted an intersectoral approach in implementing effective public policies for children.  As part of those efforts, in 2017, the authorities had adopted a national plan for preventing unwanted pregnancies among adolescents, whereas the Federal Council for Children, Adolescents and Family was working on a draft law on the juvenile justice system.  One of the bedrocks of the current social policy was care and development for children in early childhood, such as through the provision of quality education.  Argentina was one of the few countries where education was mandatory at all three levels: nursery, primary, and secondary.  The policy of universal nursery education would progressively cover the population of children between the age of 3 and 5.  Another priority for the Government was to eradicate violence against adolescent girls, encourage training in gender perspective, prevent school dropout among adolescents, encourage education for adolescents without parents, and to strengthen the justice system for juvenile offenders.  All those actions by the Government aimed to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty, explained Mr. Castelli.

Questions by the Committee Experts

JORGE CARDONA LLORENS, Committee Expert and Rapporteur for Argentina, expressed concern about a possible economic crisis in Argentina as a result of the ongoing negotiations with the International Monetary Fund, and the process of decentralization, which could lead to social and economic disparities.  What was the situation of family planning in all provinces?  

As for the administrative structure for implementing the Convention, it was difficult to provide a coordinated response on behalf of the State.  How would the State party address that problem?  Who coordinated children’s policies?  Depending on where children were born, their rights were respected in different ways.  How could those provincial inequalities be streamlined?  

In 2015, the Government had adopted a national plan for early childhood, and it seemed that provinces had not been consulted.  Was that the case?  How did the Government coordinate with provinces and what role did civil society play in drafting such plans and strategies?  

There were still some challenges in data collection, for example on nutrition, the situation of indigenous children, and children with disabilities.  What was the Government doing to improve data collection?

Turning to corporate social responsibility, Mr. Cardona Llorens inquired whether there was a State obligation for companies to comply with children’s rights.  Were indigenous children included in the consultation process?

Did exceptions to child marriage occur?  What was the State party doing to raise awareness about convivial unions?  What was the Government doing to combat discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex children?  How did the State party counter the high rate of suicide among adolescents in detention and in provinces?

Turning to children with disabilities, Mr. Cardona Llorens inquired about provincial laws on their social inclusion, inclusive education, pensions for children with disabilities, their sterilization, as well as about the lack of data for the identification of children with disabilities.

What measures had been taken to establish a national committee on breastfeeding?  Did the State party promote child friendly hospitals and breastfeeding in child care facilities?  How was Argentina improving basic services to tackle HIV?

Mr. Cardona Llorens reminded that 79 per cent of children up to the age of 3 had no access to child care facilities.  What would the Government do to remedy that situation?  Furthermore, secondary school educational outcomes were scandalous, Mr. Cardona Llorens noted.

LUIS ERNESTO PEDERNERA REYNA, Committee Expert and Rapporteur for Argentina, inquired about the long delay in the establishment of a Children’s Ombudsman.  Was the process transparent and participatory?  Would the Children’s Ombudsman have the necessary budgetary and human resources?

Turning to violence against children, Mr. Pedernera Reyna asked whether the recently established national preventive mechanism was up and running.  He raised concern about reports of arbitrary detention of children, often going hand in hand with torture.  According to an UNICEF survey, 31 per cent of detained children experienced torture and did not know where to report it.  What concrete actions had the State party undertaken to prevent the excessive use of force?  Was there an institutional record on the use of violence?  

Mr. Pedernera Reyna noted progress in the adoption of laws banning the use of corporal punishment, but there were regional differences in their application.   Was there a record of complaints of sexual violence against children?  Would the State party consider reviewing forced evictions of indigenous families, which was witnessed by children?

Why were pregnant children not supported appropriately?  In terms of mental healthcare, why were hospitals not replaced with community-based treatment?

There was certain stigmatization of migrants which could lead to their deportation, Mr. Pedernera Reyna noted.  What was the State party doing to ensure that mothers with children in prison had contact with the outside world?  

