PORTUGAL: Children's Rights References in the Universal Periodic Review

A compilation of extracts featuring child-rights issues from the reports submitted to the second Universal Periodic Review. There are extracts from the 'National report', the 'Compilation of UN information' and the 'Summary of stakeholder information'. Also included is the final report and the list of accepted and rejected recommendations.


Portugal - Nineteenth session - 2014

      30th April - 9am - 12.30pm


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National Report
Compilation of UN information
Stakeholder Information
Accepted and rejected recommendations


National Report

II. Main developments since the previous review

7. A number of comprehensive human rights policy instruments have been approved: [...] the 2nd and 3rd National Plans against Trafficking in Human Beings (2011–2013 and 2014– 2017) (and) the 2nd Mutilation and 3rd Programme of Action for the Elimination of Female Genital (2011–2013 and 2014–2017).

III. Promotion and protection of human rights on the ground and follow up to previous review -

A. Ratification of international instruments (recommendations 101.1–4)

10. Portugal also became a Party to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure (OPCRC-communications).

11. Within the Council of Europe framework, Portugal ratified the Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, the Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence and the European Convention on the Exercise of Children's Rights.

B. Racism, racial discrimination, integration of migrants and marginalised groups -

Human rights education and training and awareness-raising, with a view to combating racism and discrimination and promoting the integration of migrants and marginalised (recommendations 101.6–7, 102.10)

15. [...] Several activities have been undertaken to stimulate integration through sports, namely the promotion of korfball (only team sport that requires gender balance), [...] (and) the organisation of a flash mob with children from Programme Escolhas/Choices (see below) [...].

Promote and protect the rights of persons belonging to minorities and counter the discrimination and social exclusion faced by Roma communities, namely in such areas as housing, education, employment and health care (recommendations 101.11–13, 36– 39, 103.14–15, 103.16–17)

25. Roma communities benefit from many of the measures in place for the general population. [...] The police developed a Project on Investigation and Support to Specific Victims (IAVE) aimed at catering for the special needs of vulnerable victims, including ethnic minorities, women, children, the elderly and persons with disabilities.

Prevent and punish discrimination against, facilitate assistance to, and promote the integration of immigrants, asylum-seekers and the Roma (recommendations 101.41– 43, 102.11, 102.21)

26. [...] Training on combating racial discrimination has been provided to entities such as NGOs, migrant associations, schools and universities.

28. Immigration authorities run programmes to support, inter alia, sick persons, the elderly and children, including migrant children in irregular situations. Furthermore, Programme Escolhas/Choices, aimed at promoting the social integration of 6–24 year-olds from disadvantaged social backgrounds, many of which are of migrant or Roma descent, is now in its 5th edition (2013–2015), and 110 projects will be funded there under. The subject “Portuguese Non-Mother Tongue” was introduced as a new curricular area in basic and secondary education, and a large number of training activities have taken place in this context.

C. Gender equality and combating violence against women -

Prevent, combat, prosecute and punish violence against women, including domestic violence, and to protect victims (recommendations 101.15–18, 102.12–14, 103.5–6)

33. [...] Public prosecution is developing integrated responses to accelerate the investigation of crimes of domestic violence and adequately protect victims, including women, children and the elderly.

34. Prevention efforts include measures to reduce social acceptance of domestic and gender-based violence, promote equality, eliminate gender stereotypes and empower women and girls.

36. The protection of victims is also pursued through such means as: establishment of individual security plans in high-risk situations; enhanced coordination between civil and criminal courts in divorce, child custody cases or domestic violence cases; [...] dissemination of pilot projects in the areas of mutual support groups and health (e.g. specialised multidisciplinary teams for adults and children in health units, and preparation of a best practice guide on violence throughout the life cycle); creation of a 24-hour transportation service for victims and their children; [...] Victims’ children are given priority access to child support services and specific intervention strategies have been developed for particularly vulnerable victims such as elderly persons, migrants, persons with disabilities and LGBT persons.

