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 purposes 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 October 2010
Concluding Observations adopted 26 October 2010
Retention of reservations: The Committee expresses its concern that the State maintains its reservations to a number of articles of the ICCPR, including article 10, paragraph 3 which states that:
'The penitentiary system shall comprise treatment of prisoners the essential aim of which shall be their reformation and social rehabilitation. Juvenile offenders shall be segregated from adults and be accorded treatment appropriate to their age and legal status.'
The Committee urges the State to consider withdrawing its reservations and interpretative declarations regarding the provisions of the Covenant. (paragraph 7)
Domestic violence: The Committee expresses concern that domestic violence persists in the State and that it has still not adopted comprehensive legislation relating to it.
The Committee recommends that the State should increase its efforts to combat domestic violence by, inter alia, adopting comprehensive legislation to combat domestic violence and ensuring that victims have immediate access to mean of redress and protection. (paragraph 9)
Juvenile justice: The Committee expresses concern that, although the Youth Protection Act of 8 April 1965 was amended in 2006, it still provides for referral orders whereby minors between the ages of 16 and 18 may be tried as adults (arts. 14, 24 and 26).
The Committee recommends that the State review its legislation with a view to preventing minors between the ages of 16 and 18 from being tried as adults. (paragraph 23)
Last reported: 7 November 2013 Concluding Observations issued: 23 December 2013
Issues raised and recommendations given:
Employment: The Committee notes with concern that youth unemployment among 15–24-year-olds remains very high, especially in the Walloon Region (25 per cent in 2011) and the Brussels-Capital Region (45 per cent in 2011) as it does among categories such as persons aged 55 to 64, women, and persons with disabilities. The Committee is also concerned by the disparities in the jobless rate between regions. The Committee is further concerned that, despite the measures taken, the jobless rate among non-European Union migrants continues to be particularly high (30 per cent in 2012). The Committee recommends that the State party: (a) strengthen and continue its action to combat youth unemployment effectively, including for the least qualified, and particularly in the Walloon and Brussels-Capital Regions, as well as unemployment among persons aged 55–64, women and persons with disabilities; (b) reinforce the impact of its specific plans and policies to reduce joblessness among non-European Union migrants. The Committee requests the State party to provide in its next report detailed statistical information on the impact of its unemployment reduction measures and to evaluate them on a regular basis. The Committee draws the State party’s attention to its general comment No. 18 (2005) on the right to work. (art. 6) (Para. 12)
The Committee is concerned at reports that employers sometimes fail to fulfil their maternity protection obligations, using other pretexts to dismiss the women concerned. The Committee recommends that the State party ensure effective enforcement of the legislation in order to protect women on maternity leave against unjustified dismissal connected with their condition. The State party is also encouraged to circulate its legislation widely among employers and to conduct inspections in order to combat possible abuses. (art. 10) (Para. 15)
Violence: While noting the strengthening in 2012 of legislation to combat domestic violence, the Committee expresses concern at its persistence, especially violence against women. The Committee is particularly concerned at the fact that a number of women and girls with disabilities are victims of domestic violence and has doubts about the appropriateness of the resources allocated by the State party to protect and assist them. The Committee remains concerned that the State party has not adopted specific legislation on domestic violence. The Committee recommends that the State party adopt specific legislation on domestic violence, especially violence against women. The Committee draws the State party’s particular attention to the domestic violence suffered by women and girls with disabilities and recommends that the State party ensure that they receive adequate protection and assistance, and facilitate victims’ lodging of complaints. In this regard, the Committee recommends that the State party take account of the situation of disability of certain victims. The Committee further recommends that the State party continue to implement its National Plan of Action 2010–2014 and step up its domestic violence awareness campaigns. (art.10) (Para. 16)
Corporal Punishment: The Committee is concerned by the persistence of the practice of corporal punishment, including in the family context. It regrets the State party’s decision not to enact specific legislation expressly prohibiting corporal punishment in all places. The Committee is also disturbed by the extent of child abuse and the persistence of the problem of street children. The Committee recommends that the State party review its position and consider enacting specific legislation expressly prohibiting corporal punishment everywhere. It further recommends that the State party take additional measures to combat child abuse, including in terms of protection and assistance. The State party is also encouraged to step up its campaigns to raise public awareness concerning child abuse. (art.10) (Para. 17)
