COMMITTEE ON RIGHTS OF CHILD CONCLUDES TWENTY-SEVENTH SESSION



8 June 2001



ROUND-UP




Releases Final Conclusions and Recommendations on Reports of Denmark, Turkey, Guatemala, Côte d'Ivoire,
Democratic Republic of the Congo,
Tanzania, Bhutan and Monaco



The Committee on the Rights of the Child today concluded its three-week spring session, issuing conclusions and recommendations on reports submitted to it by Denmark, Turkey, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guatemala, Côte d'Ivoire, Tanzania, Bhutan and Monaco.

The eight countries, in keeping with their obligations as States parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, presented the Committee with written reports on their efforts to promote and protect children's rights, and sent Government delegations to discuss the documents and answer questions from the Committee's 10 independent Experts.

In reviewing the report of Denmark, the Committee commended the State party for its overall progress in implementing the Convention; however, it expressed concern about the situation of children belonging to ethnic minority families and recommended that the State party strengthen its programmes and initiatives in support of single parent and ethnic minority families.

Among positive aspects in the report of Turkey, the Committee welcomed the ongoing process to ensure that the State party's legislation was compatible with the provisions of the Convention; it was however concerned that the principle of non-discrimination was not fully implemented for children belonging to minorities not recognized by the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923, in particular children of Kurdish origin, among others; and it recommended that the State party take appropriate measures to prevent and combat discrimination.

On the report of Guatemala, the Committee welcomed the establishment of an Advisory Committee on Educational Reform for the modification of the curriculum content to help eradicate stereotypes and discrimination based on sex, ethnic and social origin or poverty. Deep concern was expressed about the information that violence against children was increasing; in particular, the Committee noted with great concern that many children feared for their lives because they were continually threatened and were victims of violence.

With regard to the report of Côte d’Ivoire, the Committee welcomed the enactment of the new Constitution of 1 August 2000 which contained provisions on human rights for the protection of children and which abolished the death penalty; it was however concerned by the occurrence of discrimination against non-citizen children, children with disabilities, children born out of wedlock, children from ethnic minorities, Muslim children, and girls, notably concerning the low rate of education of girls, and it recommended that the State party make concerted efforts at all levels to address discrimination.

The Committee welcomed the enactment of the "sexual offences act" of 1998 in Tanzania which provided greater protection for women and children against sexual abuse and exploitation. It expressed concern that the severe impact of HIV/AIDS continued to threaten the right to life, survival and development of children within the country; and the State party was encouraged to take all effective measures to provide greater protection and support to children.

On the report of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Committee noted the establishment of a " national commission for childhood", and the involvement of various ministries in the implementation of the Convention. It was deeply concerned about the deliberate killing of children by armed forces of the State party, armed forces of other State parties that had participated in the conflict and by armed groups, and by the continuing impunity for such acts constituting very serious violations of children's rights.

Concerning Bhutan, the Committee welcomed the holistic approach undertaken by Bhutan in formulating policies and programmes relating to aspects of the Convention and their child_focused approach; it was, however, concerned at the absence of an independent mechanism with the mandate of regularly monitoring and evaluating progress in the implementation of the Convention; and the State party was encouraged to consider the establishment of an independent national human rights institution.

And on the report of Monaco, the Committee noted the very positive implementation of most children's rights within the State party, and the fact that in most areas all children had equal enjoyment of their rights; it expressed concern that some legislative provisions were not in full conformity with the provisions of the Convention; and recommended that the State party proceed with efforts to amend domestic legislation toward ensuring full respect for the Convention.

The Committee's next session, its twenty-eighth, will be held from 24 September to 12 October 2001. It will consider reports from Portugal, Kenya, Oman, Paraguay, Qatar, Uzbekistran, Gambia, Mauritania, Cape Verde and Cameroon.



Conclusions and Recommendations on Country Reports

DENMARK

The Committee commended Denmark for its overall progress in implementing the Convention and noted with satisfaction that the right of parents to use corporal punishment on their children was abolished by law; it also noted with satisfaction that the National Council for Children was permanently established by law in 1998 and was mandated independently to assess the situation of children within the State.

The Committee regretted that the report did not include adequate information concerning the situation of children in Greenland and the Faeroe Islands and it recommended that all effective measures be taken to ensure that the next report include specific information on the situation in those territories.