40. The 2nd Programme of Action for the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) adopted in February 2011 promotes the involvement of new partners in the fight against this scourge. [...] Screening of violence and abuse, including FGM, has been included as one of the assessment parameters of child health examinations, pursuant to the new National Health Programme for Children and Youth, which entered into force in June 2013. A study on the prevalence of FGM in Portugal will be carried out in 2014. CIG, the Ministry of Health and the National Commission for the Protection of Children and Youth at Risk signed a protocol which will enable the identification and registration of child protection interventions at national level. Throughout 2013, a post- graduation course on FGM for health workers working in risk areas was lectured and Guidelines on FGM for health professionals and a Procedural Guide for Criminal Police Staff were published.

Encourage reporting of marital violence, including educational measures from early childhood (recommendations 101.20–21)

41. A nationwide prevention and victim protection strategy was implemented in the last decade, in partnership with civil society. This strategy included annual information campaigns: in 2010, the focus was on encouraging reporting of domestic violence; in 2011 on marital homicides; and in 2012 on vicarious victimisation. Measures adopted by law enforcement agencies, namely within community policing strategies, include an increase in the number of agents in victim-support teams, the creation and improvement of dedicated facilities for victims in police stations, and activities undertaken within the “Safe School” programme. Initiatives specifically targeted at children and youngsters include the introduction in school curricula, from the earliest grades, of contents relating to gender equality, domestic and gender-based violence.

D. Children -

Ensure the right of the child to non-discrimination, in particular for children and families living in poverty and belonging to minority groups, including the Roma (recommendation 101.14)

47. Projects are being implemented to provide alternative curricula, find new solutions for children of itinerant and migrant families, and enhance the benefits of intercultural living (e.g. through the organisation of holiday camps, project exchanges, parental training activities, school and family mediation and thematic meetings). Programme Escolhas/Choices plays an important role in this regard. A database was created to monitor the educational progress of children who attend multiple schools throughout the year. The Integrated Programme for Education and Training (PIEF), whose purpose is to promote social inclusion of children and youngsters by creating integrated responses to combat school dropout, must also be mentioned for its important achievements.

48. Access to education is guaranteed for all children, including migrant children in irregular situation. A special early childhood education programme has been created for 3 to 5 year-olds living in remote rural areas, whereby educators regularly visit these children and develop activities in accordance with the same curricular guidelines applicable to kindergartens. Holiday camps are organised across the country for children in socially disadvantaged situations.

49. Access to healthcare is also guaranteed for all children, including migrant children in irregular situation. Pregnant and puerperal women, children up to 12 years, persons with disabilities and persons in situation of proven economic failure, as well as dependents of their household, are exempt from paying NHS user fees.

Establish mechanisms to disseminate information about the consequences of violence against children (recommendation 101.24)

50. Measures in this regard include the publication of five on-line handbooks with specific guidelines for social welfare, education, health, police and media professionals dealing with child victims or at risk. A handbook for professionals dealing with domestic violence was published (a partnership between public services and NGOs) and online training courses on child abuse and neglect were launched. Since 2008, annual campaigns on the prevention of child abuse were put in place and was established a national project aimed at implementing local prevention plans with the involvement of public and private entities.

51. Several public bodies and NGOs develop activities to protect children from violence and prevent risk situations. An initiative aimed at promoting safe use of internet by the school community, in particular by pupils, has been launched, comprising training activities, a handbook and a website. Magistrates have been receiving specific training on such areas as trafficking in persons, smuggling of migrants, cybercrime, parental responsibilities, family law and protection of children at risk, and protocols are being signed at the local level to enhance coordination between judicial, police, health and child protection authorities and improve the protection of children within the investigation of crimes of sexual abuse, domestic violence and ill treatment (e.g. by reducing the number of interviews of child victims, ensuring prompt medical examinations and avoiding repetition of exams). A Guide for Law Enforcement Officials on the approach to abuse and other dangerous situations was prepared. Police forces participate in awareness-raising activities in schools, as well as in social media, and support local child protection commissions.

