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 on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
- UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
- UN Committee against Torture
- UN Committee on Migrant Workers
- UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
- UN Committee on Enforced Disappearance
N.B The extracts for Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Macao Special Administrative Region are included in separate reports.
Signed but not ratified. The Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macao have reported to the Human Rights Committee.
Last reported: 18 and 19 March 2013 Concluding Observations issued: 29 April 2013
Issues raised and recommendations given:
Domestic violence: While welcoming the efforts made by Macao, China, to combat and eliminate domestic violence, the Committee is concerned that, despite the decrease in the number of investigated cases of domestic violence, the magnitude of the domestic violence phenomenon remains unclear. The Committee also regrets the lack of specific legislation proscribing sexual harassment in all settings, including at workplace. Macao, China, should continue its efforts to eliminate domestic violence; adopt the law on prevention of domestic violence; strengthen the services available to victims and the remedies provided and conduct studies on the magnitude and root causes of domestic violence in Macao, China. It should also enact specific legislation prohibiting sexual harassment in all settings, including in the workplace; thoroughly investigate such cases; sanction perpetrators; provide adequate remedies to victims and take measures to raise awareness of the sexual harassment phenomenon. (arts. 7 and 14) (Para. 10)
Juvenile justice: While commending Macao, China, for the adoption of the law on juvenile justice, the Committee is concerned at the excessive length of solitary confinement that may be applied in respect of juvenile offenders during night-time. It also notes Macao, China’s commitment to reconsider this practice. Macao, China, should review the overall period of night-time solitary confinement for juveniles, taking due account of articles 7 and 10 of the Covenant. (arts. 7, 10 and 24) (Para. 12)
Trafficking: While appreciating the various efforts made by Macao, China, to address and combat trafficking in persons, the Committee is concerned about the persistence of the phenomenon in Macao, China, as well as about the low number of cases of trafficking in persons that come to the attention of the authorities and the limited number of convictions. The Committee also regrets the lack of information on the existence of any legal alternatives to removal of victims to countries where they may face hardship and retribution. Macao, China, should intensify its efforts to combat trafficking in persons; systematically and vigorously investigate and prosecute perpetrators, and ensure that, when convicted, they are adequately sanctioned. Macao, China, should also guarantee adequate protection, reparation and compensation to victims, including rehabilitation. It should ensure that legal alternatives are available to victims that may face hardship and retribution upon removal. (art. 8) (Para. 13)
Sale of children: The Committee is concerned about the problem of the sale of women and girl children and of the abandonment of elderly women. (Paragraph 19)
Child labour: The Committee expresses its deep concern regarding children working in hazardous occupations such as mining, often in precarious conditions that fall short of labour safety standards. The Committee is also of the view that the "Diligent Work and Economical Study" (qingong jianxue) programme for schoolchildren constitutes exploitative child labour, in contradiction of the provisions of articles 6 and 7 of the Covenant, and Convention No. 182 concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour of the International Labour Organization (ILO) to which China is a party. (Paragraph 23).
The Committee urges the State party, as a matter of priority, to strengthen its efforts to effectively enforce its legislation prohibiting unlawful employment of children. The Committee also urges the State party to make every effort, including the adoption of preventive measures, to ensure that those children who engage in labour do not work under conditions that are harmful to them. The Committee further encourages the State party to consider withdrawing the programme of "Diligent Work and Economical Study" (qingong jianxue) from its school curriculum. (Paragraph 52)
Sexual exploitation: The Committee is also concerned at the lack of reliable information, including statistics, on the extent of the problem of sexual exploitation of women and children in the State party, including prostitution, sale and trafficking in persons. (Paragraph 29).
Abortion: The Committee is deeply concerned about reports of forced abortions and forced sterilizations imposed on women, including those belonging to ethnic minority groups, by local officials in the context of the one-child policy, and about the high maternal mortality rate as a result of unsafe abortions.(Paragraph 36).