How many street children were there and what kind of programmes were designed for them?  Mr. Pedernera Reyna further inquired about the juvenile justice system and the detention of children.  Why was the detention of children used as the first response?  

Finally, Mr. Pedernera Reyna inquired about life imprisonment for juvenile offenders, suicide in prisons, reform of the Criminal Code with respect to child pornography, and children who were victims of trafficking.

CEPHAS LUMINA, Committee Expert and Rapporteur for Argentina, asked about the impact of austerity measures on the adequacy of resources available for the implementation of children’s rights.  Had the Government undertaken any assessment of the impact of austerity-driven public spending cuts on the realization of the rights of children, particularly of vulnerable children?  Had the Government taken any measures to ensure the sustainability of social investment programmes in the context of the removal of export tariffs on grain, beef, soya and fish?  

In the context of the existing public spending cuts implemented under the austerity policies since 2015 and those likely to be implemented under the bailout of the International Monetary Fund, to what extent would measures for the protection of children’s rights remain unaffected?  What measures would the Government put in place to ensure that the proposed International Monetary Fund programme once in place would not result in reduced social spending on children’s rights?  Would an appropriate assessment be conducted?  

Were there legal incentives to prevent corruption?  What measures had been taken to ensure that budgetary allocations for children were not wasted through corrupt public procurement processes, Mr. Lumina asked?

What was the Government doing to address the fragmentation of the national healthcare system and the lack of national standards on the quality of healthcare across provinces?  Were there any plans to further reduce healthcare expenditure in light of the proposed International Monetary Fund programme?  

Turning to environmental health, Mr. Lumina inquired about the adverse impact of agrochemicals on biodiversity, water supplies and the health of persons living in areas where intensive soya bean farming was carried out, mostly by large transnational corporations.

As for asylum-seeking and refugee children, when would the Refugee Recognition and Protection Act be reviewed?  What social programmes had been put in place to tackle child labour in the agricultural sector?  Were there any specific programmes for children engaged in street begging and guarding parked vehicles?  

KIRSTEN SANDBERG, Committee Expert and Rapporteur for Argentina, noted that there were significant differences in birth registration among provinces, and that birth registration seemed to be particularly problematic in the case of teenage mothers.  How did the State party intend to reach all children, including those in rural and remote areas?  

What legislative and administrative measures had the State party taken to implement the statelessness determination procedure?

The Committee appreciated the creation of youth centres in which children could express themselves.  However, young people complained that the mass media did not create spaces for children and adolescents to exercise their freedom of expression.  How could the underrepresentation of youth in the media be addressed?  

What was the State party doing to safeguard the freedom of assembly for children and adolescents, and to ensure their access to information and the Internet?  What measures were in place to protect them from harmful information, Ms. Sandberg asked.  

What was the status of the draft Law on Audiovisual Communication Services?  Would it contain proposed modifications for the protection of children’s rights in the audio-visual media?  Was the Advisory Body on Audiovisual Communication and Children functioning?  What had the Government done to undertake measures to promote a more positive image of children and adolescents in the media, Ms. Sandberg inquired.  

Ms. Sandberg further inquired about measures taken to avoid any medical treatment to assign sex to children before they could assert their own autonomy in that respect.  

Turning to alternative care, Ms. Sandberg asked how the State party ensured that institutions were used as a measure of last resort, and about the monitoring of care in institutions.  What measures did the State party intend to take to prevent the ill-treatment of children in centres for children with behavioural and social difficulties?  

As for adoption, Ms. Sandberg wondered what more the State party should do in order to lift its reservation to the Convention on adoption.  Was there any data on children of imprisoned parents?  

Turning to the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict, Ms. Sandberg inquired about what the State party had done to prohibit training on the use of arms in military schools.  Had peace education been introduced in the curricula of all schools?  Had Argentina criminalized the recruitment and involvement of children in hostilities by armed groups?  What efforts had been made to establish extraterritorial jurisdiction over war crimes of conscription and enlistment of children in hostilities?  Had the State party included in its legislation a specific prohibition with respect to the sale of arms to countries where children may be used in hostilities?