52. The Ombudsman, which has a specific Department on Children, Elderly Persons and Persons with Disabilities, runs a toll-free telephone hotline to receive complaints from children who may be at risk, referring them to competent administrative or police authorities.

53. A number of measures were adopted in the health sector, including a revised National Health Programme for Children and Youth which prioritises the identification of, and support to, children at risk, with particular emphasis on child development, disturbed behaviour and abuse. A National Programme for the Prevention of Accidents 2010-2016 was also launched. Mental health has been in focus, with the publication of guidelines on its promotion during pregnancy and early childhood, and the creation of a Hospital Referral Network for Mental Health Care of Children and Adolescents.

54. Measures to combat trafficking in persons and protect victims place a particular emphasis on child victims. For instance, a chapter on children has been included in the annual statistical report of the Observatory on Trafficking in Human Beings (OTHB). The OTHB also organised a conference on beggary and other forms of exploitation associated with children, and undertook awareness-raising initiatives on trafficking in women and children and sexual exploitation, via the Internet, radio and TV. Portuguese authorities are participating in the EU Catch & Sustain project, aimed at establishing a platform to prevent trafficking in children and to reintegrate victims.

Prevent and punish child prostitution, paedophilia and child pornography (recommendation 101.27)

55. Sex crimes against children have a specific criminal framework and are considered crimes of priority prevention and investigation. Statutes of limitation for these crimes do not apply until the victim turns 23 years old. Adequate premises for the examination of such victims are being created in police stations. Early-warning procedures have been put in place for disappearances of children under 14. Portuguese legislation has been amended to require the exhibition of one’s criminal record by any person applying for a paid or unpaid job or activity involving regular contacts with children.

56. Sex crimes against children and the protection of victims are addressed, inter alia, in the initial and ongoing training of public prosecutors and police officials, for instance within sessions on family law and children. Police authorities play an important role in combating such crimes and protecting victims, especially as members of plenary local protection commissions. The Police is also engaged in awareness-raising and prevention activities at the local level and intervenes in emergency situations, in particular in the context of addiction, begging, procurement of prostitution, trafficking in human beings and risk behaviour.

57. In August 2012, Portugal ratified the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse.

Develop a comprehensive national strategy on the implementation of the CRC (recommendation 102.4)

58. The Initiative for Childhood and Adolescence 2009-2010 (INIA) was a national mechanism which covered the full range of children's rights in an integrated way, providing technical support with the participation of all concerned actors, including all ministries, key departments and organisations with competence on childhood and adolescence. INIA was developed during a challenging period of financial crisis.

59. Many of the measures and principles included in INIA are still priorities and reflected in the current policies/ public initiatives such as the Social Emergency Programme, with a set of measures to support children and families, and the creation of a very close partnership with social institutions which play a key role in times of crisis.

60. In May 2012, a working group on a Child Agenda was established, with the view to examine issues relating to the definition and promotion of the best interest of the child. Following their recommendations, two commissions were established in January 2014 to discuss revision of the child’s protection system and the legal regime of adoption.

Study, prevent and eliminate the street children phenomenon, and to protect children, including from vulnerable populations, against child labour and other risks and to ensure their full enjoyment of all human rights (recommendation 102.5, 103.2, and 103.13)

61. A comprehensive policy to address the causes of street children was implemented, including by assisting families and addressing concerns related to adequate housing and access to education and healthcare. Project Rua, run in partnership with the NGO Instituto de Apoio à Criança, seeks to reach, support and reintegrate children, their families and communities, with a particular focus on situations of drug abuse and child prostitution. Measures are also in place to address situations of missing children, especially since the establishment of the European hotline number for this purpose in 2008. The phenomenon of street children has been gradually decreasing and is presently limited to a few cases, mainly in Lisbon, Porto and Setúbal.