The Committee urges the State party to undertake effective measures to ensure that abortions are carried out voluntarily and under adequate medical and sanitary conditions and to ensure that the existing legislation governing the one-child policy does not violate the rights enshrined in article 10 of the Covenant. The Committee requests the State party to provide information in its next periodic report in this regard, including information on women belonging to ethnic minority groups (Paragraph 65)
Education: The Committee is concerned about the continued irregularities in the State party's provision of universal access to free compulsory primary education, in particular with regard to rural communities, minority regions, disadvantaged families and internal migrant population. The Committee is also concerned about the high junior middle school dropout rate in some rural areas. (Paragraph 37)
In line with its general comments No. 11 (1999) on plans of action for primary education and 13 (1999) on the right to education, the Committee calls upon the State party to take effective measures to ensure that all children, including migrant children and ethnic minority children, have access to free compulsory primary education. The Committee also calls upon the State party to undertake effective reforms in the current education financing policies so as to allocate sufficient funds to support the provision of free and compulsory nine-year education to all children on national, state and local levels; and to eliminate all school-related fees so as to make compulsory primary education truly free for all children. The Committee further urges the State party to increase public expenditure on education in general, and to take deliberate and targeted measures towards the progressive realization of the right to education for the disadvantaged and marginalized groups throughout the country. (Paragraph 66)
Last reported: 7 & 10 August 2009
Concluding Observations published: 15 September 2009
Education: The Committee has taken note of the policy of bilingual education for ethnic minorities of the State party, including the range of bilingual teaching models. It is however concerned at reports that in practice Mandarin is the sole language of instruction in many schools in the autonomous minority provinces, especially at secondary and higher levels of education. While noting with appreciation the increase in school enrolment rates in minority regions and the various measures adopted to enable access to education for members of ethnic minorities, it reiterates its concern (A/56/18, para. 245) about remaining disparities for ethnic minority children in accessing education, which is often linked to the availability of teaching in Mandarin only. (art. 5 (e)).
The Committee recommends the State party to intensify its efforts to ensure the implementation of legislation and policies on bilingual education at all levels of education, taking into account the relevant recommendations of the Forum on Minority Issues of 15 and 16 December 2008 (A/HRC/10/11/Add.1). It also recommends that the State party ensure that special measures adopted to promote access to education for children of ethnic minorities, such as scholarships or lower entry qualification, are available in practice. It also requests the State party to provide detailed information, including disaggregated statistics on enrolment in primary, secondary and higher education of members of ethnic minorities, in its next periodic report. In this regard, the Committee also draws the attention of the State party to the Universal Periodic Review procedure and in particular recommendation 16, which enjoyed the support of the State party (A/HRC/11/25). (Paragraph 22)
Adopted by the Committee: 23 October 2014
Published by the Committee: 7 November 2014
The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime in 2009 (para.6).
The Committee recalls its previous concluding observations (CEDAW/C/CHN/CO/6, para. 17) and remains concerned at the persistence of deep-rooted stereotypes regarding the roles and responsibilities of women and men in the family and society, as reflected in the tradition of son-preference, resulting in the adverse sex-ratio by means of illegal sex-selective abortion as well as illegal practices of forced abortion and sterilisation and infanticide of girls (para.24).
The Committee reiterates its previous recommendation (CEDAW/C/CHN/CO/6, para. 18) and urges the State party to: Intensify the efforts of the NWCCW and other stakeholders to change the social norms that reinforce traditional roles of women and men, and to reinforce positive cultural traditions and practices that promote the human rights of women and girls; Intensify the implementation of existing legal measures to address sex-selective abortions, forced abortions, sterilisations and infanticide of girls (para.25).
The Committee is also concerned at the limited access to education of women and girls with intellectual disabilities and ethnic and religious minority women and girls such as Tibetan and Uighur women and girls. The Committee is further concerned at the limited access to education by girls and their drop-out rate from school when their parents migrate to urban areas (the so-called “ left behind” children) (para.34).
The Committee recommends that the State party: Provide education to women and girls on an equal basis with men and boys, including by ensuring that entrance-exam scores do not disadvantage women and girls in the State party; Ensure access to education by ethnic and religious minority women and girls, with increase of financial and other resources, in particular Tibetan, Uighur, and the so called “left-behind” girls, by increasing the provision of necessary services including mother-tongue education targeting non-Chinese speaking students; and remove all obstacles on access to education for women and girls with disabilities, particularly those with intellectual disabilities (para.35).
