ANDORRA: Children's Rights References in the Universal Periodic Review

Andorra - Twenty-second session - 2015
7 May 2015 - 9.00 a.m. - 12.30 p.m

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National Report

III. Follow-up to the recommendations accepted by Andorra at the time of its first universal periodic review

B. Children’s rights

1. Corporal punishment Recommendations 83.2, 83.7, 83.10, 83.11

66. The Committee on the Rights of the Child observed, for the first time in 2002, that corporal punishment in school settings was prohibited by law, but expressed its concern that such punishment in the family was not explicitly banned.

67. As a result of this observation, the Principality of Andorra decided to take a comprehensive approach to the issue of domestic violence and launched a reform of the Criminal Code aimed at introducing the amendments needed to criminalize domestic violence and ensure appropriate punitive action in such cases. Act No. 91/2010 of 16 December 2010, amending articles 113, 114, 476 and 478 of the Criminal Code of 21 February 2005, repealed the requirement that ill-treatment in the domestic sphere must be habitual and included a concurrence clause relating to the penalties to be imposed for the harm caused. Hence, the offences covered under articles 113 and 476, which criminalize ill-treatment and/or injury regardless of where they occur, incur harsher penalties when they occur in the domestic sphere because they are always concurrent with the offence covered under article 114. Although a specific law on corporal punishment has not been enacted, existing provisions, namely article 476, paragraph 1, of the Criminal Code, have been amended to bring the legislative framework into line with the requirements of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, as discussed in paragraph 69 below.

Legislative measures in respect of the family setting

68. Corporal punishment in the family is now clearly prohibited and is a criminal offence. Article 113 of the Criminal Code provides for the punishment of anyone who physically mistreats another, which may include situations in which adults or family members mistreat, even once, their children, a minor in their custody or any other minor. Physical and psychological violence against minors in a family setting are provided for more specifically in article 114, paragraph 1, of the Criminal Code, whereby the higher range of the penalty intended for the offence must be imposed when the victim is a minor or when the offence is committed in front of a minor. The penalty is 3 months to 3 years’ imprisonment, without prejudice to other penalties that may apply as a result of the harm caused by the violence or corporal punishment suffered by the minor. Under article 115, the fact that a victim is vulnerable, owing to age or fragility, is a circumstance aggravating the offences defined in the preceding articles.

Legislative measures in respect of the school setting

69. It is important to understand the philosophy behind Andorran criminal law, which does not provide an exhaustive list of situations where corporal punishment might take place; rather, corporal punishment is banned in all situations. Article 113, in combination with article 115, is more than sufficient for a judge to punish those who commit any type of physical violence or ill-treatment against minors in schools. In addition, article 476 on wilful ill-treatment and injury establishes that “any person who inflicts minor physical abuse or physically assaults another person shall be subject to imprisonment or a fine of up to 6,000 euros. If the ill-treatment is deemed to be corporal punishment, the penalty shall be imprisonment.” The last sentence was introduced through Act No. 40/2014 of 11 December 2014 in order to dispel any doubt as to the inclusion of corporal punishment under the offence of ill-treatment. Thus, judicial entities have unequivocal authority to hold individuals criminally responsible for such acts, which differ from ill-treatment as previously defined inasmuch as there is a specific subjective element, namely the inflicting of harm which the perpetrator considers to be warranted as a consequence for a prior act by the victim, regardless of whether or not it actually occurred. Article 478 adds coercion and minor threats as punishable behaviour, thereby broadening the coverage of the law to include situations involving children and their parents in which physical assault has been threatened as well as situations in which it has actually taken place.

Awareness-raising campaigns

70. During the 2013–2014 academic year, the Centre for Sociological Research conducted a study on school socialization which revealed that one in every eight children surveyed reported having suffered ill-treatment or bullying at the hands of a fellow pupil. The Centre, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Youth, has been running anti-bullying workshops in schools across the country since the 2011–2012 academic year. The purpose of the workshops, whose target audience is 12-year-olds, is to raise pupils’ awareness of the importance of speaking up about herd mentality and situations of violence.