Poverty: The Committee is disturbed by the poverty experienced by the most underprivileged and marginalized sectors of the population in the State party, notably children and persons of foreign origin. The Committee regrets the lack of information on the impact that measures taken in the area of poverty reduction and social integration — including the First Federal Anti-Poverty Plan and the National Action Plan for Social Inclusion and against Poverty 2008–2010 — have had on poverty reduction. The Committee encourages the State party to put in place stronger measures to combat the poverty experienced by the most underprivileged and marginalized sectors of the population, including children and persons of foreign origin. The Committee recommends that the State party continue to implement its Second Federal Anti-Poverty Plan and strengthen the other federal and regional measures, ensuring that they have a real impact on poverty reduction. The Committee further recommends that the most underprivileged and marginalized sectors of the population in the State party continue to benefit from more specific anti-poverty action. The Committee draws the attention of the State party to the Statement on poverty and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, adopted by the Committee on 4 May 2001 (E/2002/22-E/C.12/2001/17, annex VII). (art. 11) (Para. 18)
Disabilities: The Committee notes with concern that many children with disabilities in the State party still attend special schools and are not included in the mainstream education system. The Committee recommends that the State party strengthen its efforts to include children with disabilities in the mainstream education system, by adapting existing facilities and taking all the necessary measures to ensure that children with disabilities fully exercise their right to education on an equal footing with other children. The Committee draws the attention of the State party to its general comment No. 13 (1999) on the right to education. (arts. 13 and 14) (Para. 23)
Last reported: 12 and 13 November 2007
Concluding Observations adopted: 20 and 21 November 2007
Employment: The Committee remains concerned that despite the measures adopted by the State party to increase employment opportunities for young persons, the unemployment rates of persons belonging to this group continue to be considerably higher than the European Union average rate. (paragraph 16)
The Committee encourages the State party to intensify its efforts to reduce unemployment rates among young people, and promote vocational and reorientation training opportunities, career guidance and tax incentives for companies hiring persons belonging to this target group. The Committee requests the State party to include in the next report detailed information, including disaggregated statistical data, on the results of the measures taken to improve employment opportunities for persons belonging to these groups. (paragraph 30)
Corporal punishment: The Committee notes that corporal punishment of children within the family has not yet been included in the Criminal Code as a specific offence.
The Committee recommends that the State party adopt specific legislation criminalising acts of domestic violence and prohibiting all forms of corporal punishment of children within the family. (paragraph 33)
- Education: The Committee remains concerned about the lack of adequate mechanisms to ensure uniformity in educational standards. (paragraph 36)
Health: The Committee notes with concern that access to health-care facilities, goods and services for persons belonging to vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, such as undocumented migrant workers and members of their families, is limited to access to urgent medical care.
The Committee urges the State party to adopt all appropriate measures to ensure that persons belonging to vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, such as undocumented migrant workers and members of their families, have access to adequate health-care facilities, goods and services, on an equal basis with legal residents of the State party. (paragraph 35)
Observations adopted: 18 November 2013
Detention conditions: (arts. 11, 12, 13, 16) The Committee is concerned over massive overpopulation in Belgian prisons. Some detention centres are overpopulated by more than 50%, leading to violence between detainees and the use of force by staff. The Committee also noted insufficient access to health, poor hygiene conditions. In some places, minors are not separated from adults, and pre-trial and sentenced detainees are not separated. (paragraph 15)
The Committed recommends that the State Party increases its efforts towards reducing overpopulation, namely by applying alternatives to detention. Belgium should also separate minors and adults, continue to improve infrastructuresand work conditions of prison staff in order to prevent staff strikes that are detrimental to prisoners’ fundamental rights.
