CUBA: Children's Rights in UN Treaty Body Reports

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:

Please note that the language may have been edited in places for the purposes of clarity.


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UN Human Rights Committee


UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights


UN Committee against Torture

Last reported: 22 / 23 May 2012
Concluding Observations issued: 25 June 2012

Issues raised:

Education and asylum seekers: The Committee is concerned about the lack of an appropriate legal framework for the protection of refugees, asylum seekers, and stateless persons. While noting the information provided by the State party to the effect that persons identified as refugees by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees are permitted to remain in the country while their resettlement is arranged, the Committee is concerned that this de facto temporary protection does not include recognition of refugee status on the part of the Cuban authorities. It also notes with concern that, although refugees and asylum seekers have access to free health services and education, they are unable to obtain a work permit and have no access to housing and other public services. The Committee is concerned that, since there is no prospect of local integration, resettlement in a third country is the only permanent solution possible for refugees inCuba. The State party should also ensure that all cases of forced deportation are carried out in a manner consistent with the provisions of the Convention. The Committee expresses its concern about the lack of information provided on the circumstances in which the repatriation of illegal Haitian immigrants takes place. It also regrets the lack of information about any existing migration management mechanisms that facilitate the identification of persons requiring international protection (arts. 2, 3, 11 and 16). Para 9.

The Committee recommends that the State party should:

(a)     Adopt the legislative measures necessary to ensure the protection of refugees, asylum seekers, and stateless persons. To this end, it urges the State party to consider ratifying the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees, as well as the Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness;

(b)     Establish mechanisms for the identification and referral of refugees and other persons who have specific requirements in the context of mixed migration flows, so that their protection needs can be met;

(c)      Facilitate the process of local integration of refugees in Cuban territory, working in association with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees;

(d)     Amend the current legislation governing migration (Act No. 1312 on Migration and Act No. 1313 on the Status of Foreigners, both of 1976).



Last reported: 17, 18 and 19 November 1997
Concluding Observations adopted: 21 November 1997

No mention of children's rights in this report.


UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women

Last reported: 9 July 2013
Concluding Observations issued: 25 July 2013


Issues raised:

Stereotypes: While noting the State party’s efforts to combat patriarchal attitudes and deep-rooted stereotypes regarding the roles and responsibilities of women and men in all spheres of life, the Committee is concerned at the lack of information on the outcome of these efforts, and the fact that such customs and practices perpetuate discrimination against women and girls resulting in women’s disadvantaged and unequal status in many areas as well as the persistence of violence against women. It is also concerned that, to date, the State party has not taken effective measures to modify or eliminate stereotypes. (Paragraph 22).

23. The Committee urges the State party to:

(a)     Adopt, without delay, a comprehensive strategy to modify or eliminate patriarchal attitudes and stereotypes that discriminate against women. Such measures should include efforts, at all levels, in collaboration with civil society, to educate and raise awareness on existing sex-based stereotypes that operate at all levels of society;

(b)     Expand public education programmes on the negative impact of such stereotypes on women’s enjoyment of their rights, in particular for rural women and for women of African descent;

(c)      Use innovative measures that target the media to strengthen understanding of the concept of equality of women and men and ensure that curricula and teaching materials promote a positive and non-stereotypical portrayal of women and men; and

(d)     Monitor and review all the measures taken to assess their impact.


Violence: The Committee is concerned at the persistence of violence against women, including domestic violence, in the State party, which remains underreported due to the prevalence of discriminatory social and cultural norms and the denial by the State party of the existence of different types of violence. The Committee is also concerned at the absence of specific legislation on violence against women criminalizing all its forms, as well as of an effective complaint mechanism. It is also concerned that existing legislation does not contain a specific definition of domestic violence as a criminal offence which covers both psychological and physical violence. The Committee is further concerned at the lack of information, studies and statistical data on the nature, forms, extent and causes of violence against women, as well as at the lack of shelters for women victims of violence. (Paragraph 24).

25. The Committee urges the State party to give priority attention to combating violence against women and girls and adopt comprehensive measures to address such violence, in accordance with its General Recommendation No.19 (1992), including by:

(a)     Elaborating and adopting a comprehensive law on violence against women, which recognizes that such violence is a form of discrimination against women and therefore constitutes a violation of their rights under the Convention, and ensure that its legislation criminalizes all forms of violence against women;

(b)     Developing a national strategic action plan for the prevention of all forms of violence against women, protection of victims and punishment of perpetrators and ensure its full implementation;

(c)      Raising public awareness, through the media and educational programmes, and providing mandatory training for judges, prosecutors, police officers, health-service providers, journalists and teaching staff in order to ensure that they are sensitized to all forms of violence against women and girls and can provide adequate gender-sensitive support to victims;

(d)     Providing free legal aid, adequate assistance and protection to women victims of violence by establishing shelters, especially in rural areas, and enhancing cooperation with non-governmental organizations; and

(e)      Collecting statistical data on all forms of violence against women, including domestic violence disaggregated by sex, age, ethnicity/minority status and relationship between the victim and perpetrator, and undertaking studies and/or surveys on the extent and root causes of violence against women.