62. Child labour has been in decline over the last decade, from 233 cases detected in 1999 (mostly in the building and retail sectors) to one in 2013. This evolution was possible due to the creation of specific Programmes over the last years, most recently the Integrated Programme for Education and Training (PIEF), with one of its top priorities being children at risk of child labour or children at risk of leaving school. Measures to support families, including the Social Insertion Income, as well as to diversify and adapt school curricula to the needs of different students (see above) are also relevant in this regard.

Protect the human rights of detainees’ children (recommendation 102.19)

63. Efforts are underway to provide juvenile detention centres with adequate conditions for young pregnant women and those who give birth while in detention, including the elaboration of a procedural guide for centres with female residential units. Pregnant prisoners can give birth in health units outside Prison Establishments. Children can now stay with their parents until they turn 5 years old (previously, the rule was 3 years old) and staying with the father is now possible provided that the Prison Establishment meets the necessary requirements.

F. Persons with disabilities -

Improve access to education of children with disabilities (recommendation 101.35)

74. The National Strategy for Disability includes measures in this regard, by promoting the inclusion of children with disabilities in the regular education system, ensuring the training of specialised staff and disseminating good practices. In cases of children with developmental disorders aged 0-6, a specific system is in place providing the early intervention of health, social security and education authorities - the early intervention national system.

75. The inclusion of children with disabilities in public schooling has been promoted through as the following measures: funding of resource centres for information technologies, specialised support units, devices and relevant action plans; adaptation and distribution of books in accessible formats; deployment of therapists, interpreters, trainers, orientation and mobility experts, and pre-school educators to reference schools and early intervention teams; organisation of training and capacity-building activities in such areas as Braille language, orientation and mobility, early childhood intervention, information and communication technologies in special education and Portuguese as a secondary language in the education of deaf students; and publication of a specific guide for school principals.

H. Human rights education, information and training -

Provide human rights training to relevant professional groups (recommendation 101.22–23, 101.29, 101.32, 101.40 and 101.47)

92. Training activities include the creation of a training team on intercultural issues to support awareness-raising activities in schools; the establishment of a 30-person training team which delivers short-term training in schools, [...] including by enhancing the use of social media; the granting of awards to schools with good intercultural practices; curricular reforms in science and humanities courses to cover such topics as citizenship, health and sexuality; adoption of specific strategies on intercultural issues for, inter alia, high level public officers and educators; and creation of a post-graduation course for local staff working with migrants.

94. Magistrates have also received specific training on child protection, combating cybercrime, family law, international protection of foreigners and the jurisprudence of ECHR and UN Human Rights Committee.

95. In schools, human rights education is part of Education for Citizenship, that is crosscutting to all subject areas at all school levels (from kindergarten to secondary school) through a cross-curricular approach. On the same year, a book was published on the fundamental rights enshrined in the Portuguese Constitution.

I. The right to education and other economic, social and cultural rights

98. The Portuguese Government is strongly committed to ensuring that all children who live in the Portuguese territory enjoy the right to quality education. Several measures are in place to promote inclusive education, equality of opportunities and social integration of children and youth from fragile socio-economic backgrounds, in particular descendants of immigrants and the Roma communities.

Reduce school desertion rates (recommendation 101.34)

101. In Portugal, measures were taken to reduce early school leaving rates, in view of the national target set in this regard of 10% by 2020. Measures adopted to reach this target include Programme PIEC and Programme PIEF (see above), specifically aimed at reducing school drop-out. Other initiatives with the goal to improve basic skills and ensure completion of 12-year schooling were implemented.

102. Also important in the area of education is the implementation of projects on priority intervention in the field of education (Programme TEIP), improvement of school performance (“More Success at School”), promotion of appropriate training opportunities aimed at students who show repeated school failure or dropout risk (Alternative Curriculum Pathways - PCA), and definition of learning outcomes and alternative curricula, namely with increased focus on vocational training. Re-organisation of the school network, closer collaboration of education authorities with child protection commissions, and the enactment of SSSEA also play a role in this regard.