Administrative detention of asylum seekers: (arts.11, 16) The Committee welcomes the State’s efforts to use alternatives to detention for families seeking asylum with children. It notes however that asylum seekers falling within the remit of the Dublin ruling are systematically detained for the whole duration of the asylum procedure, which can last up to 9 months. (paragraph 21)
Administration of juvenile justice: (art.11)The Committee repeats its recommendation (CAT/C/BEL/CO/2 par. 17) to set up a juvenile justice system that complies fully with the CRC. THe current law allows children aged 16 to 18 to be tried as adults, and detained with adults if found guilty. The Committee also recommends to take necessary measures to speed up lengthy proceedings. (paragraph 25)
Corporal punishment: (art.16) The Committee is concerned that the State party has not expressly banned corporal punishment in all settings, and recommends that it does so, in priority in the home and in non-institutional children care settings. (paragraph 27)
Last reported: 12 and 13 November 2008
Concluding Observations adopted: 19 November 2008
- Unaccompanied minors: The Committee notes the creation within the Aliens Office of a special unit for unaccompanied minors with responsibility for processing their applications for residency. It also takes note of certain other activities, including the creation of specialised centres to deal with unaccompanied minors and the planned creation of the Guardianship Service for Unaccompanied Minors. The Committee recommends that the government accelerate its efforts to provide unaccompanied minors with assistance, accommodation and follow-up. (paragraph 7)
Protection of minors: While taking note of reforms to legislation which give minors the right to legal counsel when being questioned by an investigating judge, the Committee is deeply concerned that the requirement that legal counsel or a trusted adult be present during questioning of minors is rarely respected.
The Committee recommends that the State party implement a pilot project to question minors via audio and video-taping, but stresses that this initiative cannot replace the presence of a third party during hearings involving minors. The State party should continue its efforts to ensure that minors have a lawyer and a trusted adult present at every phase of a proceeding, including during questioning by a police officer. (paragraph 16)
Juvenile justice: The Committee remains concerned that persons under the age of 18 can be tried as adults. It is also concerned that a holistic approach to the problem of juvenile crime, including with respect to prevention procedures and sanctions, has not been sufficiently taken into consideration by the State party.
It recommends that the State party establish a system of juvenile justice that fully integrates into its legislation and practice the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and ensures that persons under the age of 18 are not tried as adults. (paragraph 17)
Violence against girls /corporal punishment: The Committee notes with concern the lack of any coordinated national strategy or programme to combat all forms of violence against women and girls, as well as the persistence of corporal punishment of children within the family and the fact that this practice is not prohibited by law.
The Committee recommends that the State party adopt and implement a national strategy for the elimination of violence against women and girls, and to strengthen its cooperation with NGOs working in this area. The State party should take the necessary steps to include provisions banning corporal punishment of children within the family in its legislation. The State party should guarantee women and children who have suffered violence access to complaint mechanisms, punish the perpetrators of such acts in an appropriate manner and facilitate victims' physical and psychological rehabilitation. (paragraph 24)
Trafficking of children: The Committee is concerned that not enough is being done to combat trafficking of women and children, particularly in terms of addressing root causes and allocating a sufficient portion of the budget to tackling the problems. There are also gaps in international cooperation in this area. Furthermore, trafficked persons can only be granted residence status if they cooperate with the judicial authorities.
The Committee recommends that Belgium ratify the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, adopted in 2005. It encourages the State party to focus not only on criminal justice measures and the prosecution of traffickers but also on the protection and rehabilitation of victims; increase its efforts to address the root causes of trafficking in persons; strengthen international cooperation, in particular with countries of origin, trafficking and transit, in order to ensure successful prosecutions; assist victims through counselling and reintegration measures; ensure that adequate human and financial resources are allocated to policies and programmes in this area; ensure that adequate support services are provided to victims, including those who do not cooperate with the authorities; consider granting victims of human trafficking temporary residence permits. (paragraph 25)
Follow-up issues published in November 2009, government report received 17 March 2010.
Government report: CAT/C/BEL/CO/2/Add.1
The Committee recommends that Belgium intensify its efforts to provide assistance and specialised care for unaccompanied children
Office of non-nationals (office des etrangers)
- There are several authorities charged with the care of unaccompanied children
- There is a circular informing about the dangers facing unaccompanied children
- The Office hears unaccompanied children at least once a week in matters relating to residency permits
- Staff of the Office receive special training about trauma, inter-cultural communication and hearing minors.
- The Office works with the Foreign Service to trace the minor's family and to find a sustainable solution for the minor.
- The law on human trafficking has special provisions for minors
- A 2008 circular informed about the obligations regarding unaccompanied minors and aimed to create multidisciplinary co-operation for their treatment.