Replies by the Delegation

The delegation of Argentina explained that the negotiations with the International Monetary Fund were at the initial stage.  Nevertheless, the Government expected that the negotiations would not lead to any interruption to its fiscal consolidation programme in force since 2015, i.e. the gradual nature of that process.  The Government had managed to cut down taxation, while carrying out budget recovery.  It had extended the coverage of child allowance.  The austerity measures had not had an impact on public and social expenditure.  In fact, that expenditure had increased slightly.  Through a country-wide plan, the authorities had managed to assess the needs of 950,000 children.  

The delegation clarified that the universal social protection system consisted of the inclusion of simple tax contributions, increase of ceilings for the salary scales so that more employees could receive child allowance, and inclusion of temporary workers in that scheme.   The social impact of child allowance was significant:  in 2015, 2.5 per cent of homes were able to exit the status of poverty.  In addition, school enrolment had increased.  

The indicators on poverty over the past three years had decreased for some two million people; it was at the lowest level at the end of 2017.  Argentina was in a comfortable position with respect to the sustainability of the national debt, which would stabilize at 35 to 40 per cent of gross domestic product around 2020.

GABRIEL CASTELLI, Secretary for Children, Adolescents and Family at the Ministry of Social Development of Argentina, recalled that since the 1990s Argentina had managed to decentralize education, healthcare and social policies, which meant that provincial authorities had taken on the delivery of those services.  The Ministry of Social Development coordinated all social policies in the country.  However, that did not mean that provinces automatically implemented the policies adopted at the national level.  

The Government was implementing the National Plan for Early Childhood in cooperation with numerous private partners.  In order to ensure the sustainability of social policies and plans, the federal Government sought to include the participation of provincial authorities in their planning, Mr. Castelli said.  

Argentina was optimistic about its economy, which was growing steadily.  The Government’s priority was to protect the most vulnerable populations, and adjust certain mechanisms in the pension system, which had not led to a decrease in the purchasing power.  Argentina had been trying to limit its borrowing and it had placed a ceiling on the national debt, Mr. Castelli explained.  

CARLOS FORADORI, Permanent Representative of Argentina to the United Nations Office at Geneva, explained that out of 24 federal States in Argentina, 20 had their own laws on the comprehensive protection of children’s rights in place.  A presidential decree had been issued recently whereby any social programme had to communicate its progress to the Social Policy Council so that monitoring could take place efficiently.  The Cabinet on Social Development was now also in place to coordinate the implementation of social policies across the country.  There were indeed great discrepancies in the implementation of social programmes among provinces.  The empowerment of provinces in taking social protection measures was evident, Mr. Foradori explained.    

The delegation said that the Government had taken significant steps to establish a Children’s Ombudsman in cooperation with civil society.  As for institutional and police violence against children, the authorities had created entities to compile a database and investigate such occurrences.  The national and provincial preventive mechanism against torture had been in place since 2017, whereas the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Security received complaints of violence.  The authorities had also set up video surveillance cameras in places of detention.   The prevention of institutional violence was a priority for the Government, which constantly carried out training for law enforcement forces.

Following the national survey held in 2004 on the nutrition of children, another one would take place in the second half of 2018.  Three million children had come into contact with the health authorities, out of which 10 per cent were either stunted or had malnutrition, whereas 5 per cent were underweight or overweight.  It was a priority for the Government to fight obesity.  

Speaking about birth registration, the delegation said that mobile registration units were constantly available under the auspices of the Ministry of the Interior.  Local communities were informed about the arrival of mobile units through various media and accessible formats, especially in areas with indigenous communities.  

As for statelessness, Argentina’s position was that the lack of nationality constituted a violation of human rights.  The Government, thus, had a responsibility to eliminate statelessness in 10 years.  A law was being drafted by experts to that end.  The National Refugee Commission would be tasked with determining cases of statelessness.