It suggested that Denmark take all effective measures to ensure that its independent complaints mechanisms were accessible to and user-friendly for all children in order to deal with complaints of violations of their rights and to provide remedies for such violations; while the Committee noted the reluctance to establish a separate complaints mechanism for children, it encouraged the State party to consider strengthening the mandate of the National Council for Children to include individual cases and complaints from children or to establish a child-rights focal point within the Office of the Ombudsman.

The Committee recommended that the State party strengthen its measures by organizing ongoing awareness-raising campaigns to change attitudes and to eliminate de facto discrimination and xenophobia against minority groups, especially children belonging to migrant families, refugee children, children with disabilities, and children belonging to economically disadvantaged families. Further, it recommended that additional efforts be made to ensure the implementation of the principle of the best interests of the child in the national laws, policies and programmes for children as well as in all judicial and administrative decisions concerning children.

On family environment and alternative care, the Committee expressed concern about the situation of children belonging to ethnic minority families; it recommended that the State party strengthen its programmes and initiatives in support of single parent and ethnic minority families. The Committee noted the various measures to address abuse and neglect of children; however, it remained concerned about the lack of information on the magnitude of the phenomenon; and it recommended that the State party develop and implement a comprehensive policy that included, among other things, an effective reporting and referral system of all cases of child abuse, including sexual abuse and neglect.

With regard to violence against children in institutions, the Committee recommended that the State party strengthen its measures, in participation with children, to prevent and combat violence and bullying in schools, taking into account the recommendations of the National Council for Children made in that regard; and it recommended that Denmark take the necessary measures to prevent persons convicted of crimes committed against children from working in care and other institutions for children.


The Committee said that it remained concerned that children between the ages of 15 and 17 years might be held in adult detention facilities and kept in solitary confinement; it urged the State party to review its legislation and policies governing juvenile justice to ensure full consistency with the Convention; and it recommended that all effective measures be taken to ensure that children were separated from adults in detention facilities and that children were not subjected to solitary confinement.


TURKEY

Among positive aspects in the report of Turkey, the Committee welcomed the on-going process to ensure that the State party's legislation was compatible with the provisions of the Convention; it noted with satisfaction the establishment of the Higher Council and the Sub_Committee for Monitoring and Evaluating the Rights of the Child, established under the Prime Minister to coordinate inter-sectoral planning for children.

Under factors and difficulties impeding progress in the implementation of the Convention, the Committee noted with concern that Turkey was facing some difficulties, in particular due to the persistence of social and regional disparities in the country, and the damaging effects provoked by the two devastating earthquakes of 17 August and 12 November 1999; and it observed that the State party's narrow interpretation of the definition of a minority was impeding for some groups the enjoyment of human rights protected under the Convention.

The Committee encouraged the State party to consider withdrawing its reservations to article 17, 29 and 30 of the Convention; it expressed concern that there was still a relevant part of legislation, such as the "Anti-Terror Law" of 1991 and some provisions on juvenile courts, that was not in full conformity with the provisions and principles of the Convention; and it further recommended that the State party continue its efforts on law reform with a view to ensuring full conformity of domestic legislation, and to take steps to end disparities between law and practice, in particular with reference to pre-trial detention of children.

It expressed concern about the absence of an independent mechanism, such as an Ombudsman or a commission for children, to monitor children's rights and to register and address individual complaints from children on violations of their rights under the Convention; and it encouraged Turkey to pursue its efforts with a view to developing and establishing an independent and effective mechanism, easily accessible for children and in accordance with the Paris Principles, to monitor the implementation of the Convention.

The Committee was concerned that the principles of non-discrimination, best interests of the child and respect for the views of the child were not fully reflected in the State party's legislation and administrative and judicial decisions; it recommended that the general principles be appropriately integrated in all relevant legislation concerning children.

The Committee was concerned that the principle of non-discrimination was not fully implemented for children belonging to minorities not recognized by the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923, in particular children of Kurdish origin, among others; and it recommended that the State party take appropriate measures to prevent and combat discrimination.


It was deeply concerned about the violation of the right to life, especially the practice of "honour killings", prevailing in particular in the eastern and south-eastern regions and among recent immigrants to cities, by which immediate family members killed women who were suspected of being unchaste, and noted that often both victims and perpetrators were minors; and the Committee strongly recommended that the State party review rapidly legislation with a view to addressing those crimes in an effective way and to eliminate all provisions allowing reductions of sentence if the crime was committed for honour purposes.

The Committee was extremely concerned by the violation of the right of the child not to be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment appearing in the number of reported cases of torture or ill-treatment of children, especially when placed in pre-trial detention; and it recommended that Turkey review existing legislation with the view to preventing that children were held incommunicado.