Take additional measures in the areas of housing, employment, education and access to social services, particularly to benefit the Roma (recommendation 103.12)

107. A strategy has been implemented in recent years to reduce inequalities in education and training and promote educational achievement. In addition to measures indicated above, others have been adopted to guarantee the universalisation of educational provision to children aged 5, as well as to certify skills obtained outside the school system, equip schools with new technologies, promote reading (by implementing a national plan in this regard and developing a school libraries network), evaluate teachers and enhance the role and autonomy of regional and local authorities, and of education institutions. Furthermore, initiatives were taken to reform education for students with special needs and promote the professional training of persons with disabilities (including by recognizing their skills and testing appropriate teaching methods).

J. Human rights machinery -

Establish a National Human Rights Institution in conformity with the Paris Principles (recommendation 102.3)

113. The Ombudsman is a National Human Rights Institution, with A-status accreditation since 1999, constitutionally and legally mandated to defend and promote citizens’ rights and freedoms.

114. The Ombudsman also provides information and advice, namely through toll-free hotlines for children, elderly persons and persons with disabilities. Specifically mandated to promote human rights education, it organises and participates in seminars and conferences (and) undertakes awareness-raising activities in schools (a protocol to this effect was signed in May 2011) [...].

V. Looking ahead

122. [...] Upholding the universality, indivisibility, inalienability and interdependence of all human rights is Portugal’s main objective. Portugal will also continue to sponsor resolutions in the field of economic, social and cultural rights, the right to education and youth.


Compilation of UN information

III. Implementation of international human rights obligations -

A. Equality and non-discrimination

16. In 2012, the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent (WGEPAD) recommended that racism and racial discrimination faced by people of African descent be tackled using a holistic approach, touching all levels of society.

18. WGEPAD recommended ensuring that the rights of children of African descent, including the rights to education, citizenship and full recognition by the State, were respected and protected in accordance with CRC.

B. Right to life, liberty and security of the person

33. While acknowledging the positive effects of certain recent legislative amendments, CAT was concerned that the law allowed solitary confinement to be imposed as a disciplinary measure for up to 30 days, including for juveniles aged between the ages of 16 and 18 and that provisional isolation of up to 30 days could be imposed, which it considered amounted to an extended informal punishment. It recommended that solitary confinement never be applied to juveniles or persons with psychosocial disabilities and made other recommendations on the application of solitary confinement.

35. The HR Committee was concerned that article 160 of the Penal Code employed an overly broad definition of trafficking that included lesser crimes, complicating the assessment of the extent of prosecution, conviction and sentencing of trafficking offenders. It was concerned that Portugal was a destination, transit and source country for women, men and children subjected to trafficking for sexual exploitation and forced labour and called on it to intensify its efforts to combat trafficking in persons.

H. Right to social security and to an adequate standard of living

53. In 2013, in its list of issues, CRC requested information on the impact of the financial crisis on children and their families living in poverty, and the measures taken to redress and mitigate the effects of the financial crisis on child poverty, especially with respect to children in need of special protection, including Roma, migrants, asylum seekers, unaccompanied children and children living in street situations.

I. Right to education

55. WGEPAD noted that children from certain immigrant groups, in particular Africans, still had lower levels of education than Portuguese pupils and were less likely to continue their education. While there were several programmes specifically directed at supporting the social inclusion of children in vulnerable social and economic contexts, particularly children of immigrants and ethnic minorities, the integration process was aimed more specifically at recently arrived immigrants, overlooking slightly those who arrived longer ago. Portugal referred to changes to laws and curricula relevant thereto.

56. UNESCO suggested that Portugal intensify its efforts to make the education system inclusive, particularly for immigrant and ethnic minorities, as well as for girls and women. It also suggested that Portugal be encouraged to strengthen its efforts to improve access to education for children and students from Roma communities.

K. Persons with disabilities

60. In its list of issues, CRC requested information on measures taken to implement inclusive education for children with disabilities, including children in specialized centres and measures to ensure their protection from ill-treatment.