The Committee remains concerned that these illegal practices persist in the State party and that infanticide of girl child, particularly girls with disabilities, have not been completely eradicated (para.38).
The Committee reiterates its previous recommendation (CEDAW/C/CHN/CO/6, para. 32) and urges the State party to: Intensify efforts, including in law enforcement, and improve awareness-raising with a view to eliminating persistent the tradition of son-preference which often results in non-medical foetal sex identification, sex-selective abortion, forced abortion and sterilisation and infanticide of the girl child; Consider removing sanctions on women who violate the one-child policy and eliminate all barriers for the registration of their children; Thoroughly investigate incidents of infanticide and punish perpetrators adequately (para.39).
The Committee is, however, concerned that the Hong Kong SAR has not yet produced any proposals concerning sexual offences against children and persons with intellectual disabilities to adopt the reform proposals made by the Law Reform Commission (para.54).
The Committee urges the State party to expedite the consideration of the reform proposals made by the Law Reform Commission and to adopt a clear and specific timeframe within which to revise legislation on sexual offences, including against children and persons with intellectual disabilities, as well as the definition of rape so that it is in line with international standards include penile penetration (para.55).
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region:
The Committee is concerned at reports that women and girls with disabilities, particularly those with intellectual disabilities, have limited access to education (para.60).
The Committee urges Hong Kong SAR to remove all obstacles on access to education for women and girls with disabilities, particularly those with intellectual disabilities, and to ensure the effective participation of women and girls with disabilities in education (para.61).
The Committee is concerned that the minimum marriage age in Hong Kong SAR remains at 16, which is in violation of international norms including the Convention of Rights of Child and the CEDAW Convention read in conjunction with the Committee’s General Recommendation No. 21 (para.66). The Committee calls upon the Hong Kong SAR to expedite the adoption of a law to raise the minimum marriage age to 18 years old (para.67).
Last reported: 10 August 2006
Concluding Observations issued: 25 August 2006
Juvenile justice: While welcoming the establishment of special courts and tribunals for the protection of the rights of women and children, the Committee notes with concern that in the absence of provisions for effective legal remedies, women's access to justice in cases of discrimination may remain limited, in particular in rural areas. The Committee also notes that the Convention does not appear to have ever been invoked in a court of law.
The Committee encourages the State party to ensure that the Convention, the Committee's general recommendations and related domestic legislation are made an integral part of the legal education and training of judicial officers, including judges, lawyers and prosecutors, and to ensure that, in particular, judges and officers of the special courts and tribunals are familiar with the Convention and the State party's obligations thereunder. It also calls upon the State party to enhance availability of effective legal remedies and implement further awareness-raising and sensitization measures about such legal remedies against discrimination so that women can avail themselves of them. It encourages the State party to monitor the results of such efforts and to include in its next periodic report detailed statistics on the use by women of the legal system to obtain redress for discrimination in all fields covered by the Convention, and trends over time. (Paragraphs 11 and 12).
Right to life: The Committee expresses concern at the persistence of deep-rooted stereotypes regarding the roles and responsibilities of women and men in the family and society, reflected in concerns such as son-preference, which lead to high adverse sex-ratio and illegal sex-selective abortion. The Committee is concerned that these prevailing attitudes continue to devalue women and violate their human rights. (Paragraph 17).
The Committee calls upon the State party to put in place a comprehensive approach to overcoming traditional stereotypes regarding the role of women and men in society, in accordance with articles 2 (f) and 5 (a) of the Convention. Such an approach should include legal, policy and awareness-raising measures, involve public officials and civil society and target the entire population, in particular men and boys. It should include the use of different media, including radio, television and print, and encompass both specialized and general programmes. The Committee calls upon the State party to evaluate the gender sensitivity of the curriculum and textbook reform it has undertaken since 2000 and to further ensure that it explicitly addresses the principle of equality between women and men. (Paragraphs 17 and 18)
Trafficking: While recognizing the efforts made by the State party to address trafficking in women and girls, including cross-border and international cooperation, the Committee is concerned that the definition of trafficking in the Penal Code is limited to the purpose of exploitation of prostitution and is therefore not in line with international standards. The Committee also expresses concern that the continued criminalization of prostitution has a disproportionate impact on prostitutes rather than on the prosecution and punishment of pimps and traffickers. It is also concerned that prostitutes may be kept in administrative detention without due process of law. Moreover, the Committee is concerned about the insufficient data and statistical information about the extent of trafficking, in particular internal trafficking.