The Committee expressed its deep concern that physical punishment in the home was culturally and legally accepted and that only "excessive punishment" resulting in physical injury was prohibited by the penal code; and it encouraged the State party to develop measures to raise awareness on the harmful effects of corporal punishment and to engage in alternative forms of discipline in families to be administered in a manner consistent with the child's dignity.

Further, the Committee expressed its concern at the high number of internally displaced children in Turkey; and it recommended that the State party ensure that internally displaced children and their families had access to appropriate health and education services and adequate housing.


GUATEMALA

On the report of Guatemala, the Committee welcomed the establishment of an Advisory Committee on Educational Reform for the modification of the curriculum content to help eradicate stereotypes and discrimination based on sex, ethnic and social origin or poverty. It also welcomed the programme for girls linked to the "national system of the improvement of human resources and curricula" developed by the Government.

Among the factors and difficulties impeding progress in the implementation of the Convention, the Committee noted with concern that Guatemala was still facing many difficulties due to the legacy of poverty and authoritarian rule, as well as human rights violations and impunity resulting from more than 30 years of armed conflict; of particular concern for the Committee was recent information that there were signs of deterioration of the human rights situation; and it also noted the serious economic and social disparities affecting most of the population, in particular indigenous people.

The Committee recommended, among other things, that the State party pursue its efforts to review its legislation with a view to increasing the minimum age of marriage of girls to that for boys in order to bring it into full conformity with the provisions and principles of the Convention; it was concerned that the principles of non-discrimination, best interest of the child and respect for the views of the child were not fully reflected in Guatemala; and it recommended that the State party appropriately integrate general principles of the Convention.


The Committee was concerned that the principles of non-discrimination were not fully implemented for children belonging to indigenous groups; urban and rural poor children; girls; children with disabilities; and children living in displaced communities and in rural areas; and it recommended that the State party take all necessary measures to end discrimination and to monitor discrimination against vulnerable children.

Deep concern was expressed about the information that violence against children was increasing; in particular, the Committee noted with great concern that many children feared for their lives because they were continually threatened and were victims of violence; and of particular concern for the Committee was the alleged involvement of the State civil police in some of those cases of violence and the lack of proper investigation of those cases by Guatemalan authorities. The Committee recommended that the State party take, as a matter of highest priority, all the necessary steps to prevent those serious violations of children's rights, to ensure their proper investigation and to bring those responsible to justice.

The Committee recommended that Guatemala undertake studies on domestic violence, ill_treatment and abuse, including sexual abuse, in order to understand the extent, scope and nature of those practices, adopt and effectively implement adequate measures and policies, and contribute to changing attitudes; and measures should be taken to provide support services to children in legal proceedings, and for the physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of the victims of rape, abuse, neglect, ill-treatment and violence.

The Committee expressed its concern regarding the high rates of early pregnancy, the rise in the number of children and youths using drugs, the increase in cases of sexually transmitted diseases, in particular syphilis, and the growing numbers of cases of HIV/AIDS among youths; and it recommended that the State party increase its efforts to promote adolescent health and encouraged Guatemala to seek international technical cooperation.

While noting the national plan against sexual and commercial exploitation was at its final stage of elaboration, the Committee expressed its deep concern that, with regard to the increasing phenomenon of commercial sexual exploitation of children, legislation was inadequate, cases involving children sexually exploited were often not investigated and prosecuted, and no rehabilitation programmes were available; and it recommended that all necessary measure be taken to prevent and combat the phenomenon.


CÔTE D'IVOIRE

As part of positive aspects on the report of Côte d’Ivoire, the Committee welcomed the enactment of the new Constitution of 1 August 2000 which contained provisions on human rights for the protection of children and which abolished the death penalty; the conclusion of a bilateral agreement with Mali prohibiting trafficking in children between the two States parties; and the adoption of the law on female genital mutilation.

The Committee encouraged the State party to consider the establishment of an independent national human rights institution in accordance with the Paris Principles relating to the status of national institutions to monitor and evaluate progress in the implementation of the Convention; and to seek technical assistance from, inter alia, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and UNICEF.

While recognizing the difficult and poor economic conditions, the Committee recommended that Cote d'Ivoire make every effort to increase the proportion of the budget allocated to children's rights; and to develop ways to establish a systematic assessment of the impact of budgetary allocations on the implementation of the child rights, and to collect and disseminate information in that regard.

