GENEVA (30 September 2021) — The UN Child Rights Committee (CRC) has issued its findings on Czech Republic, Eswatini, Poland and Switzerland, the States parties that it reviewed during its latest session.
The findings contain positive aspects of each country's implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols, as well as the Committee's main concerns and recommendations. Some of the key highlights include:
The Committee was seriously concerned about a growing number of children exploited in prostitution and pornography. The Committee urged the State party to effectively investigate child sexual exploitation, particularly abuse online and in the tourism sector.
The CRC remained concerned about the high rates of institutionalizing children, particularly those with disabilities. It recommended that the State party adopt a comprehensive national policy to phase out institutionalization and to support community or family-based options to take care of children in need, paying particular attention to children with disabilities, Roma children and children under the age of three.
Regarding child marriage in Eswatini, the Committee urged the State party to revise its legislation and to amend the Marriage Act to ensure that the minimum age of marriage is 18 for both girls and boys, and to take all necessary measures to eliminate child marriages in practice.
To address the high rate of early pregnancies, the Committee recommended that the State party provide young girls with access to family planning services, affordable contraceptives and safe abortion. It also called on Eswatini to take actions to make comprehensive sexual and reproductive health education compulsory in schools.
The CRC was concerned about the persisting practice of corporal punishment and domestic violence against children. It recommended that the State party strengthen measures to eradicate corporal punishment, particularly at home, and make childcare and educational facilities legally obliged to safeguard children against violence. It also called for setting up a confidential and child-friendly mechanism for children to report violence and abuse to the authorities.
The Committee regretted that there was limited information on the investigation, prosecution and sanction of cases of sexual abuse by clergy. It recommended that the State party continue its efforts to ensure all sexual abuse of children are reported and investigated, including in the family and the Catholic Church. It also recommended that all perpetrators are duly prosecuted and prevented from having contact with children in their professional capacity.
The CRC expressed concern about de facto discrimination against children in disadvantaged situations, in particular with regard to access to education and health services. It recommended that the State party address the root causes of de facto discrimination, prohibit all forms of discrimination, and eliminate discrimination against children in disadvantaged situations, including refugee, asylum-seeking and migrant children, children with disabilities, LGBTI children and socioeconomically disadvantaged children.
The experts were concerned that the views of children under the age of 14 are not heard in the country’s asylum procedure, and that children between 15 and 18 years old can be detained because of their migration status. They recommended that Switzerland ensure its asylum procedure complies with the rights of the child and have the children’s best interests taken as a primary consideration in all decisions related to transfer, detention or deportation. They also called on the Swiss authorities to ensure that no child under the age of 18 is detained because of their migration status.
The above findings, officially named Concluding Observations, are now available online on the session webpage.
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The Committee on the Rights of the Child monitors States parties' adherence to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols on involvement of children in armed conflict, and on sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. The Convention to date has 196 States parties. The Committee is made up of 18 members who are independent human rights experts drawn from around the world, who serve in their personal capacity and not as representatives of States parties.
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