Summary: This report extracts mentions of children's rights issues in the reports 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: 30 October 1997
Concluding Observations adopted: 6 November 1997
No mention of children's rights in this report.
Last reported: 13 November 2013
Concluding Observations adopted: 29 November 2013
Independent national human rights institution: The Committee regrets that the State party has not yet established an independent national human rights institution, in accordance with the principles relating to the status of national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights (Paris Principles) (General Assembly resolution 48/134). While the Committee notes the establishment of governmental bodies to enhance the promotion and protection of human rights, including the National Commission on the Rights of the Child and the National Council on Gender Policy, it recalls that governmental bodies cannot replace an independent human rights institution (art. 2).
The Committee encourages the State party to expedite the process of setting up a national human rights institution with a comprehensive human rights mandate, including on economic, social and cultural rights, in line with the Paris Principles, and provide it with adequate financial and human resources. (para. 7).
The Committee is concerned that a large number of children from socially vulnerable families are deprived of their family environment after parents have had their parental rights removed due to the inability to comply with their child-rearing responsibilities. It is further concerned that these parents are subjected to compulsory labour and that 70 per cent of their wages is retained to compensate for the child-rearing expenses incurred by the State (arts. 6 and 10).
Termination of parental responsibility: The Committee urges the State party to abolish compulsory labour as a punitive measure for parents who have had their parental rights removed and amend the existing regulations to bring them into conformity with the Covenant. The Committee requests that the State party:
- take effective family-support measures to reduce and prevent termination of parental responsibility and ensure that children from socially vulnerable families can be raised with their parents, inter alia by providing all the necessary support services to parents in order to enable them to carry out their child-rearing responsibilities and monitoring such services to ensure that they effectively address the needs of the children;
- ensure that termination of parental responsibility is a measure of last resort and that the best interests of the child, as well as their views, are adequately taken into consideration in this process;
- ensure that children deprived of their family environment as a result of an impartial and independent decision are placed in family-type alternative care settings and, to this end, develop a network of foster care families with a view to reducing to the minimum the need for institutional care for children;
- ensure that children can return to their families whenever possible. (para. 20)
Poverty: The Committee is concerned that the rate of poverty in rural areas is almost double the rate in urban areas and that certain segments of the population still live below the national poverty line, including single parent families and families with two or more children, in spite of the fact that the State party succeeded in significantly reducing the level of poverty from 41.9 per cent in 2000 to 6.3 per cent in 2012 (arts. 10 and 11).
The Committee recommends that the State party pursue its efforts to combat poverty and reduce the disparities between rural and urban areas. It also recommends that the State party introduce measures to guarantee targeted support to all those living below the poverty line, including single parent families and families with two or more children. In this respect, the Committee draws the State party’s attention to its statement concerning Poverty and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (E/C.12/2001/10). (para. 22)
Subsidized/social housing: The Committee notes with concern the lack of adequate access to subsidized/social housing by disadvantaged groups, in particular young families, families with many children, older persons, persons with disabilities and refugees, and the long waiting list for social housing which deprives many people of their right to adequate housing (art. 11, para. 1).
The Committee recommends that the State party adopt all adequate measures to address the problem of the long waiting lists in respect of social housing and ensure access to adequate housing for disadvantaged groups, including by ensuring that sufficient resources are allocated to increase the supply of social housing units and by providing appropriate forms of financial support, such as rental subsidies, taking into account its general comment no. 4 (1991) on the right to adequate housing. (para. 23)
Last reported: 21 and 22 November 1996
Concluding Observations adopted: 5 December 1996
The Committee expresses concern that some 600,000 children still live in the zone affected by the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power station. (Paragraph 15)
Last reported: 11 / 14 November 2011
Concluding Observations issued: 7 December 2011
Detention: While welcoming efforts made by the State party to improve the living condition of detained persons (CAT/C/BLR/4, paras. 21 ff.) and the State party’s acceptance of the recommendation made in the course of the universal periodic review to that end (A/HRC/15/16, para. 97.30), the Committee remains deeply concerned about continuing reports of poor conditions in places of deprivation of liberty, including an appeal by the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture concerning the conditions in several places of detention such as the SIZO in Minsk (A/HRC/4/33/Add.1, para. 16). This includes the problem of the overcrowding, poor diet and lack of access to facilities for basic hygiene and inadequate medical care (arts. 11 and 16). Paragraph 19.