- Parents of children who have been granted refugee status as well as adult disabled children have been eligible for family reunification since 2006
- Unaccompanied children who do not have the right to residence in Belgium are taken care of in line with the Chicago Convention and placed in special care until their family or other foster parents can be found, according to the principle of the best interests of the child
- The admission of unaccompanied minors to observation and orientation centres is
- Children may be detained for a maximum of 30 days in these centres in order to establish the child's medical, psychological and social profile and direct it towards a solution for their situation. Institutions taking care of the child afterwards are supervised by the Federal agency for asylum, whether they have applied for asylum or not. In the third stage, the child will be admitted to the competent authorities according to his or her status
- Minors in the detention centres receive an information leaflet in several languages informing about them of the admission procedure
- The wardship service has an agreement with the psychiatric ambulance service of the Brussels university hospital for the treatment of unaccompanied minors
- There is a different regime for European minors in situations of vulnerability. They do not get a guardian, but are taken care of by the service for European minors in situations of vulnerability
- General Commissioner for Refugees and Stateless Persons (CGRA)
- Asylum claims by unaccompanied minors are prioritised, and together with their tutors
- There have been specialised trainings for officers of the CGRA on issues relating to unaccompanied minors. These trainings took also place for interpreters who work with them
- A special questioning procedure has been introduced for unaccompanied minors to suit their needs
- A new audition room for the hearing of unaccompanied minors has been furbished, to make the asylum audition as pleasant as possible for the minor.
- All unaccompanied minors are redirected as rapidly as possible to a long-term structure, either a centre for asylum seekers or another federal authority, or care organised by the communities
- There is a list of institutions taking care of unaccompanied children both in the francophone and Flemish communities
Protection of minors
The Committee encourages the state party to create a project of recording hearings of minors, but underlines that this does not exempt from the obligation of a third responsible person at auditions of minors.
Presence of a third person / a lawyer
- When a minor is arrested, his parent or guardian is automatically informed
- The law also provides for the presence of a person confidence in all proceedings with minors victims of violations
- The law provides that any accused person can freely communicate with a lawyer after the first hearing, which has to take place within 24 hours after the arrestation
- The law on the protection of the youth provides that all orders and judgements concerning a youth is communicated to its parents and its lawyer. Young persons have to be represented by a lawyer; if necessary they will get one designated by the authorities
- A judge has to state more explicitly her motivations when judging a minor
- Audio-visual recording
- The law provides for the possibility of recording the hearings of minors who are victims or witnesses, in order to prevent secondary victimisation caused by repeated hearings
- There is a specific budget dedicated to the equipment: there are special rooms for audiovisual recording, editing and rooms providing for hearings without the sight of strangers. There are also mobile audition kits for investigators
- Only competent and specially trained investigators are allowed to realise recorded hearings; there are trained officers in all judiciary districts.
- There are 500 trained investigators (268 francophones and 232 Flamish ones) who have trainings three times a year.
Adopted by the Committee: 28 October 2014
Published by the Committee: 7 November 2014
The Law of 8 May 2014 amending the Civil Code, providing for equality of women and men in transmitting their surname to their biological or adopted children (para.4).
The Committee recommends that the State party strengthen its efforts to strictly enforce the Law banning female genital mutilation and effectively implement the National Action Plan to combat partner violence and other forms of domestic violence (2010-2014), with a view to eliminating female genital mutilation as well as other harmful practices such as forced marriages and violent acts against women and girls committed in the name of so-called “honour” (para.17).
The Committee is concerned about the lack of information on the impact on women and girls of the ban on wearing headscarves, as stipulated in the rules, regulations and by-laws of several local administrations, public hospitals, schools and private companies in different parts of the State party (para.18).
The Committee recommends that the State party monitor and assess the impact on women and girls, particularly in relation to their access to education and employment, of the ban on wearing headscarves adopted by several local administrations, public hospitals, schools and private companies, and compile information on the number of women and girls who have been sanctioned on the basis of such ban (para.19).
Trafficking and sexual exploitation:
The Committee notes with concern the absence of comprehensive information and data on trafficking in women and girls, the reportedly low number of prosecutions and convictions of traffickers, and reports on the insufficient funding for combatting trafficking in women and girls and for assisting victims (para.24).
