Summary: This report extracts mentions of children's rights issues in the Concluding Observations of all UN Treaty Bodies and their follow-up procedures. This does not include the Concluding Observations of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child which are available here: http://www.crin.org/resources/treaties/index.asp
Please note that the language may have been edited in places for the purpose of clarity.
- UN Human Rights Committee
- UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
- UN Committee against Torture
- UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
- UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
- UN Committee on Migrant Workers
- UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
- UN Committee on Enforced Disappearance
Last reported: 14 and 15 March 2013 Concluding Observations issued: 29 April 2013
Issues raised and recommendations given:
Marriage: The Committee is concerned that the practice of polygamy persists in the State party and regrets the lack of statistical data on this practice and on its effects on women. It also notes with concern that although the minimum age of marriage is 18 years, there is a high percentage of Angolan children between 12 and 14 years who are in de facto marriages, in particular in the provinces of Lunda Sul, Moxico, Huambo, Bié, Malanje and in other rural areas. The Committee regrets the lack of information on concrete results achieved by initiatives taken by the State party to combat such early marriages. The State party should take appropriate measures to ensure that its legislation effectively prohibits polygamy and is effectively implemented, and conduct awareness campaigns on its prohibition and its negative effects, among the population, in particular among women and in rural areas. The State party should also take concrete measures to ensure the application of its legislation which prohibits early marriage and ensure that all marriages are registered. The State party should further strengthen measures to combat early marriage by reinforcing the mechanisms already put in place in the provinces and by pursuing community awareness-raising strategies focusing on the consequences of early marriages. (arts. 2, 3, 24 and 26) (Para. 11)
Health: The Committee is concerned at article 358 of its Penal Code which criminalizes abortion, except in some restrictive circumstances, including when the mother’s life is in danger, which forces pregnant women to seek clandestine abortion services that endanger their health and lives. The Committee recommends that the State party review its legislation on abortion and provide for exceptions to the general prohibition of abortion for therapeutic reasons and in cases of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest. The State party should ensure that reproductive health services are accessible for all women and adolescents. Furthermore, the State party should increase education and awareness-raising programmes, both formal (at schools and colleges) and informal (in the mass media), on the importance of using contraceptives and the right to reproductive health. (arts. 3 and 6) (Para. 13)
Trafficking: The Committee is concerned that the State party remains a country of origin, transit and destination for trafficking in persons, in particular women and girls for sexual exploitation. The Committee is also concerned at the lack of specific legislation prohibiting trafficking in persons, the absence of statistical data on trafficking in persons in the State party, as well as the absence of concrete results of initiatives taken by the State party to combat trafficking, such as the Child Protection Networks. The State party should strengthen its efforts to effectively combat trafficking in persons, in particular of women and girls. In the context of its legislative reform, the State party should include the prohibition of trafficking as a specific offence in its legislation and conduct training of all law officials as well as social workers. The State party should also investigate cases of trafficking, prosecute, and if convicted, punish those responsible, as well as provide compensation and protection to victims. The State party should further reinforce its cooperation with neighbouring countries and consider adopting a National Action Plan to combat trafficking. (arts. 8 and 24) (Para. 17)
Birth Registration: While noting the explanations provided by the State party, the Committee is concerned at reports that only 31 per cent of children under age 5 are registered, and that an estimated number of over two million children aged between 0 to 4 are not registered. The Committee is also concerned at information that less than 1 per cent of parents are aware of procedures to properly register their children. The Committee further notes with concern information by the State party that a great number of adults are not registered as a result of successive wars in the State party. The State party should finalize the adoption of the new decree on free birth registration for all children and adults, and improve its official system of birth registration. It should also conduct awareness- raising campaigns on birth registration procedures within communities, in particular in rural areas. (art. 24) (Para. 23)
Witchcraft: The Committee is concerned at the practice of accusing children of witchcraft and the ill treatment they are subjected to as a result thereof. The State party should take effective measures to protect children accused of witchcraft from ill treatment and abuses, and carry out awareness-raising programmes among the population, in particular in rural areas, on the negative effects of such practice. (arts.7 and 24) (Para. 24)
Concluding observations: 24 June 2016
Legislative background: The Committee welcomes the State party’s ratification of The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure, in 2014 (para 3).