The Committee was concerned by the occurrence of discrimination against non-citizen children, children with disabilities, children born out of wedlock, children from ethnic minorities, Muslim children, and girls, notably concerning the low rate of education of girls. The State party was recommended to make concerted efforts at all levels to address discrimination.

The Committee was deeply concerned about the situation of children born from mothers serving sentences, as both had very limited access to health services; and it recommended that the State party take all the necessary measures to ensure that children born in prison and their mothers were provided access to health services.

While welcoming the existence of a Children's Parliament, the Committee was concerned that respect for the views of the child remained limited within the family, in schools, in the courts and in the society at large due to traditional attitudes; and it recommended that the State party promote and facilitate respect for the views of children and their participation in all matters affecting them in accordance with their evolving capacity.

The Committee was concerned about the extremely poor conditions of detention for children, amounting in many instances to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment; and it urged the State party to take all necessary measures to improve the conditions of detention of children in prisons and to ensure that each case of violence and abuse be duly investigated in order to avoid impunity of the perpetrators.

While noting the establishment of a national committee to combat violence against women and children, the Committee was concerned at the incidence of abuse, including sexual abuse, and neglect of children, and that insufficient efforts had been made to protect children; and it was also particularly concerned at the high level of domestic violence and sexual abuse of girls in schools. It recommended that the State party undertake studies on domestic violence, ill-treatment and child abuse in order to adopt effective measures and policies, and to contribute to changing attitudes.

The Committee was concerned that insufficient attention had been given to adolescent health issues, including developmental, mental, and reproductive health concerns, and substance abuse; and it recommended that the State party undertake a comprehensive study to understand the nature and extent of adolescent health problems, and with the full participation of adolescents, use that as a basis to formulate adolescent health policies and programmes with particular attention to girl adolescents.

Further, the Committee remained extremely concerned about the alarming high incidence and increasing prevalence of HIV/AIDS among adults and children and the resulting large number of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS; it urged the State party to consider ways of minimizing the impact upon children of HIV/AIDS-related deaths of parents, teachers and others, in terms of children's reduced access to a family life.


The Committee remained deeply concerned about the large number of child victims of trafficking for their exploitation in the State party's agricultural, mining, domestic sectors and any other form of exploitation; and it recommended that measures be taken on an urgent basis, such as a comprehensive programme to prevent and combat the trafficking and sale of children.


TANZANIA

Among positive aspects in the report of Tanzania, the Committee welcomed the enactment of the "sexual offences act" of 1998 which provided greater protection for women and children against sexual abuse and exploitation; and the establishment in 1997 of the State party's first juvenile court and noted the intention to create juvenile courts in each region of the country. The Committee acknowledged that the economic and social difficulties facing the country had a negative impact on the situation of children and had impeded the full implementation of the Convention.

The Committee noted with concern that the law did not explicitly prohibit the use of the death sentence or life imprisonment for children below the age of 18 years; and strongly urged the State party to establish by law the prohibition of the use of the death sentence and life imprisonment for children below that age. The Committee also noted with concern that the principle of non-discrimination was not adequately implemented with respect to certain vulnerable groups of children; and it recommended that the State party take all effective measures to implement laws, policies and programmes to guarantee the principle of non-discrimination.

Moreover, the Committee expressed concern that the severe impact of HIV/AIDS, mounting economic challenges, and other socio-economic difficulties continued to threaten the right to life, survival and development of children within the country; and the State party was encouraged to take all effective measures to provide greater protection and support to children.

The Committee was concerned about the incidence of police brutality, particularly against children living and/or working on the streets, refugee children and those in conflict with the law; concern was also expressed at the inadequate enforcement of existing legislation to ensure that all children were treated with respect for their physical and mental integrity and their inherent dignity; and it strongly recommended that all appropriate measures be taken to fully implement the provisions of articles 37(a) and 39 of the Convention.

Further, the Committee noted with regret that the law allowed the use of corporal punishment as a sentence for children and youth in the juvenile justice system; concern was also expressed that that type of punishment continued to be practised in schools, families and care institutions; and the State party was recommended to take legislative measures to prohibit all forms of physical and mental violence, including corporal punishment.

While the Committee noted the reforms underway in health care, it remained concerned about the limited access to basic health care, related largely to the introduction of user fees in health; the insufficient number of trained personnel; the high incidence of malaria; high maternal, child and infant mortality rates; and the high rate of malnutrition, among others. The Committee recommended that the State party allocate appropriate resources and develop comprehensive policies and programmes to improve the health situation of children.