The Committee recommends that the State party: Grant temporary residence permits to women and girls who are victims of trafficking regardless of their ability or willingness to cooperate with the prosecution authorities and to file a complaint; Increase its efforts to investigate, prosecute and punish traffickers; Ensure that adequate human and financial resources are allocated to policies and programmes to combat trafficking in persons; Continue its efforts to ensure that victims of trafficking have effective access to medical care, psychosocial counselling, legal assistance, as well as to rehabilitation and reintegration programmes; and increase efforts aimed at international, regional and bilateral cooperation with countries of origin, transit and destination to prevent trafficking through information exchange and to harmonize legal procedures aiming at prosecution of traffickers (para.25).
The Committee remains concerned about the fact that women and girls continue to choose traditionally female-dominated fields of education; The persistence of gender stereotypes in certain textbooks; The lack of information on whether the high dropout rate from school among children with a migration background disproportionately affects migrant girls as compared to migrant boys (para.30).
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; Ensure that all gender stereotypes are eliminated from textbooks; that school curricula, academic programmes and professional training for teachers cover women’s rights and promote gender equality; and that higher level courses be introduced on gender studies; Conduct a study on the extent and the root causes of school dropout among girls with a migration background that will inform policy interventions to guarantee their retention in educational institutions (para.31).
The Committee is concerned that, unaccompanied asylum-seeking girls are not always assigned a female guardian, and that asylum-seeking women are not systematically provided with a female lawyer or interpreter (para.42). The Committee recommends that the State party assign female guardians to unaccompanied girls and female lawyers and interpreters to asylum-seeking women (para.43).
Last reported: 21 October 2008
Concluding Observations published: 7 November 2008
Stereotypes: The Committee expresses concern about the persistence of stereotypes among young people and the lack of targeted educational programmes, a revision of curricula and textbooks, as well as the lack of teacher training to eliminate such stereotypes.
The Committee recommends intensifying efforts to eliminate stereotypical images of and attitudes about the roles and responsibilities of women and men that perpetuate direct and indirect discrimination against women. These should include educational measures at all levels, such as the revision of school textbooks and curricula for teacher training and awareness-raising campaigns directed at girls and boys, parents, women and men, designed with the involvement of the media and civil society. (paragraphs 23, 24)
Names: The Committee is concerned that the State party's law on family names discriminates directly against women in that it does not allow a married woman or a woman living in de facto union with a man to give her family name to her children.
The Committee calls upon the State party to modify its legislation on family names to guarantee equal rights of women and men to pass on their family names to their children. (paragraphs 27, 28)
Domestic violence: The Committee is concerned about the lack of information on convictions and penalties for violence against women and girls.
It recommends enforcing legislation on violence against women, implementing a national strategy on the issue. The State party should also organise training activities for parliamentarians, the judiciary, public officials, law enforcement personnel, teachers and health-service providers to sensitise them and to provide adequate support for victims. It should also enhance its cooperation with NGOs working in the area and include information on the number and nature of reported cases, convictions and types of sanctions imposed on perpetrators and compensation provided for victims in its next report. (paragraphs 31, 32)
Religious minorities: The Committee is concerned that the ban on wearing headscarves in schools may increase discrimination and impede equal access to schools.
The Committee recommends paying special attention to the needs of girls belonging to religious and ethnic minorities and ensuring that they have equal access to schooling. It also recommends a genuine dialogue with religious and ethnic communities. (paragraphs 35, 36)
Human trafficking: The Committee is concerned that the root causes of trafficking of women and girls are not addressed sufficiently by the State party, that resources allocated to this problem are still insufficient and that a comprehensive and coordinated plan at the national level is lacking. It is also concerned about insufficient international cooperation in bringing perpetrators to justice and the fact that Belgium grants specific residence permits only to those victims of trafficking in human beings who collaborate with the judicial authorities.
The Committee urges the State party to ratify the Council of Europe's Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, which it signed in 2005. It urges the State party to focus not only on criminal justice measures and the prosecution of traffickers, but also on the protection and rehabilitation of victims of trafficking. It encourages the State party to increase its efforts to combat the root causes of trafficking, to enhance international cooperation, especially with the countries of origin to ensure effective prosecution, to assist the victims through counselling and reintegration efforts and to ensure that adequate resources (human and financial) are allocated to policies and programmes in this area. The Committee urges the State party to ensure the provision of adequate support services to victims, including those who do not cooperate with the authorities, and invites the State party to give consideration to granting victims of trafficking temporary permits to remain in the country. (paragraphs 41, 42)
Last reported: 6 and 7 February 2014
Concluding Observations adopted: 21 February 2014
- Education: The committee raised concerns over the Flemish Education Council’s decision to prohibit the wearing of belief symbols in all schools under its authority. It also expressed concerns over the decision by the French Community to leave that decision to each school, which may constitute a basis for discrimination against members of some ethnic groups.