M. Migrants, refugees and asylum seekers

65. CAT noted that the number of asylum applications had increased from 140 applications in 2009 to 369 applications in 2013. UNHCR noted that between 2010 and 2013 the recognition rate was 32 per cent, with a large majority obtaining subsidiary protection status. It also mentioned that the number of unaccompanied children requesting protection had increased since 2010.


Stakeholder information

A. Background and framework - 3. Institutional and human rights infrastructure and policy measures

5. In 2012, the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe (CoE- Commissioner) welcomed the fact that the Ombudsman (Provedor de Justiça) and other national human rights structures, such as the High Commission for Immigration and Intercultural Dialogue (ACIDI) and the Commission for the Protection of Children and Young People at Risk, had not been disproportionately impacted on by the financial austerity measures and invited the authorities to continue to provide adequate support to them.

9. CoE-Commissioner noted that budgetary austerity had had a significant impact on the work of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) which provide services to vulnerable social groups such as children, the elderly, Roma, migrants and disabled persons.

B. Implementation of international human rights obligations - 1. Equality and non-discrimination

17. JS1 recommended that the Ministry of Education combat homophobia and promote non-discrimination in schools, reinforcing and promoting the fight against bullying.

2. Right to life, liberty and security of the person

19. The Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) stated that one of the main concerns in the period 2009-2013 was excessive use of force by law enforcement officials and allegations of torture and other-ill-treatment. [...]It stated that a total of 15 young, black and poor people had been killed by the police in the last 10 years and no officer had been convicted.

24. CoE-CPT noted cases where juveniles had been accommodated together with adults and recommended that the authorities ensure that any juveniles detained in an establishment for adults be accommodated separately from adult prisoners.

25. CoE-Commissioner noted that the number of complaints to the Ombudsman relating to domestic violence against children did not increase in 2011 and 2012. However, it noted that the increasingly difficult socio-economic situations for families and high levels of stress and pressure can result in serious risks of domestic violence towards children. It drew attention to the need to monitor carefully the evolution of the situation.

27. JS2 mentioned Portugal’s efforts in tackling female genital mutilation (FGM) including the Second Programme of Action for the elimination of FGM (2011-2013). It noted reports that FGM had been carried out on Portuguese territory and called for the implementation of monitoring mechanisms and for studies on its prevalence.

30. APAV made a number of recommendations relating to victims of crimes of violence (including children, older persons or members of other vulnerable groups). These included: identifying and evaluating intervention protocols for health practitioners; developing guidelines aimed at achieving adequate standards of support to victims; promoting communication between the authorities to guarantee effective intervention; disseminating information to health practitioners on violence against children and elderly people (including measures on measures for the detection and prevention of such situations); ensuring that victims of serious crimes and domestic violence are exempted from charges for health services; and making more frequent use of the mechanisms foreseen in the Witness Protection Law.

31. In 2013, the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings of the Council of Europe (CoE-GRETA) mentioned that the authorities had taken important steps to prevent and combat trafficking in human beings, but noted that NGOs had not been sufficiently involved in their planning and implementation. It considered that the authorities should adjust policy to give more attention to trafficking for the purpose of labour exploitation and take greater account of male and child victims of trafficking.

33. CoE-GRETA mentioned that only one shelter providing accommodation for victims of trafficking had been set up and that this had limited capacity and was for women victims only. It urged that assistance be increased and that the services available be sufficient and appropriate to victims’ specific needs. It also called for improved assistance for child victims of trafficking.

3. Administration of justice, including impunity, and the rule of law

45. CoE-CPT referred to cases where juveniles alleged that they were interrogated without a lawyer being present. It recommended that steps be taken to ensure that juveniles are not required to make any statements or sign any documents concerning the offences of which they are suspected without benefitting from the presence of a lawyer and, in principle, a trusted adult person to assist them.

