Committee on Rights of Child Concludes Forty-Fifth Session
Tuesday, August 28, 2007 3:58 PM

The Committee on the Rights of the Child today concluded its forty-fifth session, issuing its conclusions and recommendations on the situation of children in Slovakia, the Maldives, Uruguay and Kazakhstan, all of whose reports on efforts to comply with the Convention on the Rights of the Child were considered during the session. The reports of Sudan, Guatemala, Ukraine and Bangladesh on efforts to comply with the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, and the reports of Monaco, Norway, Sweden and Guatemala on the involvement of children in armed conflict, were also considered, and concluding observations issued on them.

Four new members of the Committee were sworn in at the beginning of the session: Agnes Akosua Aidoo of Ghana; Luigi Citarella of Italy; Maria Herczog of Hungary; and Dainius Puras of Lithuania. In addition, at its first meeting a new Bureau was elected: Committee Expert Yanghee Lee, of the Republic of Korea, was elected as Chairperson; Kamel Filali of Algeria, Rosa Maria Ortiz of Paraguay, Awich Pollar of Uganda, and Jean Zermatten of Switzerland were elected to serve as Vice-Chairpersons; and Committee Expert Lothar Krappmann of Germany was elected as Rapporteur.

The Committee's next session will be held from 17 September to 5 October 2007 at the Palais Wilson in Geneva. Scheduled for consideration are the reports of Sierra Leone and Venezuela. Under the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, Bulgaria, France and Spain will present reports. On the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict, the reports of Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Qatar, Spain and Syria are scheduled to be examined.

Final Observations and Recommendations on Reports Presented Under the Convention on the Rights of the Child


Among follow-up measures and progress achieved in the second periodic report of Slovakia, the Committee welcomed the adoption of a number of acts relating to children’s rights, including the Family Act; the Act on Social and Legal Protection of Children; the Criminal Procedure Code; and the amendment to the Civil Procedure Code. The Committee also welcomed the adoption of legislation providing protection for the rights of unaccompanied minors seeking asylum, and the initiation of the Children’s Rights Monitoring Project of the Slovak National Centre for Human Rights. The Committee noted with appreciation that, since consideration of its initial report, Slovakia had ratified, inter alia, both Optional Protocols to the Convention – on the involvement of children in armed conflict (in 2006), and on the sale of children, child pornography and child prostitution (in 2004); the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Inter-Country Adoption; the Hague Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Cooperation in Respect to Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children; and the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings.

The Committee remained concerned that the general principle of the best interests of the child was not explicitly included in all legislative and administrative measures and programmes relevant to children in Slovakia. It also remained concerned that the weight given in practice to the views of the child was limited owing to traditional societal attitudes towards children, especially within the family. While the Committee noted with appreciation the expansion of the "Child Security" telephone hotline, that hotline operated only four hours a day and was not operational on a national scale. In that connection, the Committee regretted that no information had been provided as to whether or not reporting child abuse or other forms of violence against children was mandatory. Finally, the Committee noted with concern that while the law prohibited violence against women and children, it was not effectively enforced.

The Committee was concerned that the already large number of children in institutional care had increased and that the Roma constituted the majority of that population. It also noted with concern that in facilities such as youth diagnostic centres, and children’s and youth re-education homes, relaxation or protection rooms were often misused as a form of punishment. The Committee was also concerned that most government residential homes were long-term rather than short-term facilities, and that children from such homes had difficulty integrating into society at age 18 and were at increased risk of falling victim to trafficking. In particular, the Committee noted with concern the continued negative stereotypes of, and attitudes towards, the Roma minority, including their children, in all aspects of society, and which had additionally been manifested in some of Slovakia's references to the Roma community in its report to the Committee. The Committee urged Slovakia to recognize the rights of persons, including children, belonging to minority groups and to consider adopting a comprehensive legal act providing protection of the rights of such persons. In particular, it urged Slovakia to ensure that children belonging to minority groups had equal access to education, health and other services as other children. The Committee was also concerned at the high level of rape of children between the ages of 7 and 18, even in protective environments such as families and schools. In that connection, it was concerned at the fact that the Slovak judicial legislation and practice did not explicitly penalize sexual exploitation of children and that, despite its legal prohibition, child prostitution remained a problem in Romani settlements with the worst living conditions…


Among follow-up measures and progress achieved in the second and third periodic reports of Kazakhstan, the Committee noted the enactment of the decision of January 2006 establishing the Committee for Protection of Children’s Rights; the State programme for the reform and development of health care in Kazakhstan for 2005-2010; the State programme for the development of education for 2005-2010; and the programme to reduce poverty for 2003-2005. The Committee also welcomed Kazakhstan's ratification of the following international human rights instruments in January 2006: the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; and the Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation or the Prostitution of Others.