- Belief Systems: The committee urged the State party to increase its vigilance and reinforce measures to combat Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.
Government report: CERD/C/BEL/CO/15/Add.1, 1 April 2009
Reply by the Committee: 28 September 2009
Situation of Roma
There is a note of general policy by a Flemish minister regarding the situation of Sinti and Roma, calling specifically for improved participation of their children in the educational system.
Therefore, a special study is underway to research on the situation of Roma, Sinti and other travelling peoples
Response by the Committee:
The Committee asks for the inclusion of the results of the study regarding the situation of Roma, Sinti and other travelling peoples into the next periodic report, and to outline the plan of action adopted.
Last reported: 25 and 26 February 2008
Concluding Observations adopted: 5 March 2008
Human trafficking: The Committee welcomes a new law which makes provisions to improve efforts to combat trafficking in persons. However, the Committee notes the absence of detailed statistical information on investigations, prosecutions and convictions of human traffickers. It also notes the lack of measures to protect and provide adequate reparation to victims.
The Committee recommends that the State party reinforce its measures to adequately prevent, combat and punish human trafficking, especially of non-citizens, and to provide, in its next report, detailed statistical information on the subject, including on protection and reparation provided to the victims. (paragraph 20)
Education for girls: While noting that in the State party the authority to decide whether girls can wear headscarves in schools belongs to each school board, the Committee is concerned about the equal enjoyment of the right to education by all girls in Belgium.
The Committee recommends that the State party ensure that the procedure implementing school regulations always emphasises dialogue in order to prevent such regulations from denying any student the right to education, and to ensure that everyone can always exercise that right. (paragraph 21)
Education for Roma and Travellers: The Committee remains concerned about the de facto enjoyment of social, economic and cultural rights by Roma and Travellers, especially in education and employment.
The Committee recommends that the State party strengthen its measures to improve the schooling of Roma children. The Committee further recommends that the State party provide, in its next report, detailed information on the enjoyment of social, economic and cultural rights of Roma and Travellers, as well as on the impact of the measures taken to increase and improve sites on residential land for caravan-dwellers and improve access to health care and other basic facilities. (paragraph 22)
Last reported: 18 and 19 September 2014
Concluding Observations adopted: 28 October 2014
Equality and non-discrimination (art. 5): The Committee takes note of the anti-discrimination law which recognizes the concept of reasonable accommodation. It remains concerned about the situation of foreign persons with disabilities living in Belgium who experience situations of discrimination, and about cases of discrimination by association with a person or child with disabilities. (para 11)
The Committee recommends that the State party review the remedies provided for by this law to ensure that complainants are able to seek injunctions and can receive damages once their claims for discrimination have been proven in court. It urges the State party to strengthen protection against discrimination, including discrimination by association, through the introduction of positive discrimination measures and awareness-raising and training of public officials at all levels. (para 12)
Women with disabilities (art. 6): The Committee is concerned at the lack of knowledge about whether women with disabilities are discriminated against because of their gender and about the extent to which women and girls with disabilities are discriminated against as compared to men and boys with disabilities, and to women without disabilities. (para 13)
The Committee recommends that the State party ensure the integration of gender and disability perspectives in its legislation and policies, surveys, plans, evaluation and monitoring activities and services. It also recommends that the State party adopt effective and specific measures to prevent intersecting forms of discrimination against women and girls with disabilities. (para 14)
Children with disabilities (art. 7): The Committee is concerned that the State party is now among the European countries with the highest rates of children with disabilities placed in institutions, according to a 2013 European Union report on children with disabilities. The Committee is also concerned that children with disabilities are not systematically included in decisions which affect their lives and do not have the opportunity to express their opinion about issues that affect them directly. (para 15)
The Committee recommends that the State party allocate the necessary resources to support families of children with disabilities, in order to prevent the abandonment and placement of those children in institutions and to ensure their inclusion and participation in the community on an equal basis with other children. The Committee recommends the adoption of measures to protect the right of children with disabilities to be consulted on all issues affecting them through the provision of age- and disability-appropriate support. (para 16)