The Committee recommends that the State party increase its efforts to combat all forms of trafficking in women and girls. It urges the State party to bring its domestic legislation into line with international standards and to speedily complete, adopt and implement the draft national programme of action against human trafficking. It requests the State party to enhance enforcement of the law against trafficking to ensure that those who traffic and sexually exploit women and girls are prosecuted and punished, and to provide all necessary assistance to the victims of trafficking. The Committee also urges the State party to take measures aimed at the rehabilitation and reintegration of women in prostitution into society, to enhance other livelihood opportunities for women to leave prostitution, provide support for them to do so and to prevent any detention of women without due legal process. It calls upon the State party to systematically compile detailed data on cross-border and internal trafficking, reflecting the age and ethnic background of the victims. The Committee requests the State party to provide in its next report comprehensive information and data on the trafficking of women and girls as well as on the impact of measures taken and results achieved in this regard. (Paragraphs 19 and 20)
Violence: The Committee urges the State party to adopt a comprehensive law on violence against women and to ensure that all forms of violence against women and girls, both in the public and private spheres, constitute a crime punishable under criminal law.
It calls upon the State party to provide immediate means of redress and protection to women and girls victims of violence, in accordance with the Committee's general recommendation 19. It also encourages the State party to enhance victims' access to justice and redress, for example, through training aimed at judicial officers, including judges, lawyers and prosecutors, in order to enhance their capacity to deal with violence against women in a gender-sensitive manner and ensure that claims are investigated expeditiously, including incidents of violence against women in detention centres. It also calls upon the State party to strengthen its system of data collection in regard to all forms of violence against women and to include such information in its next report. (Paragraphs 21 and 22).
Abortion: While noting that legal measures prohibiting sex-selective abortions and female infanticide and other measures are in place, such as the nationwide campaign, "Operation Caring for Girls", launched in 2006 and a system of incentives, the Committee remains concerned at the persistence of illegal practices of sex-selective abortion, female infanticide and the non-registration and abandonment of female children, and about forced abortions. The Committee is concerned about the impact of the adverse sex ratio, which may contribute to the increase in trafficking in women and girls.
The Committee urges the State party to strengthen its monitoring of the implementation of existing laws against selective abortion and female infanticide and to enforce them through fair legal procedures that sanction officials acting in excess of their authority. It also urges the State party to investigate and prosecute the reports of abuse and violence against ethnic minority women by local family planning officials, including forced sterilization and forced abortion. The Committee recommends that the State party introduce mandatory gender-sensitivity training for family planning officials. It encourages the State party to continue to strengthen efforts to ensure that all girls are registered at birth, in particular in rural areas. It further recommends that the State party vigorously address the causes of son-preference, which remain strong in rural areas, and of the negative consequences of the one-child policy as regards the adverse sex ratio by expanding insurance systems and old-age pensions to the population at large, in particular in rural areas. (Paragraphs 31 and 32)
The Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macao have reported to the Committee Against Torture.
Last reported: 17 and 18 November 2015
Concluding Observations issued: 3 December 2015
No mention of children’s rights.