Remarking on the rate of adolescent suicide in Argentina, a delegate said that suicides were generally connected to situations of violence, sexual abuse and mistreatment, drug use, trauma, unintended pregnancy and bullying to name a few; 20 per cent of national suicides occurred in adolescents between the age of 15 and 19.  Raising awareness about suicides as well as prevention measures had been established to help prevent and inform the population about suicide.

Breastfeeding in Argentina had been implemented as a key aspect of State policies.  Every two years a national survey was carried out to provide statistics on breastfeeding mothers and their activities.  It was found that 44 per cent of babies were breastfed exclusively from birth to six months of age.  Also contributing to higher numbers of breastfeeding mothers was support from the scientific community.  In addition, more breastfeeding friendly public hospitals and health centres had been established.  Furthermore, 24 initiatives had been introduced to cover the rights of breastfeeding women who returned to work.

Addressing questions concerning HIV/AIDS in Argentina, a delegate said, the numbers of HIV/AIDS patients had been stabilized due to increased screening and use of anti-retroviral drugs, and progress in terms of human rights and equality had helped to reduce societal stigmas.  There were 39 HIV/AIDS consultation centres across the country and 120,000 people were currently suffering from the virus in Argentina.  The HIV/AIDS unit in the Ministry of Health had carried out training courses to establish a warning system to help in the early detection of the disease.

Continuing, a delegate said that 18 Argentinian provinces had implemented legislation on family planning.  That should not be viewed as arbitrary, said the delegate, because access to the rights of all individuals to services for education and family planning were important.  Argentina was working to increase the number of adolescents that were advised on pregnancy and family planning and had created educational programmes in schools and provided contraception and family planning resources in certain places.

Regarding the issue of intersex children’s surgical procedures, in order to prevent unwanted interventions, an interdisciplinary medical team could declare that no surgery could take place on intersex babies in the perinatal stage.  In certain situations, if a procedure was required, doctors would seek the least invasive route.  Also, the delegate continued, no surgeries would be conducted on intersex children until they declared their perceived sex themselves and determined what sort of hormonal treatment they would require.  Recent statistics found that 1.4 per cent of children associated themselves as intersex.

Turning to the issue of abortion, article 6 of the Argentine criminal code permitted abortion in the case of rape.  In 2016, protocols were redeveloped and a Technical Guide for the Interruption of Abortion was drafted for use in all Argentinian provinces.

Questions by the Committee Experts

Following up on the question about intersex children, an Expert asked if there was access to justice for children who had received undesired surgical interventions?

Replies by the Delegation

The delegation said the Argentinian justice system was open to anyone who had a complaint to file, including intersex persons.

Questions by the Committee Experts

Concerning breastfeeding, in order to have good breastfeeding statistics, there needed to be decent maternity leave, but in a few provinces, there were fewer than 14 weeks of leave.  Also, was there a policy to foster an increase in the number of breastfeeding hospitals?

Replies by the Delegation

A delegate responded that maternity leave was being reviewed as well as being extended for fathers.  Great strides were being made to provide more breastfeeding places in hospitals but it was a work in progress.

Continuing on the subject of abortion, there were sometimes challenges to access for women wishing to abort.  All health professionals had the right to exercise their conscience when it came to abortion as long as it did not prevent the practice.  The job of the health practitioners was to guarantee the safe implementation of the procedure, regardless of their personal objections.

Questions by the Committee Experts

An Expert asked how HIV/AIDS patients accessed anti-retroviral drugs and how were people suffering from HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis treated? Were there statistics concerning the rates of mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS?
 
Replies by the Delegation

A delegate said Argentina had the latest treatment protocols in place for HIV/AIDS patients.  In addition to free anti-retroviral drugs for the duration of their illness, a counselling service had been established with a space for healthcare workers to meet adolescents in private to discuss health issues.  Follow-up health interventions could then occur in a local health clinic.

Mother-to-child transmission cases of HIV/AIDS were about five per cent of total reported cases.  There were efforts to be made in that regard with policies to carry out tests for couples and reduce transmission via breastfeeding.