2. Full implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child

Recommendations 83.3 and 83.7

71. With regard to implementation of the obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, especially with regard to reviewing national legislation, it should be noted that the Convention entered into force for Andorra on 1 February 1996. As for the reservations and declarations initially made upon ratification, it should be further noted that Andorra withdrew its declaration regarding articles 7 and 8, on nationality issues, on 22 December 2005.

72. Concerning the minimum age of recruitment and involvement in armed conflicts, it is worth noting that the Principality of Andorra does not have armed forces and considers that no minor should be able to take part in armed conflict or be recruited by State armed forces. Andorra considered it appropriate to draw attention to its disagreement with the provisions of article 38, paragraphs 2 and 3, of the Convention regarding the participation of children in war and their recruitment from the age of 15. Andorra is of the view that the recruitment and participation of children in armed conflict from age 15 should be prohibited and that acceptance of such a possibility runs counter to the very spirit of the Convention.

4. Protection of children against violence and sexual exploitation and abuse

Recommendations 84.16and 83.11

74. The Principality of Andorra signed the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse on 29 June 2006 and ratified it on 23 January 2014, thus giving the country an additional tool to protect children. The Criminal Code was amended accordingly to criminalize certain behaviours, such as attempted possession of pornography and accessing child pornography.

75. On 20 March 2012, the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Julia Reig Foundation signed a co operation agreement to conduct an independent study on the situation of at-risk children and adolescents in Andorra. The study’s findings, which were published in 2013, provide a general picture of the situation of the country’s children and adolescents, thus enabling the relevant national agencies to formulate new policies. The study concluded that, although a cross-cutting overview of the situation of children in the country had been obtained, the unavailability of statistical data precluded a more exhaustive analysis. In that connection, Act No. 2/2013 on the public statistics system was adopted on 18 April 2013, making it possible to obtain new data for future research.

C. Women’s rights

3. General policies and programmes to fight gender discrimination

Recommendations 83.1, 83.4, 83.5, 83.12, 83.17, 83.19 and 83.21

83. In order to encourage students to pursue an education in the sciences, the University of Andorra suggested for the first time in 2012 that schools take part in the Children’s University project. The project targets pupils aged 11 and 12 and aims to promote science outreach and dispel stereotypes regarding the inaccessibility of scientific knowledge through a programme that conveys technical knowledge in fun and attractive ways. Andorra Telecom, the quasi-public telecommunications company, held an event in 2013 on the occasion of Girls in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Day to encourage girls to choose careers in engineering and telecommunications. Secondary school girls attended the event, where they were able to share information and experiences with female engineers employed at Andorra Telecom.

Compilation of UN information

III. Implementation of international human rights obligations, taking into account applicable international humanitarian law

A. Equality and non-discrimination

12. CRC welcomed the establishment of the National Equality Commission in 2010 to address anti- discrimination issues. CEDAW noted that the National Plan of Action for Equality did not address all areas covered by the Convention and recommended that Andorra provide its institutions with adequate resources with a view to achieving gender equality and to adopt a national action plan on gender equality that covers all areas of the Convention.

B. Right to life, liberty and security of the person

24. CRC was concerned that the Act on Employment Contracts (2003) and the Regulation governing employment contracts for trainees (2004) did not comprehensively address the situation of children employed in the family context and that the Act did not provide a clear definition of “light work”. It recommended that Andorra ensure that the involvement of children in all contexts is in full compliance with the international child labour standards in terms of their age, working hours, working conditions, education and health.

C. Administration of justice, including impunity and the rule of law

27. CRC noted with appreciation that the age of criminal responsibility in Andorra was 18 years. Noting that a very few number of children were incarcerated in detention centres, CRC recommended that Andorra ensure that children are accompanied and cared for by professionals and that they are always held entirely separate from the adult detainees.

D. Right to privacy, marriage and family life

29. CRC recommended that Andorra safeguard children’s right to privacy in the  media and ensure that children are not exposed to harmful media content.

30. CRC  noted  that,  despite  its  previous  concern  about  the  low  minimum  age  of marriage  of 16  years of age,  and 14 years of age  with the  permission of a  judge, Andorra had not increased the  minimum age  of  marriage. CRC recommended that  Andorra  amend its  legislation  and  increase  the  minimum age  of  marriage  to  18  years. CEDAW  had  a similar concern and recommendation.