Last reported: 17 and 18 November 2015
Concluding Observations issued: 3 December 2015
Transgender and intersex persons: While welcoming the set-up of the Inter-departmental Working Group on Gender Recognition (see para 5 (e)), the Committee is concerned about reports that transgender persons are required to have completed sex-reassignment surgery, which includes the removal of reproductive organs, sterilisation and genital reconstruction, in order to obtain legal recognition of their gender identity. The Committee is also concerned that intersex children are subjected to unnecessary and irreversible surgery to determine their sex at an early stage. Furthermore, the Committee is concerned at the long term physical and psychological suffering caused by such practices (arts. 10, 12, 14 and 16). (para 28)
HKSAR should: [...] (b) Guarantee impartial counselling services for all intersex children and their parents, so as to inform them of the consequences of unnecessary and non-urgent surgery and other medical treatment to decide on the sex of the child and the possibility of postponing any decision on such treatment or surgery until the persons concerned can decide by themselves; (c) Guarantee that full, free and informed consent is ensured in connection with medical and surgical treatments for intersex persons and that non-urgent, irreversible medical interventions are postponed until a child is sufficiently mature to participate in decision-making and give full, free and informed consent. [...] (para 29)
Last reported: 17 and 18 November 2015
Concluding Observations issued: 3 December 2015
Trafficking: While welcoming the various measures taken for combating human trafficking (paras. 4 and 6 (d) and (e)), the Committee is concerned at the very low number of prosecutions and convictions of offenders of trafficking and at the few cases of forced labour registered, in spite of the large number of complaints. The Committee also regrets the lack of a specific programme to address the problem of child sex tourism, despite the fact that more than half of the victims identified during the period under review were under 18 years of age. The Committee is further concerned that the legal alternative to grant residence on humanitarian grounds to foreign victims of trafficking has never been applied, and regrets the lack of information on the existence of a referral system to the asylum procedure for victims who may need international protection (arts. 2, 12, 13, 14 and 16). (para 12)
Macao SAR should: (a)Enforce the legislative framework and promptly, thoroughly, effectively and impartially investigate, prosecute and, on conviction, punish trafficking offenders, particularly of forced labour, with appropriate penalties; (b) Continue to provide specialized training to the police, prosecutors and judges on the effective investigation, prosecution and punishment of acts of trafficking, and to immigration officers and social workers on the identification of victims of trafficking, especially child victims; (c) Strengthen the trafficking awareness-raising measures and adopt a specific programme to combat child sex tourism, as recommended by the Committee on the Rights of the Child; (d) Establish appropriate mechanisms aimed at early identification and referral to the refugee status determination procedure of victims of trafficking, particularly those that face retribution in their country of origin. (para 13)
Last reported: 7 and 10 November 2008
Concluding Observations published: 21 November 2008
Corporal punishment: The Committee appreciates the promulgation of the following new regulations:
(d) The prohibition of corporal punishment of children in schools and judicial processes. (Paragraph 5).
Has not yet signed or ratified.
Positive aspects: The Committee welcomes the efforts made by the State party to implement the rights enshrined in the Convention for children with disabilities by upholding the principle of “children first” through the Programme for the Development of Chinese Children (2001–2010) and the prohibition of discrimination against children with disabilities in the Law on the Protection of Minors. (Paragraph 7)
Children with disabilities: The Committee fears that children with disabilities in the State party are at a high risk of abandonment by their parents and are often placed in isolated institutions. For those children with disabilities living at home in rural areas, the Committee is concerned at the lack of community-based services and assistance.
The Committee urges the State party to take measures to fight the widespread stigma in relation to boys and girls with disabilities and revise their strict family planning policy, so as to combat the root causes for the abandonment of boys and girls with disabilities. It asks the State party to provide sufficient community-based services and assistance also in rural areas. (Paragraphs 13 and 14)
Killing of children with intellectual disabilities: The Committee expresses its utmost concern about the abduction of persons with intellectual disabilities, most of them children, and the staging of “mining accidents” in Hebei, Fujian, Liaoning and Sichuan, resulting in the victim’s death in order to claim compensation from the mine owners.
The Committee strongly urges the State party to continue investigating these incidents and prosecute all those responsible, and impose appropriate sanctions. It also asks the State party to implement comprehensive measures to prevent further abductions of boys with intellectual disabilities and provide remedies to the victims. (Paragraphs 19 and 20)
Barriers to access to education for children with disabilities: The Committee is concerned about the high number of special schools and the State party’s policy of actively developing these schools. The Committee is especially worried that in practice only students with certain kinds of impairments (physical disabilities or mild visual disabilities) are able to attend mainstream education, while all other children with disabilities are forced to either enrol in a special school or drop out altogether.
The Committee wishes to remind the State party that the concept of inclusion is one of the key notions of the Convention and should be especially adhered to in the field of education. In this regard, the Committee recommends that the State party reallocate resources from the special education system to promote the inclusive education in mainstream schools, so as to ensure that more children with disabilities can attend mainstream education. (Paragraphs 35 and 36)
Has not yet signed or ratified.