The State party should intensify its efforts to bring the conditions of detention in places of deprivation of liberty into line with the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and other relevant international and national law standards, in particular by:
(a) Reducing prison overcrowding and considering the establishment of non-custodial forms of detention in accordance with the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for Non-custodial Measures (the Tokyo Rules);
(b) Ensuring all detainees’ access to and receipt of the necessary food and health care; and
(c) Ensuring that all minors are detained separately from adults throughout the whole period of their detention or confinement, and offering them educational and recreational activities.
Violence: While welcoming measures taken by the State party to combat violence against women and children, the Committee is concerned about the persistence of such violence and the lack of information about (a) prosecutions of persons in connection with cases of violence against women and children, including domestic violence and (b) practical assistance and reparations provided to victims of such violence. The Committee notes with regret the high number of women killed as a result of domestic violence and the absence of separate criminal law provisions on domestic violence and marital rape, as raised by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW/C/BLR/CO/7, para. 19) (arts. 2, 14 and 16). Paragraph 22.
The State party should strengthen its efforts to prevent, combat and punish violence against women and children, in particular domestic violence, inter alia, by amending its criminal legislation and providing victims of violence with the immediate protection and long-term rehabilitation of victims. Furthermore, the State party should conduct broader awareness-raising campaigns and training on domestic violence for judges, lawyers, law enforcement agencies, and social workers who are in direct contact with the victims and for the public at large.
Trafficking: While welcoming efforts by the State party to addressing trafficking in persons and bringing perpetrators to justice, the Committee is concerned at reports that trafficking in persons, particularly women, remains a considerable problem and that Belarus remains a country of origin, transit and destination for victims of trafficking (arts. 2, 10 and 16). Paragraph 23.
In the light of the recommendations made by the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, following her visit to Belarus in May 2009 (A/HRC/14/32/Add.2, paras. 95 ff.), the State party should undertake effective measures, including through regional and international cooperation, to address the root causes of trafficking in persons, in particular its close link to sexual exploitation, continue to prosecute and punish perpetrators, provide redress and reintegration services to victims, and conduct training for law enforcement officials, particularly border and customs officials.
Last reported: 15, 16 and 20 November 2000
No mention of children's rights in this report.
Concluding observations published: 18 November 2016
Stereotypes: The Committee welcomes the efforts undertaken by the State party to counter stereotypes against women. It is concerned, however, about the prevalence of discriminatory stereotypes and patriarchal attitudes regarding the roles and responsibilities of women and men in society and in the family, which is inter alia reflected in the unequal distribution of household and child rearing responsibilities between women and men in stereotypical portrayals of women in the media and their frequent depiction as sexualized commodities notably in advertisements. The Committee recommends that the State party raise public awareness in collaboration with civil society and the media, targeting women, men, girls and boys, to overcome discriminatory stereotypes concerning the roles and responsibilities of women and men in the family and in society, and highlight the importance of women’s equal participation in decision-making in the public and private sectors (paras 20, 21).
Gender-based violence against women: The Committee notes with concern the increase in the prevalence of gender-based violence against women, including sexual and psychological violence, as well as: The risk for women who are subjected to domestic violence to be deprived of their parental rights, as their family might be perceived as a “family at social risk” with their children being institutionalized. Committee refers to Sustainable Development Goal 5.2 on the elimination of all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation, and recommends that the State party intensify its efforts to accelerate the finalization and adoption of the draft law and ensure that it criminalizes all forms of gender-based violence against women and provides victims with immediate protection and long-term rehabilitation. The Committee also recommends that the State party: Increase the number of crisis rooms and ensure the availability of a sufficient number of shelters across the State party allowing for long-term stay of victims of domestic violence and their children; Encourage women victims of domestic violence to report violence and ensure that they are under no circumstances forced to live with their violent husband or partner during the divorce or separation procedures and are together with their children provided with affordable alternative housing (paras 22, 23).
Women in prostitution: The Committee is further concerned that women in prostitution are at high risk of gender-based violence, including abuse by the police, murder attempts, gang rape, extortion, robbery, forced sex practices, and forced non-usage of condoms. The Committee is further concerned that unless they can prove to be victims of trafficking or related offences, women in prostitution face fines or administrative arrest and their official employer and the school of their children are notified of the charges against them, which may even result in the deprivation of their parental rights. The Committee recommends that the State party implement vigorous educational and awareness raising measures targeted at the general public, in particular men and boys, to reduce the demand for prostitution (para 26, 27).