The Committee was concerned that female genital mutilation was still widely practised despite its prohibition by law; and it recommended that the State party strengthen its efforts to combat and eradicate the persistent practice of female genital mutilation and other traditional practices harmful to the health of girls, such as infanticide and early and forced marriages.

Also, the Committee remained concerned about the large and increasing number of child victims of commercial sexual exploitation and sex tourism, including prostitution and pornography; and recommended that the State party undertake studies with a view to understanding the scope of commercial sex exploitation and implementing preventive policies and rehabilitative and social reintegration programmes for child victims.


DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

Among factors and difficulties impeding the implementation of the Convention in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Committee noted the negative impact on children of the armed conflict within the State party's territory and the role of numerous actors in the conflict, including the armed forces of several States all party to the Convention, and numerous private companies illegally exploiting the country's natural resources; and it noted grave violations of the Convention within territory outside of the control of the State party and where armed elements had been active.

The Committee noted the establishment of a " national commission for childhood", and the involvement of various ministries in the implementation of the Convention, among other things; and recommended that the State party take all the necessary steps to ensure the effective coordination of the activities related to implementation of the Convention. The Committee was deeply concerned at the very low annual budget allocations for health, education and other areas of direct relevance to children; and it recommended that the State party raise the proportion of spending on those areas and other priority areas to the maximum available resources.

The Committee was deeply concerned that the Convention was insufficiently known and understood among relevant professionals and among the population in general; and it urged the State party to initiate a thorough campaign to inform and train professionals, children and the population in general of the existence and meaning, principles and provisions of the Convention.

Further, the Committee expressed deep concern at the practices of discrimination which continued to profoundly affect many children in the country including ethnic and gender discrimination; the legislation did not explicitly prohibit discrimination against children for all of the grounds covered by the Convention in its article 2; and it recommended that the State party urgently identify and address the different causes of discrimination and end all practices of discrimination which affected respect for the Convention.

Among other things, the Committee strongly urged the State party to take all measures that would prevent the massive number of deaths related to the armed conflict and to prevent practices of infanticide through a peaceful, rapid and conclusive end to the armed conflict.


The Committee was deeply concerned that children were regularly the victims of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, sometimes constituting torture, committed by, inter alia, teachers, the police, the military and the family, and that those acts were violations of children's rights; and it strongly urged the State party to strengthen its efforts to address the causes and incidence of torture and other ill-treatment.

With regard to health, the Committee noted with deep concern the poor health situation of children in the State party, the very limited access of most children to adequate health care, the very high rates of maternal and infant mortality, and the high percentage of children suffering from malnutrition; and it recommended that the State party improve the access of children and mothers to health care.

The Committee was deeply concerned by the very high numbers of children affected by HIV/AIDS through direct infection, including mother to child transmissions, or following the illness or death of a parent; it was also concerned about provisions of the criminal code banning contraception given the growing need to prevent transmission of HIV/AIDS; and the State party was recommended to make every effort to reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS by preventing its transmission among the population.

The Committee was deeply concerned about the deliberate killing of children by armed forces of the State party, armed forces of other State parties that had participated in the conflict and by armed groups, and by the continuing impunity for such acts constituting very serious violations of children's rights. It recommended that the State party strengthen its efforts to end the armed conflict and to ensure that the protection and promotion of children's rights were given due consideration in the ongoing peace process.


BHUTAN

The Committee welcomed the holistic approach undertaken by Bhutan in formulating policies and programmes relating to aspects of the Convention and their child-focused approach. It acknowledged that difficult topography, the relative recency of socio-economic development; the pressures posed by high population growth on the provision of social services; and the shortage of human and economic resources, were factors impeding the implementation of some provisions of the Convention.

The Committee was, however, concerned at the absence of an independent mechanism with the mandate of regularly monitoring and evaluating progress in the implementation of the Convention, and which was empowered to receive and address complaints; the State party was encouraged to consider the establishment of an independent national human rights institution; and to seek technical assistance from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and UNICEF.

The Committee was concerned at the disparities in the enjoyment of rights experienced by children belonging to the most vulnerable groups; and it 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; and to prioritize and target social services for children belonging to the most vulnerable sectors.


The Committee was concerned about the impact on children of reports of discrimination against individuals belonging to the Lhotshampas; and recommended that the State party take effective measures to prevent and eliminate discrimination; establish accessible and effective mechanisms to monitor discrimination; and to take all appropriate measures.

Moreover, the Committee recommended that the State party ensure that adolescents had access to and were provided with education on reproductive health and other adolescent health issues; strengthen efforts of adolescent health education with the educational system; and seek assistance from UNICEF and the World Health Organization.