Equality between women and men: While noting the information provided by the delegation on the existence of a Constitutional provision on equality before the law, the Committee remains concerned that in reality customary law perpetuating discrimination against women and girls in property and inheritance rights prevails. The Committee is also concerned about limited access to justice by women and girls victims of discrimination, especially in rural areas (para 25).
The Committee recommends that the State party step up its efforts to achieve substantive equality between men and women. It recommends that the State party: Take measures to effectively prevent all forms of discrimination against women and girls, including in inheritance, and address customary practices as well as patriarchal and stereotyped attitudes (para 26).
Harmful practices: The Committee is concerned that polygamy, despite being outlawed in the State party, is still widely practiced, and that child marriage, though only permitted in exceptional cases, in reality remains widespread. The Committee is also concerned about the persistence of domestic violence in the State party (para 39).
The Committee recommends that the State party take the necessary legislative and awareness raising measures to effectively put an end to all harmful practices, including polygamy and child marriage as well as domestic violence (para 40).
Birth registration: The Committee is concerned at the persistence of the low rate of birth registration despite some measures taken such as abolishing related fees. The Committee is particularly concerned that foreigners, including asylum seekers and refugees are excluded from registering their children born in Angola, thus depriving them from accessing a range of social services (para 41).
The Committee urges the State party to intensify its efforts to increase birth registration, including by conducting awareness-raising campaigns on birth registration procedures within the communities concerned, in particular in rural areas. The State party should also extend the free registration campaign to cover all foreigners, including asylum seekers and refugees, with a view to ensuring their access to social services without discrimination (para 42).
Right to sexual and reproductive health: The Committee, while being aware of some progress made, is concerned about the still high rates of maternal and under-five mortality, and the inconsistent data provided by the State party on their prevalence. The Committee is also concerned that teenage pregnancy remains prevalent, especially in rural areas, among others due to limited access to sexual and reproductive health services and information (para 51).
The Committee recommends that the State party step up its efforts to address maternal and under- five mortality as well as teenage pregnancy by taking the following measures: Effectively implement existing programmes aimed at reducing mortality rates. In doing so, the State party is encouraged to take into consideration technical guidance on the application of a human rights-based approach to the implementation of policies and programmes to reduce preventable maternal morbidity and mortality (A/HRC/21/22). In particular, ensure that births are assisted by a skilled attendant, and that all women have access to basic obstetric and neonatal care; Ensure accessibility and availability of sexual and reproductive health services, including access to affordable, safe and effective contraceptives and emergency contraceptives, including for adolescents and particularly in rural areas; Provide comprehensive, human-rights based and age appropriate education and information on sexual and reproductive health to all, including men and adolescent boys; Expedite the adoption of the integrated teenage and youth health action strategy; Take into consideration the Committee’s general comment no. 22 (2016) on the right to sexual and reproductive health (para 52).
Right to education: The Committee is concerned about the low enrolment rates at all school levels. It is also concerned at the high drop-out rates even at the primary school level, particularly among girls, leading to low attendance at secondary level schools. The Committee is further concerned about the limited access to quality education in areas (para 53).
The Committee recommends that the State party continue prioritising education and intensify its efforts to ensuring universal access to free compulsory education, while paying particular attention to children living in rural areas and girls. The Committee also recommends that the State party: Continue implementing the national development plan that identifies education as one of the main priority areas, as well as the national integrated strategy for improving the education system and the master plan for teacher education; Develop specific strategies to address the high dropout rates, especially of girls; Increase significantly its investments in the education sector, improve quality of education, and expand investment in teacher training; Take into account the Committee’s general comment no. 13 (1999) on the right to education (para 54).
Last reported: 12 and 13 November 2008
Concluding Observations: 20 November 2008
- Witchcraft: The Committee notes with concern that children are still commonly accused of witchcraft, which has a very negative impact on their enjoyment of their rights, including the right to education and health. The Committee recommends effective measures to eradicate the phenomenon and to protect the victims through awareness-raising campaigns about the negative impact on children. (paragraph 25)
Poverty: The Committee expresses concern that despite economic growth, a high percentage of the population remains in poverty and extreme poverty, especially children, female-headed households and families affected by HIV and AIDS, disabilities or internal displacement. There are concerns that the Poverty Reduction Strategy is not working.