G. Right to social security and to an adequate standard of living

38. CRC recommended that Andorra define strategic budgetary lines for children in disadvantaged or vulnerable situations that may require affirmative social protection measures, and protect those budgetary lines even in situations of economic crisis, natural disasters or other emergencies.

H. Right to health

40. CRC urged Andorra to increase the availability of confidential and youth-friendly health services throughout the country, to enhance the availability of contraceptive services, and to promote sex education targeted at adolescents, with special attention to the prevention of early pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. CEDAW raised similar recommendations.

K. Persons with disabilities

45. While noting the measures taken to ensure that children with disabilities enjoy the same protection and rights as other children, CRC was concerned that children with disabilities continued to experience social discrimination and recommended that Andorra raise awareness and sensitize about rights and special needs of children with disabilities; and provide children with disabilities with equal access to adequate social and health services.

46. CRC was concerned about practices and stereotypes that discriminated against girls and children with disabilities in Andorra. It recommended that Andorra remove all discriminatory practices against girls and children with disabilities, provide adequate protection from discrimination and formulate a comprehensive strategy to eliminate negative attitudes and practices and deep-rooted stereotypes that discriminate against both girls and women with disabilities.

48. CEDAW was concerned about the wide gap between girls and boys with disabilities having access to education. It recommended that girls and boys with disabilities be given access to education and that Andorra combat discrimination against schoolgirls on the basis of sex and disability.

M. Migrants, refugees and asylum seekers

50. CRC recommended that Andorra revise and amend the Qualified Act on Immigration of 2002 to permit family reunification for holders of temporary immigration permits.

53. CRC noted with concern that Andorra, during the UPR in 2010, rejected the recommendation to take steps to guarantee access to fundamental social human rights for foreign residents, including their children, regardless of their migratory status. CRC recommended that the National Equality Commission examine the condition of the rights of migrant children and children of seasonal workers and promote and protect their rights.

54. CAT recommended that Andorra create a procedure for determination of refugee status and ensure that it does not expel, return (refouler) or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that the person would be in danger of being subjected to torture. CRC raised related recommendation regarding unaccompanied and refugee children, and recommended that Andorra enact legislation on asylum seekers and refugees in conformity with international standards.

Stakeholders' information

B. Implementation of international human rights obligations, taking into account applicable international humanitarian law

2. Right to life, liberty and security of the person

18. GIEACPC stated that in Andorra, corporal punishment of children is lawful, despite repeated recommendations to prohibit it by the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Committee Against Torture, the European Committee of Social Rights and during the 1st cycle UPR in 2010 (accepted by the Government). In 2012, the European Committee of Social Rights concluded that the situation in Andorra is not in conformity with article 17  the European Social Charter because corporal punishment is not explicitly prohibited in the home, schools and institutions. The Commissioner of the Council of Europe called for an explicit prohibition of corporal punishment of children.

19. GRETA invited the Andorran authorities to consider what measures might be envisaged for groups vulnerable to trafficking, particularly children, women in need of protection and assistance or migrant workers.


II. Conclusions and recommendations

84. The following recommendations will be examined by Andorra which will provide responses in due time, but no later than the thirtieth session of the Human Rights Council in September 2015:

84.59 Continue to ensure strong legislative protection for children, including by increasing the minimum age of marriage to 18 (Australia);

84.60 Raise the minimum age of marriage from 14 to 18 (Sierra Leone);

84.67 Continue its efforts in promoting and protecting the rights of persons with disabilities with particular attention to the specific needs of women and children with disabilities, especially by increasing awareness of their rights to prevent social discrimination and providing equal access to adequate social and health services (Thailand);

84.68 Strengthen assistance measures to women, children and persons with disabilities (Angola);

84.69 Continue the trend to strengthen the protection of children with disabilities, promoting their inclusive education (Spain);

84.70 Continue to work on awareness-raising of the rights and needs of children with disabilities and ensure that children with disabilities have equal access to social and appropriate health-care services (Argentina).


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