Pertaining to mental health initiatives, the delegate continued, article 26 of an Argentinian law protected the mental health rights of children and adolescents.  Furthermore, medical prescriptions could only be prescribed by an appropriate doctor or health professional to avoid the inappropriate use of medication or over medication.

Questions by the Committee Experts

An Expert asked if statistics were available for the number of children in mental health institutions and data concerning the number of children that received medication for attention deficit disorders.

Replies by the Delegation

Children with attention deficit disorders were often seen by private doctors, said a delegate, so statistics on such cases were not readily available.

Turning to environmental health, agencies across the country enacted laws to control the use of chemical fertilizers.  A national plan 2016-2019 set out environmental health plans, particularly targeting certain provinces.

Questions by the Committee Experts

Asking for clarification concerning health services, an Expert said there had been no response to the question concerning the reduction of healthcare expenditures by 40 per cent.  Also how were the disparities in health care by province being addressed by the Government?

Replies by the Delegation

The amount of funds aimed at healthcare had not been reduced.  On the request of the provinces, there had, in fact, been an increase in healthcare spending.  Some provinces needed additional services but there were no specific budget cuts, replied a delegate.

Regarding the situation of homeless children and adolescents, activities had been established to address those situations.  Children in homes with no parental care had been given support based on the principle of progressive autonomy with a mentoring scheme in place from age 13 years onward.  Children over the age of 18 could also receive further care in certain cases.

In this programme, children could ask for early emancipation and were then followed by a mentor, suggested, in some cases, by the child.  All mentors supporting those young people would receive training.

Questions by the Committee Experts

An Expert asked how the law in Argentina that provided support for children in care of a mentor was implemented and how services were provided to children in cases of homelessness.  What were the international policies that were involved in those cases?

Replies by the Delegation

The law to provide support to homeless children was awaiting final approval but had not yet been fully implemented.  With regard to street children, there was no registry in the secretariat.  In most cases, that was a population taken care of by provincial services.

Following up, another delegate said that the registration of street children was carried out in transit centres.  Help was given in voluntary ways as well.  Once registered, street children could either go to a special home or would return to where they came from, often in urban cases.

With respect to violence among children, those cases were handled by adolescent participation centres, which were open centres aimed at adolescents between the ages of 13 and 17 with cultural, recreational and training programmes.  Adolescents could also interact with their peers in those centres.  In addition, the State had established hotlines to provide assistance to victims of violence.

Regarding drug use, specific art and sport programmes had been established to provide alternative outlets for adolescents living in vulnerable parts of the country where drug use was rampant.

Drug abuse was addressed by hospitals for acute cases.  Chronic treatment was also provided by all public hospitals with some units specialized for cases of addiction.  Prevention campaigns concerning alcohol abuse were also in place.  Statistics showed that 13.9 per cent of pre-adolescents and adolescents were consumers of alcohol.
A programme called “The Early Childhood Years,” covered 140,000 families and included home visits of two hours over the course of eight weeks and during those visits, educational family resources were made available concerning reproductive health, violence, abuse, and also pedagogical tools.  The national Government had injected more resources to that programme to increase the parenting programme to cover 180,000 families.

Regarding education, the State was rolling out a digital programme to give students access to the Internet.  A programme called Connect Equally gave students access to laptop computers; however, it was found that 76 per cent of children had some access to the Internet by the time they were in primary school.

Turning to disability, a disability allowance was provided by the State.  On one hand there was a contributory pension connected to work, which was supported by a 2009 decree and was part of the universal child allowance.  That allowance also covered foreign children who had resided in the country for three years.  Around 115,000 children were covered by this contributory pension.  Another non-contributory beneficiary programme covered 122,000 people.

Concerning data collection amongst children with disabilities, a delegate said that statistics were still lacking.

Responding to questions about juveniles in detention, a delegate explained that even though alternative measures to imprisonment had been met with resistance by the juvenile criminal system, all provinces had coordinated with legislative and executive branches to figure out the necessary requirements for juveniles in the justice system.  A drafting committee was created to this effect with the help of the United Nations Children's Fund.  