The Committee recommends implementing a poverty reduction strategy that includes economic, social and cultural rights. It urged the State to include evaluation measures to assess the impact of the strategy and identify weaknesses. The next report should contain disaggregated data on poverty and extreme poverty. (paragraph 28)
- Right to food: There is a high incidence of malnutrition in all provinces which affects children in particular. In the Lunda provinces, this is because of the expropriation of farmlands for the purpose of diamond mining. The Committee recommends allocating sufficient resources to relevant programmes and funds to ensure everyone has access to food. It also declares that expropriations should not infringe on the right to food. (paragraph 29)
- Right to identity: The State party has not extended the coverage of civil registration facilities with respect to birth registration, which deprives those not registered of their economic, social and cultural rights. The Committee urges the State to take steps to register children without discrimination and introduce programmes to register those who are not yet registered. (paragraph 34)
- Mortality: The Committee is concerned about the very high maternal, infant and under-five mortality rates and the high incidence of cholera and HIV and AIDS. The life expectancy is only 41 years and the war has had a negative impact on the right to health of a high percentage of the population as a result of post-traumatic mental disorders and war-related health problems. It recommends that the State take steps to improve health services and adopt a global health policy including prevention programmes and access to free, high-quality and universal primary health care for the poorest sectors of the population. Progress should be measured by disaggregated statistical data. (paragraph 36)
Education: Indicators for education are very low, children from poor families, girls, children with disabilities, victims of mine accidents and children in both urban and remote rural areas have limited access to education, including education in their mother tongue, and are affected by drop-out. The Committee regrets that the budget allocated to education decreased between 2004 and 2006 despite the rising number of school aged children. The lack of schools and training of teachers, especially in slums and remote areas were a concern.
It recommends that Angola adopt a comprehensive plan of action for the educational system, ensure the availability and training of teachers in remote areas, increase public expenditure on education and take measures towards the realisation of the right to education for the marginalised groups. (paragraph 38)
Last reported: 20 February 2013 Concluding Observations issued: 27 March 2013
Issues raised and recommendations given:
Stereotypes and harmful practices: The Committee notes that stereotypes contribute to the persistence of violence against women as well as harmful practices, including early marriage, polygamy, female genital mutilation, levirate, and acts of violence against women of the San Community and against children or old women considered to be witches. The Committee expresses its deep concern that the State party has not taken sufficient sustained and systematic action to eliminate stereotypes and negative cultural values and harmful practices. Recalling that combating negative gender stereotypes is one of the most important requirements for social advancement, the Committee urges the State party to: (a) Put in place, without delay, a comprehensive strategy, in conformity with articles 2(f) and 5(a) of the Convention, to eliminate stereotypes and harmful practices that discriminate against women, such as early marriage, polygamy, female genital mutilation, levirate, and acts of violence against women of the San Community and against children or old women considered to be witches . Such measures should include concerted efforts, within a clear timeframe, in collaboration with civil society, the school system, the media and traditional leaders, to educate and raise awareness about negative gender stereotypes, targeting women and girls as well as men and boys at all levels of society; (b) Adopt legal provisions prohibiting polygamy, early marriages, female genital mutilation and levirate, and include adequate sanctions for violations of these provisions. (Paras. 17-18)
Gender-based violence: The Committee remains concerned about: (a) The absence of a comprehensive strategy on violence against women; the persistence of violence against women, including rape, domestic violence, and sexual harassment at school, in the workplace and in the public sphere, as well as the persistence of impunity; (b) The lack of effective implementation of Law 25/11 against Domestic Violence; the lack of information on the existence of legal provisions explicitly criminalizing marital rape and the absence of legal provisions prohibiting sexual harassment; (c) The tendency of the State party to encourage women to opt for mediation rather than legal action for cases of domestic violence; (d) The lack of sufficient data on cases of gender-based violence reported, on prosecution and conviction rates in relation to violence against women and on the number, capacity and resources of shelters, counselling and rehabilitation services; (e) Cases of abuse and acts of violence, including sexual violence, perpetrated by the State party’s security forces during expulsion proceedings against migrant women; (f)The absence of sufficient measures taken to provide remedies and health-care services to women victims of violence, including sexual violence, during the conflicts with the União Nacional Para a Independência Total de Angola (UNITA) and the Frente de Libertação do Enclave de Cabinda (FLEC). (Para. 19)