While noting that the verification process of refugees in Nepal had commenced, the Committee was nevertheless concerned at the low rate of the process and the serious and negative impact that had on the rights of the children residing in those camps, particularly given that implementation would begin only when all refugees had been verified. It recommended that Bhutan make greater efforts to expedite the verification process and consider acceding to the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, its 1967 Protocol, and the Convention on statelessness.


MONACO

Among positive aspects in the report of Monaco, the Committee noted the very positive implementation of most children's rights within the State party, and the fact that in most areas all children had equal enjoyment of their rights; the effective social security system covering persons in remunerated work; and the wide dissemination of copies of the Convention to all students.

The Committee was concerned that some legislative provisions were not in full conformity with the provisions of the Convention; and recommended that the State party proceed with efforts to amend domestic legislation toward ensuring full respect for the Convention.

The Committee was further concerned by the State party's declaration and reservation made upon ratification of the Convention; that it did not have a clear child rights policy; that there was no comprehensive monitoring and independent assessment of the Convention's implementation within the State party; at the lack of sufficient disaggregated data on the situation of children and programmes to implement the Convention; at gender discrimination in the passing on of nationality by mothers; that children had insufficient opportunities to have their opinions taken into consideration; that corporal punishment was not prohibited under law; that domestic legislation and practice did not expressly guarantee the same right to all children in Monaco concerning free health care; that human rights education was not systematically provided at all levels of school programmes; and about the practice of drug abuse among children, among other things.

Among its recommendations, the Committee urged that the State party proceed with efforts to amend domestic legislation toward ensuring full respect for the provisions of the Convention; it recommended that Monaco consider defining a child rights policy; that it make use of existing mechanisms, or establish a new mechanism, through which the Convention's overall implementation within the State party could be monitored and assessed; that it proceed with the efforts to define the age of majority at 18; that it pursue its ongoing efforts to adopt legislation establishing an equal right for men and women to pass on Monegasque nationality to their children; that Monaco prohibit the practice of corporal punishment; that an equal right of fathers and mothers be established to financial assistance related to the care of their children; that a right to health care be provided to all children in the State; and that measures be implemented to prevent and end drug abuse among children.


Convention on Rights of Child

The General Assembly adopted the Convention unanimously on 10 November 1989, 30 years after the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of the Child. The Convention makes States which accept ie legally accountable for their actions towards children. Work on its drafting began in 1979 -- the International Year of the Child -- at the Commission on Human Rights.

The Convention was opened for signature on 26 January 1990. That day, 61 countries signed it, a record first-day response. It entered into force just seven months later, on 2 September 1990.

Ratifying the Convention entails reviewing national legislation to make sure it is in line with the provisions of the treaty. The Convention stipulates, among other things, that: every child had the right to life, and States shall ensure to the maximum child survival and development; every child has the right to a name and nationality from birth; and, when courts, welfare institutions or administrative authorities deal with children, the child's best interests shall be a primary consideration. The Convention recognizes the right of children to be heard.

Furthermore, States shall ensure that each child enjoys full rights without discrimination or distinctions of any kind; that children should not be separated from their parents, unless by competent authorities for their well-being; States should facilitate reunification of families by permitting travel into, or out of, their territories, and States shall protect children from physical or mental harm and neglect, including sexual abuse or exploitation.

Also according to the Convention, disabled children shall have the right to special treatment, education and care; primary education shall be free and compulsory and discipline in school should respect the child's dignity; capital punishment or life imprisonment shall not be imposed for crimes committed before the age of 18; no child under 15 should take any part in hostilities and children exposed to armed conflict shall receive special protection; and children of minority and indigenous populations shall freely enjoy their own culture, religion and language.


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, nominated by the States parties to serve in their personal capacity, have been elected to the Committee: Ibrahim Abdul Aziz Al-Sheddi (Saudi Arabia), Ghalia Mohd Bin Hmad Al-Thani (Qatar), Jacob Egbert Doek (Netherlands), Saisuree Chutikul (Thailand), Luigi Citarella (Italy), Amina Hamza El Guindi (Egypt), Judith Karp (Israel), Awa N'Deye Ouedraogo (Burkina Faso), Marilia Sardenberg (Brazil), and Elizabeth Tigerstedt-Tahtela (Finland).

The Chairperson is Mr. Doek. Vice Chairpersons are Mrs. El Guindi, Mrs. Ouedraogo, and Mrs. Sardenberg. Mrs. Karp is Rapporteur.



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