Education: Schools offer “life skills lessons” where girls are taught cooking and sewing, while boys are taught woodworking and carpentry, which also upholds traditional gender roles in society. Committee refers to Sustainable Development Goal 5.2 on the elimination of all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation, and recommends that the State party intensify its efforts to accelerate the finalization and adoption of the draft law and ensure that it criminalizes all forms of gender-based violence against women and provides victims with immediate protection and long-term rehabilitation (para 30).
The Committee recommends that the State party ensure, as a matter of priority, that: School textbooks, curricula and teacher training materials are reviewed and revised to eliminate all discriminatory gender stereotypes; Schools offer “life skills lessons” where girls are taught cooking and sewing, while boys are taught woodworking and carpentry, which also upholds traditional gender roles in society; The content and methodology of curricula at all levels of education incorporate a gender perspective, grounded in the provisions of the Convention. At the secondary and tertiary levels, students should receive instruction on the Convention and its related instruments with both initiatives aimed at changing existing stereotypical attitudes towards women’s and men’s roles in the family and society and creating an environment that is conducive to the principle of substantive equality of women and men; The same curriculum applies to boys and girls so that it offers the same “life skills lessons” to boys and girls, including through the usage of temporary special measures; As recommended in its previous concluding observations, intensify its efforts aimed at diversifying academic and vocational choices for women and men and take further measures to encourage women and men to choose non-traditional fields of education and careers, e.g. by encouraging more men to participate in the formal education of children. It also recommends that the State party take immediate measures to ensure equal opportunities for women and men and girls and boys to attend all institutions of higher learning and that it furthermore strengthen women’s leadership roles in academic institutions (para 31).
Employment: The Committee is also concerned about the introduction, in 2015, of a national tax via presidential decree No. 3 “On the Prevention of Social Parasitism”, which is payable by persons who are unemployed in order to refund government expenditures, and imposed on parents outside the labour market taking care of children above the age of seven, which disproportionately affects women, as they are disproportionately involved in childrearing and household responsibilities. The Committee recommends that the State party promptly adopt legal amendments to ensure that the tax obligation introduced by presidential decree No. 3 “On the Prevention of Social Parasitism” does not apply to parents who are outside the labour market to take care of children (paras 32, 33).
Lesbian, bisexual and transgender women: The Committee is concerned about significant societal discrimination, stigmatization and violence, including by the police, experienced by lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LBT) women. It also notes with concern that discrimination and hate crimes against LBT women are frequently not prosecuted. It is furthermore concerned that the recently adopted Law of the Republic of Belarus No. 362-Z providing for amendments to normative acts for the protection of children from harmful information, which is inter alia defined as information discrediting the traditional family and marriage institute, might be used to discriminate against LBT women.The Committee recommends that the State party adequately combat discrimination, harassment and violence against LBT women and/or LBT human rights defenders, and ensure that every crime against them is promptly investigated, prosecuted and adequately punished. It also recommends that the State party ensure an interpretation of Law 362-Z, that will not restrict the dissemination of information on LBT women (paras 46, 47).
Marriage and family relations: The Committee further notes that women in de facto unions and their children do not have legal protection on economic matters upon the termination of such a union. The Committee calls upon the State party, in line with general recommendation No. 29 (2013) on economic consequences of marriage, family relations and their dissolution to ensure the legal protection of the economic rights of women in de facto unions, and of children born in such unions (paras 48, 49).
Last reported: 27 January 2011
Concluding Observations published: 4 February 2011
Stereotypes and discriminatory practices: The Committee reiterates its concern about the persistence of stereotypes concerning the roles and responsibilities of women and men in the family and in society, which over-emphasise the traditional roles of women as mothers and spouses, undermine women's social status, and hamper their equal participation in political and economic life. It also notes with concern reports that the media convey increasingly sexualised and commercialised images of women.