Trafficking and sexual exploitation: While noting the programme to facilitate the reintegration of children exploited in prostitution and the rehabilitation programme for women sex workers, the Committee remains concerned about reports that the State party is a source and destination country for human beings trafficked for purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labour. The Committee is also concerned about the absence of a comprehensive law and strategy aimed at combatting trafficking in human beings. It is further concerned that prostitution continues to thrive, owing to the poverty of women and girls. (Para. 21)
The Committee recommends that the State party: (a) Carry out a study to investigate the scope, extent and root causes of trafficking in human beings and forced prostitution, particularly of women and girls, including through the collection and analysis of data on trafficking and exploitation of women in prostitution; (b) Adopt a law aimed at combating trafficking in human beings and amendments to the Penal Code and ensure that they fully comply with article 6 of the Convention and strengthen mechanisms for the investigation, prosecution and punishment of trafficking offenders; (c) Increase international, regional and bilateral cooperation with countries of origin, transit and destination to prevent trafficking through information exchange and to harmonize legal procedures aimed at the prosecution and punishment of traffickers; (d) Address the root causes of prostitution of women and girls, including poverty, in order to eliminate their vulnerability to sexual exploitation and trafficking, and strengthen efforts for the rehabilitation and social reintegration of victims; (e) Ratify the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocol thereto to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children , as well as the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (Kampala Convention). (Para. 22)
Education: The Committee welcomes the efforts undertaken to increase the budget allocated to education, the school enrolment and attendance rates of children, and the literacy rate among women in rural areas. However, it remains concerned about the low school enrolment and attendance rates of girls, the high dropout rate, including due to early pregnancy and early marriage, the lack of education facilities and qualified teaching professionals, the existence of gender stereotypes in school textbooks and the high illiteracy rate among women, in particular in rural areas. The Committee recommends that the State party: (a) Raise awareness among communities, families, students, teachers and officials, especially men, about the importance of women’s and girls’ education; (b) Ensure de facto equal access of girls and young women to all levels of education and retain girls in schools, including by eliminating the indirect costs of schooling, providing incentives for parents to send their daughters to school, eliminating the practice of early marriage and enabling young women to stay in school during pregnancy and to return to school after giving birth; (c) Allocate adequate resources to education to increase the number of teachers and to improve the quality of teacher training and of school facilities; (d) Undertake a revision of educational textbooks to eliminate gender stereotypes; (e) Strengthen adult literacy programmes, especially for women in rural areas. (Paras. 27-28)
Health: The Committee is concerned about: (a) The limited access to basic health-care services, in particular for rural women; the existence of sociocultural factors that prevent women from accessing these services; the lack of adequate health infrastructure and the insufficient human and financial resources allocated to the health sector; (b)The high maternal mortality rate, due, inter alia, to the lack of extended obstetrical care and the low number of births attended by skilled personnel; (c)The very high fertility and teenage pregnancy rates and the high number of cases of vescico-vaginal fistula; the low use of contraceptives and the lack of information provided to women on sexual and reproductive health and rights, including family planning; (d) The criminalization of abortion (art. 144 of the Penal Code) except if pregnancy is harmful to the mother’s life, although the delegation indicated that, in practice, abortion is allowed in cases of rape and risks for the development of the child; (e)The disproportionately high number of women living with HIV/AIDS and the lack of effective implementation of the 2012-2014 National Strategy on HIV/AIDS throughout the State party. (Para. 31)
In line with its general recommendation No. 24 (1999) on women and health, the Committee calls on the State party to: (a) Increase access for women and girls, in particular rural women, to basic health-care services and address the obstacles to women’s access to health care, including socio-cultural norms; (b) Increase the funding allocated to health care, and the number of health-care facilities and of trained health-care providers and medical personnel; (c) Strengthen the maternal and infant mortality reduction programme, and eliminate the causes of such mortality, which include limited access to obstetrical care and the low number of births attended by skilled personnel; (d) Prevent vescico-vaginal fistula through nutritional programmes and adequate obstetric services for pregnant women, and provide medical support to women affected by it ; (e) Widely promote education on sexual and reproductive health and rights, in particular by undertaking large-scale awareness-raising campaigns about available contraceptive methods; increase access to safe and affordable contraceptive services throughout the State party and ensure that women do not face barriers in accessing information on family planning; (f) Address teenage pregnancies by integrating effective and age-appropriate education on sexual and reproductive health and rights in curricula; (g) Consider removing punitive legislative provisions imposed on women who undergo abortion, in line with the Committee’s general recommendation No. 24 (1999) on women and health, and broadening the conditions under which abortion can be legally available, including when pregnancy is harmful to the mother’s health and in instances of rape and incest; (h) Develop operational plans to ensure the effective implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the 2012-2014 National Strategy on HIV/AIDS, including at municipal levels. (Para. 32)