Concerning the rights of juvenile detainees, the Ministry of Justice was working on a draft law to ensure that juvenile criminal justice worked from a restorative approach for young people.  This law focused on the Inter-American framework of restorative justice and was interdisciplinary in its approach.  A team with a counsellor would follow a juvenile criminal case to help ensure that children in conflict with the law could have a future once released.

Regarding the state of children in prison with their parents, the State party was constantly working to rehabilitate mothers with young children.  There were currently 36 cases of children in prison with their mothers.  They had access to a healthcare system as well as nutritional and educational support.

Continuing, a delegate explained that there were programmes in place to provide support to victims of sexual and violent crimes.  For example, there was a hotline in Buenos Aires with a mobile team that could meet the victims after reporting an incident of abuse.  From all the reports, 2,094 victims cared for were young girls, with 38 per cent of those girls reported to be under the age of 11.

On the subject of trafficking, there was a national plan to care for victims in place in all the provinces.  A multi-disciplinary team provided psychological and other support.  There was also a direct complaint hotline.

Education in Argentina was guaranteed for all and was to be free, fair and of high quality.  Set in motion already was a 2016-2021 plan to establish 10,000 more classrooms and increase the number of children from ages 3 to 5 that were not yet in school.  In primary school, policies geared toward improving the level of education included the extension of the school day, improved teacher training and a flagship school programme to strengthen pedagogic practices and children’s educational experiences.  

In addition, said a delegate, by developing a digital education plan, the State would give students the tools to succeed in a technological society by providing them with different technological solutions; 10,000 teachers would be given technological training as part of that plan.

As part of a national plan to reduce unwanted pregnancies, sexual health and reproduction programmes were established for schools in places where adolescent pregnancies were highly prevalent.  This was important, said a delegate, because 30 per cent of all secondary education drop-outs were pregnant adolescents.

Concerning the sale of weapons, Argentina had a specific process for the sale of weapons, which took into concern the country of destination, the conflict situation of the country and the prevalence of armed minors in that country.

Regarding forced eviction, Argentina used prior, free and informed consent in indigenous communities on a range of matters concerning the effects on their lifestyle because of corporate or other interests.  Migrant legislation in Argentina was fully in line with human rights as set out by the United Nations.  Migration boosted diversity and development and was viewed with a positive regard by the State.  Already, Argentina had granted 370,000 residency statuses and was also focused on regulating the situation of Dominican and Columbian migrants living in the country.  Furthermore, explained the delegate, if a child’s mother or father lived in Argentina, they could have the right to residency as well.  A lasting situation for migrant children had been in place since 2012.  Unaccompanied minors from Africa also fell under that protocol.

Concerning child labour, Argentina had adopted the prohibition of the worst forms of child labour convention, which concerned activities related to toxic and explosive substances, night work, etc.

Concluding Remarks

LUIS ERNESTO PEDERNERA REYNA, Committee Expert and Rapporteur for Argentina, thanked the delegation for their open dialogue.  The challenge for Argentina would be to continue to progress in a clear direction in promoting the rights of the child and already there was good will by the country to this effect.  Argentina was a country of great wealth and diversity but some of the topics raised, like the economic situation, children’s ombudsperson, and inter-institutional problems, still needed to be addressed to meet international expectations.  The recommendations by the Experts should be used as a road map to improve the rights of children but it should also be made available to children and adolescents so they could know and understand their rights.

GABRIEL CASTELLI, Secretary for Children, Adolescents and Family at the Ministry of Social Development of Argentina, understood the review was done with the best of intentions and found that it was helpful to review policies in Argentina.  The economic situation was certainly of concern and children were the greatest vulnerable group in that respect.  Mr. Castelli wanted to reiterate that in Argentina, there was no systematic violence and that cases promoted in the media were cases where the justice system had immediately intervened, and he assured that there were no trigger happy policies, particularly with regard to children and adolescents.  In his words, investing in children was the best path to the future of the nation.

RENATE WINTER, Committee Chair, asked Mr. Castelli to pass on her best regards to the children of Argentina and wished the delegation a safe trip home.

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