Trafficking: The Committee is deeply concerned that the State party does not acknowledge the existence of exploitation of prostitution. The Committee is further concerned at the lack of statistical data, disaggregated by sex and geographic area, on trafficking and exploitation of prostitution in the State party. The Committee is also concerned about the lack of efforts to prevent the exploitation of prostitution and to address its root causes, and the lack of protection and services available to victims of such exploitation. (Paragraph 26).

27. The Committee calls upon the State party to fully implement article 6 of the Convention and:

(a)     Conduct studies and surveys on the prevalence of exploitation of prostitution and include in its next report updated information and data on the prevalence of this phenomenon and trafficking in women and girls;

(b)     Increase efforts aimed at international, regional and bilateral cooperation to prevent trafficking through information exchange by harmonizing legal procedures to prosecute traffickers; and

(c)      Address the root causes of trafficking and prostitution, without stigmatization in order to address the vulnerability of girls and women to sexual exploitation and trafficking, and to ensure the rehabilitation and social integration of victims, including by providing them with shelter and assistance.

Education: The Committee notes with satisfaction the achievements of the State party in the area of women’s and girls’ education. It is, however, concerned at the lack of data, disaggregated by sex, ethnicity and disability on enrolment at all levels, in particular in higher education, drop-out rates and fields of education. While noting the feminization of the teaching profession, the Committee is concerned at the overrepresentation of women in the lower echelons of education and that only 7% of University rectors are women. While noting the availability of awareness-raising campaigns and sex education in school curricula, the Committee is deeply concerned about teenage pregnancies, and the apparent lack of effective measures to handle these situations. (Paragraph 30).

31. The Committee recommends that the State party:

(a)     Take immediate steps to implement measures to ensure equal access for girls and women to secondary and tertiary levels of education in all regions, including for minorities and disadvantaged groups, through, inter alia, temporary special measures, in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention and the Committee’s General Recommendation No. 25 (2004);

(b)     Adopt effective proactive measures to encourage more women to apply for high-ranking posts within the education sector and use temporary special measures to nominate more female rectors;

(c)      Include comprehensive, innovative, more effective and age appropriate programmes on sexual and reproductive health and rights as a regular part of the school curricula, targeting adolescent girls and boys, including in vocational training schools, with the aim of fostering responsible sexual behaviour and the prevention of teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS; and

(d)     Provide gender training to teachers at all levels of the education system and remove sex-based stereotypes from teaching programmes and textbooks.


Health: The Committee commends the State party for its developed health care system, with universal and free coverage for the population. However, the Committee is concerned at the lack of high quality methods of contraception and at the high rate of abortion, especially among girls as young as 12 years old. While noting the implementation of the National Sex Education and Sexual Health Programme (proNess), the Committee is concerned at the lack of information on access to health for disadvantaged groups of women, in particular, women of African descent, elderly women, women with disabilities and rural women. (Paragraph 34).

35. The Committee calls upon the State party to:

a)       Increase access, as well as use of effective and  high quality methods of contraception towards reducing the practice of abortion as a method of family planning; and

b)       Improve the quality of sexual and reproductive health services and guarantee their access to disadvantaged groups of women, and provide training and awareness-raising on sexual and reproductive health rights to health care personnel.


Early marriage: The Committee is concerned that the adoption of the draft Family Code has been postponed and included in the 2013 – 2017 Legislative Plan. The Committee is also concerned that although the minimum legal age of marriage is set for 18 years old, a special authorization, not necessarily by a court, may be obtained for girls at 14 and boys of 16 years old. (Paragraph 38).

39. The Committee recommends the State party to:

 (a)    Put in place the necessary measures to prioritize the adoption of the draft Family code; and

 (b)    Ensure that in exceptional cases of marriage below the age of 18 the same age limit is set for girls and boys at 16 years old, and that court authorization is required in all cases.


Last reported: 8 August 2006
Concluding Observations published: 25 August 2006


Discrimination. The Committee expresses concern that despite the minimum legal age of marriage being 18 years for both girls and boys, in exceptional cases the minimum age of marriage can be authorised at 14 for girls and 16 for boys. The Committee urges the State party to amend the legislation pertaining to age of marriage with a view to eliminating the exceptions that allow for marriage of females at age 14 and for males at 16. (Paras 13, 14)


UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination


Last reported: 16-17 February 2011
Concluding Observations adopted: 3 March 2011

Unofficial translation from Spanish by CRIN

Trafficking: The Committee takes note of information provided by the delegation about measures adopted by the State Party to combat human trafficking, in particular of women and children, with the purpose of sexual exploitation. However, it regrets the lack of information on the extent of internal trafficking and the incidence of this phenomenon among the Afro-descendent population (art. 5 b). The Committee requests the State party to provide detailed information, disaggregated by sex, age, ethnic group and nationality of the victims, the number of investigations, and sentences imposed in cases of human trafficking with the purpose of labour or sexual exploitation. (paragraph 16).


UN Committee on Migrant Workers


UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities


UN Committee on Enforced Disappearance


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