The Committee calls on the State party to:
(a) Further strengthen its efforts to put in place a comprehensive policy with pro-active and sustained measures, targeted at women and men, girls and boys, to overcome stereotypical attitudes about the roles and responsibilities of women and men in the family and in society, in particular in areas where women are in the most disadvantaged position; and
(b) Intensify its cooperation with civil society and women's organisations, Parliamentarians, education professionals, the private sector and the media, in order to disseminate targeted information to the general public and to specific stakeholders such as decision-makers, employers, journalists, disadvantaged groups of women, and the youth and to develop a more comprehensive strategy across all sectors to eliminate gender stereotypes, including images of women focusing excessively on maternal attributes, to promote images of economically and socially active women and of the equal responsibilities of women and men in the private and public spheres. (Paragraphs 17 and 18)
Violence against women: While noting the State party's efforts to sensitize the police and law enforcement officers on violence against women, the Committee reiterates its grave concern about the persistence of such violence, in particular domestic and sexual violence; its underreporting; the high number of women killed as a result of domestic violence; the lack of prosecution of violence within the family; the fact that rape is subject to private rather than ex officio prosecution; the absence of separate criminal law provisions on domestic violence and marital rape; and the lack of shelters for victims of domestic violence.
(f) Provide adequate assistance and protection to women victims of violence, by strengthening the capacity of crisis rooms in territorial centres for social assistance, increasing the number of State-run shelters for battered women and girls, enhancing cooperation with and funding for NGOs providing shelter and rehabilitation to victims, and reinforcing rehabilitation programmes for alcoholics; (Paragraph 19)
Trafficking and exploitation of prostitution: While noting that the State party gives high priority to combating trafficking in human beings, in particular women and children, the Committee remains concerned about the reported lack of preventive measures to address the root causes of trafficking, including its close link to prostitution and sexual exploitation of women and girls, the lack of assistance, rehabilitation, protection and temporary shelters, especially for victims of trafficking who are unable or unwilling to cooperate with the prosecution authorities, and the lack of funding for and cooperation with NGOs providing assistance and temporary shelter to victims of trafficking.
The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Expedite its efforts with a view to adopting the draft Law on Countering Human Trafficking;
(b) Take preventive measures that address the root causes of trafficking in women and girls, in particular its close link to prostitution, sexual exploitation and domestic violence, including through social rehabilitation and reintegration programmes and inform the Committee thereof in its next report;
(c) Provide adequate assistance and protection to all victims of human trafficking, as well as temporary residence permits to victims from third countries, irrespective of their capacity or willingness to cooperate in the legal proceedings against traffickers;
(d) Increase the number of State-run temporary shelters for victims of trafficking and enhance the responsiveness of territorial centres to their needs; and
(e) Strengthen its cooperation with and funding for NGOs providing temporary shelter and rehabilitation and reintegration services to victims of trafficking.The Committee is gravely concerned about the mass arrests of protestors, including many women, during demonstrations following the Presidential elections in December 2010, and about reports concerning inhuman and degrading treatment of women activists during detention. It is particularly concerned about the situation of Irina Khalip, Natalia Radzina, both journalists of independent media outlets, and Anastasia Palazhanko, deputy chairperson of the youth organisation "Young Front", who are detained at the KGB pre-trial detention centre in Minsk on charges of organising riots (article 293 of the Criminal Code), reportedly without confidential access to a lawyer and adequate medical treatment.
The Committee urges the State party to:
(a) Ensure that complaints submitted by women about arbitrary arrests and detention, as well as cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, in connection with the Presidential elections on 19 December 2010 are promptly and effectively investigated, that public officials responsible for such acts are prosecuted and adequately punished, and that the victims obtain adequate compensation for any violations of their rights;
(b) Ensure that Irina Khalip, Natalia Radzina and Anastasia Polazhanko have access to an independent medical doctor; have adequate time and facilities to prepare their defence and to communicate privately with counsel of their own choosing; and that they are tried within a reasonable time in a fair and public trial by an independent and impartial tribunal, in accordance with international human rights standards, or released; and
(c) Refrain from interfering with Irina Khalip's right to privacy and family, by ensuring that the custody for her three-year old son remains with the child's grandparents pending her or her husband's release and that she may have regular contact with her son and other family members during her deprivation of liberty. (Paragraph 21-26)
Education: While noting women's high level of education, the Committee remains concerned that women and girls continue to choose traditionally female-dominated fields of education, such as social sciences and humanities, and that they are under-represented in vocational training. It is also concerned that the feminisation of the education sector, where women account for 80 percent of teacher-training students, may reinforce traditional gender stereotypes about the unequal involvement of women and men in child education.