Marriage and family relations: The Committee is concerned about the discriminatory provision in article 24 of Law 68/76 authorizing, on an exceptional basis, the marriage of girls at 15 and boys at 16 years of age. The Committee is also concerned about the persistence of the practices of polygamy and early marriage. It is further concerned about the application of customary law that discriminates against women with regard to inheritance of land. The Committee recommends that the State party: (a) Withdraw the discriminatory provision in article 24 of Law 68/76 authorizing, on an exceptional basis, the marriage of girls at 15 and boys at 16 years of age, and raise the legal age of marriage to 18 for girls and boys; (b) Sensitize traditional leaders on the importance of eliminating discriminatory practices such as polygamy and early marriage and put an end to the application of customary law that discriminates against women with regard to land inheritance; (c) Carry out awareness-raising and education programmes, targeting both women and men, in cooperation with civil society organizations, on the elimination of discrimination against women in marriage and family relations. (Paras. 35-36)
Last reported: 12 and 16 July 2004
The State party pointed out that the 27-year war had produced over four million internally displaced persons and more than 300,000 refugees, 80 per cent of whom were women and children. Most of the population lived in extreme poverty and with limited access to education, health care and infrastructure. High maternal and child mortality, malnutrition, illiteracy, violence and unemployment were prevalent. The State party focused on the re-construction of infrastructure as well as training, while resources to remedy the high rates of maternal and infant mortality, malnutrition, illiteracy, water and sanitation were being assessed. A plan for 2015 is expected to address the specific needs of women and girls.
Domestic violence against women and girls: The Committee commends the State party for recognising the problem and for the ongoing efforts to combat domestic violence. However, there is still a lack of specific legislation on violence against women and domestic violence. The Committee is concerned about the attitude of law enforcement officers that fosters a reluctance of victims to report abuse.
The Committee recommends comprehensive measures to address all forms of violence against women and girls, to recognise that such violence constitutes a violation of human rights, guarantee immediate access to redress and protection and ensure that perpetrators are prosecuted and punished. The State should initiate awareness-raising efforts on violence against women and train public officials to understand that all forms of violence are unacceptable. It further recommends that Angola increase legal aid throughout the country. (paragraphs 152, 153)
- Prostitution: The poverty of women and girls is fostering a thriving prostitution industry. The Committee is concerned about the exploitation of prostitutes, especially girls, and the lack of information about the means to combat the phenomenon. It recommends that the State party pursue a holistic approach, providing women and girls with education and economic alternatives to prostitution, facilitate reintegration of prostitutes into society and provide rehabilitation and economic empowerment programmes. It also requests detailed information on trafficking and the measures taken to combat it in the next report. (paragraphs 156, 157)
- Education: The Committee is concerned about the poor educational infrastructure and low budgetary allocation. It also noted the lack of schools and teachers, poor quality of education, high rate of illiteracy among girls and women, low enrolment rates in all forms of education in both rural and urban areas and high drop-out rates. The Committee recommends that Angola increase investment in education and to prioritise efforts to improve literacy level of girls and women, ensure equal access of girls and women to all levels of education in all areas, increase enrolment rates for girls and take measures to keep girls in school. (paragraphs 158, 159)
Health: The Committee expresses concern about the poor health infrastructure, resulting in lack of access to health services and low health status, high maternal mortality, high fertility rates and inadequate family planning, and growing rates of HIV among women. It concludes that infrastructure should be improved and sex education should be widely promoted and targeted towards girls and boys, with particular attention paid to the prevention of early pregnancies and the control of sexually transmitted diseases. (paragraphs 162, 163)
The Committee requests the State party to include information on aspects of international programmes and platforms of action, including the special session of the General Assembly on children (the twenty-seventh special session). (paragraph 169).