While the Government had made efforts to eradicate acts of maltreatment and degrading punishment in boarding schools, homes, and detention centres, the Committee remained concerned about reports that such brutal and humiliating behaviour still existed and that the possibility of reporting such treatment and the compensation for such violations of child rights was still limited. The Committee also regretted that there was no specific legal prohibition of corporal punishment in foster care, military schools, kinship care and the workplace and that despite legal prohibitions for some areas children were still victims of corporal punishment. The Committee was also concerned that progress had not been made in reducing the large number of abandoned and homeless children, the number of children placed in institutions, and the conditions in those institutions, as well as reports that many children lacking parental care were apprehended and placed in the same closed facilities as children suspected or accused of criminal wrongdoing. It recommended that Kazakhstan develop alternative care policies, regulations and practices placing greater emphasis on reunification and rehabilitation programmes and that it made sure that such children were never placed in prison-type institutions. Regarding violence and abuse, the Committee recommended that Kazakhstan, among other things, develop and implement a comprehensive strategy for the prevention and reduction of child abuse and neglect; that it develop and implement an effective system for reporting of cases of child abuse and neglect; and that it provide a 3-digit, toll-free, 24-hour national helpline for children.

The Committee was deeply concerned that a large number of children with disabilities were in schools without special equipment and professional competence for the needs of those children and that the predominant method used to address those problems was still establishing boarding schools. The Committee also regretted that insufficient efforts had been made to effectively improve the situation of refugee children. It was deeply concerned that no adequate efforts had been made to respond to the highly problematic situation of street children, in particular owing to their vulnerability to trafficking and economic and sexual exploitation. The Committee was further concerned at the high instance of children engaged as sex workers, including a high number of very young children, who were also subjected to violence, abuse and trafficking, and that only a negligible number of cases reached the courts. The Committee recommended, among other things, that Kazakhstan increase its awareness raising campaigns on sexual exploitation, prostitution and child abuse; that it implement appropriate policies and targeted programmes for the prevention, recovery and social reintegration of child victims; and that it undertake in-depth studies and research to identify the scope, extent and root causes of sexual exploitation of children to facilitate the implementation of effective strategies.

Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography…


After reviewing the initial report of Ukraine, the Committee noted with appreciation Ukraine's ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in 2006; its ratification of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction in 2006; the creation, within the Ministry of Internal Affairs, of a department to combat offences relating to trafficking in persons in 2005; the entry into force of the Organizational and Legal Conditions for the Social Protection of Orphans and Children Deprived of Parental Care (Implementation) Act in 2005; and the ratification of the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its two protocols, on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, and against the smuggling of migrants, in 2004.

The Committee was concerned that the general principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child had not been taken into account in the design and implementation of the measures adopted by Ukraine under the Protocol. It was in particular concerned that children’s views were not given due consideration in all matters affecting them. The Committee recommended that Ukraine speedily adopt its National Plan of Action and that it develop a specific plan of action aimed at measures needed to prevent and suppress the crimes of sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. It also recommended that adequate and earmarked resources be allocated for the development of training materials and courses in all parts of the country for all relevant groups of professionals involved in the implementation of the Optional Protocol. Furthermore, the Committee recommended that Ukraine make the provisions of the Optional Protocol widely known, particularly to children and their families.

The Committee noted that Ukraine had allocated funds for the programme to support foster care. However, it regretted that Ukraine did not provide adequate budgetary allocations for support to families, and that there was a disproportionate allocation to programmes that institutionalized children. The Committee was concerned at the absence of a separate juvenile justice system that could deal with children victims of the crimes related to the Protocol. It was also concerned about the information that child victims of crimes covered by the Optional Protocol were often stigmatized, socially marginalized and might be held responsible, tried and placed in detention. The Committee recommended that Ukraine ensure that child victims of exploitation and abuse were neither criminalized nor penalized, and that all possible measures be taken to avoid the stigmatization and social marginalization of these children. In that connection, the Committee was concerned that the status of the victim was not well defined in the Ukrainian Criminal Code, and that legislation did not provide clear and sufficient sanctions for physical and psychological pressure during interrogations of child victims. Furthermore, the Committee was concerned that sanctions, even where adequate, were mostly not enforced. Regretting that there were still numerous corruption-related obstacles to a transparent procedure for legal adoptions, the Committee urged Ukraine to accede to the Hague Convention on Inter-Country Adoption. It also recommended the establishment of a 3-digit, 24-hour, toll-free helpline to assist child victims and their families and that that service be supported with adequate and quick psychological and practical arrangements so as to protect children from becoming victims of sale, child prostitution and child pornography…

To see the recommendations for each country click here.

Excerpts published in: Committee on Rights of Child Concludes Forty-Fifth Session, Press Release, United Nations, 8 June 2007.