Awareness-raising (art. 8): The Committee is concerned that there is no sign that a paradigm shift has occurred following ratification of the Convention, whereby persons with disabilities are recognized as basic rights holders taking part in decisions affecting them and asserting their rights in society. The stigmatization and exclusion of persons with disabilities is evident in several policies because of, among other things, the continued existence of a strong medical model, reliance on residential care as the main form of care and the maintenance of the segregated education system. (para 17)
The Committee recommends that the State party introduce a national strategy to raise awareness of the content of the Convention. In this regard, the Committee recommends that the State party carry out accessible information and awareness-raising campaigns on the rights of persons with disabilities and foster among the general public a positive image of persons with disabilities and their contributions to society, through close consultation with, and the active involvement of, representative organizations of persons with disabilities in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of those information and awareness-raising campaigns. (para 18)
Freedom from exploitation, violence and abuse (art. 16): The Committee is concerned about the lack of protection for women, children and girls with disabilities against violence and abuse. It is also concerned about the absence of protocols to register, monitor and track the conditions in institutions that care for persons with disabilities, particularly those that care for older persons with disabilities. (para 30)
The Committee urges the State party to take measures to prevent and eliminate all forms of domestic or institutional violence against women, children and girls with disabilities. It also calls for the drafting and introduction of protocols to register, monitor and track the conditions in institutions that care for persons with disabilities, particularly those that care for older persons with disabilities. (para 31)
Living independently and being included in the community (art. 19): The Committee notes with concern the high rate of referral to institutional care for persons with disabilities in the State party and the lack of deinstitutionalization plans. It also notes that there is insufficient information on opportunities to continue living in society and the community, since institutional care is too often seen as the only lasting solution. Moreover, there are very few opportunities for persons with disabilities to live independently owing to a lack of investment and the inadequacy of personal assistance services. The Committee is concerned about the policy on registration of institutions that care for French persons with disabilities, in particular children with disabilities, in the State party and the lack of monitoring of such institutions. (para 32)
The Committee recommends that the State party work towards deinstitutionalization by reducing investment in collective infrastructure and promoting personal choice. The Committee urges the State party to implement a disability action plan at all levels of the State to guarantee access to services and an independent life for persons with disabilities so that they are able to live in the community. The action plan must eliminate current waiting lists and ensure that persons with disabilities have access to sufficient financial resources and that communities are accessible for persons with disabilities. The Committee recommends that the State party devise international cooperation programmes that respect the right of persons with disabilities to live in the community and involve disabled persons’ representatives and their families in their preparation. (para 33)
Education (art. 24): The Committee is concerned at reports that many students with disabilities are referred to and obliged to attend special schools because of the lack of reasonable accommodation in the mainstream education system. As inclusive education is not guaranteed, the special education system remains an all too frequent option for children with disabilities. The Committee is also concerned about poor accessibility in schools. (para 36)
The Committee requests that the State party implement a coherent inclusive education strategy for children with disabilities in the mainstream system and ensure the provision of adequate financial, material and human resources. It recommends that the State party ensure that children with disabilities receive the educational support they need, in particular through the provision of accessible school environments, reasonable accommodation, individual learning plans, assistive technology in classrooms, and accessible and adapted materials and curricula, and guarantee that all teachers, including teachers with disabilities, receive comprehensive training on the use of Braille and sign language with a view to improving the education of all children with disabilities, including boys and girls who are blind, deaf-blind, deaf or hard of hearing. The Committee also recommends that inclusive education should form an integral part of teacher training at university and during continuing professional development. (para 37)
Adopted by the Committee: 15-16 September 2014
Published by the committee: 15 October 2014
Draft royal decrees:
The Committee finds it regrettable that the draft royal decree on registers of persons deprived of liberty and the one on gathering, conserving and accessing information on the origin of adopted children have still not been finalized (arts. 17 and 25) (para.30).
The Committee recommends that the State party finalize and adopt the royal decrees on registers of persons deprived of liberty and on gathering, conserving and accessing information on the origin of adopted children, so as to bring domestic legislation into line with the Convention in these fields (para.30).