The Committee recommends that the State party intensify its efforts aimed at diversifying academic and vocational choices for women and men and take further measures to encourage women and men to choose non-traditional fields of education and careers, e.g. by encouraging more men to participate in the formal education of children. (Paragraphs 29 and 30)
Health: While noting the reduction of the abortion rate, the Committee reiterates its concern about the continuing use of abortion as the main method of birth control, the limited use of contraceptives and the growing spread of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, among women and girls, in particular women sex workers. It also notes with concern that education on sexual and reproductive health and rights is not included in the regular school curricula and that the quality of sexual and reproductive health services reportedly remains poor, especially in rural areas.
In line with its previous concluding observations (CEDAW/C/BLR/CO/4-6, para. 356) and its general recommendation No. 24, the Committee calls on the State party:
(a) To raise awareness, through special counselling services and the media, about the impact of abortion on women's physical and psychological health as well as its ethical implications and its exceptional nature;
(b) To integrate education on sexual and reproductive health and rights in the regular school curricula;
(c) To ensure that all women, including women with disabilities, women living with HIV/AIDS and migrant and refugee women, as well as girls have free and adequate access to contraceptives and sexual and reproductive health services, including in rural areas, and to information in accessible formats; and
(d) To integrate a gender perspective in its national HIV/AIDS policies and programmes. (Paragraphs 35 and 36)
Marriage and family relations: The Committee notes that Presidential Decree No. 18 of 24 November 2006 authorising the removal of children from dysfunctional families and requiring parents to reimburse the State for its child care expenditures may re-victimise women with children living in abusive partnerships. It also notes the lack of information on the economic situation of women following divorce.
The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Apply alternative solutions to removing children from their mothers, whenever the dysfunction of a family results from the socially irresponsible behaviour of the father, and support rather than penalise women with children living in abusive relationships; and
(b) In view of the high divorce rate, undertake research on the economic consequences of divorce on both spouses, as well as on gender-based economic disparities between spouses, and include information on the outcome of such research in its next periodic report. (Paragraphs 43 and 44)
Last reported: 20 and 21 August 2013 Concluding Observations issued: 23 September 2013
Issues raised and recommendations given:
Roma community: While noting the steps taken by the State party to improve the situation of the Roma community, in particular in the field of education, the Committee is concerned that the general level of education, in particular secondary and higher, of members of the Roma community is insufficient and that they are employed almost exclusively in the private sector. It is also concerned at possible negative stereotyping of members of the Roma community in the media, and reports of police violence against the Roma for not having identity documents. In light of its general recommendation 27 (2000) on discrimination against Roma, the Committee requests the State party to provide further information on measures taken to ensure that members of the Roma community are not discriminated against and that they have equal access to education at all levels, employment, including in the State sector, housing, identity documents, access to public places, social and other services, and that there is no negative stereotyping of Roma in the media. The Committee encourages the State party to continue the positive practice of working with Roma parents in order to encourage them to send their children to school at the age of six. It invites the State party to consider taking special measures to improve the situation of the Roma community in accordance with article 2, paragraph 2, of the Convention. (arts. 2 and 5) (Para. 16)
Trafficking: While commending the efforts of the State party to combat trafficking in persons, including through the adoption of legislation, and the significant results achieved so far, the Committee is concerned that Belarus continues to be a source and transit country for human trafficking, both for purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labour. The Committee recommends that the State party: (a) Continue and enhance its efforts to combat human trafficking and take preventive measures to address its root causes, including the link to prostitution and sexual exploitation, in particular of women belonging to ethnic minorities; (b) Provide assistance, protection, temporary residence permits, rehabilitation and shelter as well as medical, psychological and other services and assistance to victims of trafficking, and ensure that they are not prosecuted; (c) Promptly and thoroughly investigate, prosecute and punish those responsible; (d) Consider concluding bilateral agreements with other countries in order to strengthen prevention and combat of trafficking; (e) Provide training to law enforcement officials, including police officers, border guards and immigration officials, in the identification of, assistance to and protection of victims of trafficking; (f) Conduct public awareness-raising campaigns on human trafficking. (arts. 5, 6 and 7) (Para. 17)
Last reported: 5 and 6 August 2004
Concluding Observations adopted: 18 August 2004
Trafficking: While the Committee acknowledges the awareness-raising efforts made by the State party, it notes with concern that Belarus is a country of transit for the trafficking of women and girls for the purpose of sexual exploitation. The Committee recommends to the State party that it reinforce ongoing efforts to prevent and combat trafficking and provide support and assistance to victims, wherever possible in their own language. (Paragraph 9)
Not yet signed or ratified.
Not yet signed or ratified.
Not yet signed or ratified.