46. CoE-CPT recommended that the authorities put in place a programme of purposeful activities for all juvenile prisoners on remand and take immediate steps to amend the legal provisions to substantially reduce the period during which a juvenile can be placed in solitary confinement for disciplinary purposes.

47. APAV mentioned concerns over the re-victimization of child victims of crime and recommended creating mechanisms whereby child victims are heard only once in judicial proceedings, whenever possible, and interviews undertaken in appropriate conditions and by qualified specialists.

4. Right to family life

49. JS1 recommended reviewing the law on medically assisted procreation (MAP) to ensure that all persons can have access to MAP, including surrogacy, without threat of illegality or non-recognition of the link between the child and the parents/mothers. It called for access to MAP without discrimination and referred to the current legislation which prohibits access to MAP to single women and same-sex couples.

7. Right to social security and to an adequate standard of living

54. [...]CoE-Commissioner stated that his interlocutors had confirmed the trend of increasing child poverty. It noted that the poverty risk for families with children is higher than the population as a whole and that it increases with each additional child.

55. CoE-Commissioner noted two series of major cuts in child care benefits between 2010 and 2012 through which 67,000 children lost access to child benefits. In total the State reduced its financial support to families with children between 2010 and 2011 by 30 per cent. (European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (EU-FRA)) also noted that a decree adopted in June 2012 significantly reduced various benefits which had severe financial implications for families with children.

56. CoE-Commissioner noted that the Ombudsman had received an increasing number of complaints relating to social protection issues between 2011 and 2012: many of these concerned the introduction of stricter accessibility conditions for a number of social benefits, including child benefits. It mentioned that in December 2011 the Ombudsman called on the authorities to simplify the rules for accessing child benefits as a matter of urgency as it appeared that the new rules had unduly deprived a number of persons of access to the benefits. CoE-Commissioner urged the authorities to ensure that both austerity measures and anti-poverty policies and programmes pay specific attention to the rights of the child since children form a group that is particularly vulnerable to poverty. It called, in particular, for the State to ensure that the austerity measures do not put the progress made in the last decade in combatting child poverty at risk.

60. CoE-Commissioner drew attention to the need to ensure that members of social groups that are particularly vulnerable to, and affected by, fiscal austerity measures, such as children, the elderly and Roma, are identified and effectively protected by the State on the basis of impact assessments. It called for Portugal to establish clear criteria for prioritizing the social protection of these groups and set up a relevant comprehensive data collection system in accordance with internationally accepted standards.

8. Right to health

64. JS2 made a number of recommendations related to the provision of comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) for children in order to increase young people’s ability to make and implement decisions about their lives in relation to sexual health. These included making CSE a mandatory subject and training and teachers in the subject.

9. Right to education

66. CoE-Commissioner noted that public education had been affected by austerity measures. In 2012 the Government announced that the number of pupils per class would increase and limitations on tax exemptions for education expenses were introduced. Cuts in child benefits, which many parents used for educations costs, had a particularly negative impact on education. In addition, the tightening of the budgets of local authorities resulted in less funds being available locally to support public schools.

67. EU-FRA noted that less than one in 10 Roma children were reported to have completed upper-secondary education.

68. EU-FRA mentioned that Roma children were especially prone to segregation in education and that they may be put in special classes or schools.

69. EU-FRA noted that the go-to-school programme run by the Aliens and Borders Service encouraged migrants in an irregular situation to place their children in school.


Accepted and rejected recommendations

The following recommendations were accepted:

126. The following recommendations enjoy the support of Portugal, which considers that they are already implemented or in the process of implementation:

126.44 Continue the efforts to improve the access to education for the children and youth from Roma communities as the United Nations Economic, Scientific and Cultural Organization has also suggested (Finland);

126.56 Continue concentrating efforts for the inclusion of pupils of Roma origin in the educational system (Spain);

126.57 Step up its effort in improving access to education for children from Ciganos and Roma communities and continue to combat racial stereotypes against those communities (Thailand);

126.58 Continue and strengthen educational measures which promote a more integrated system of education that favours migrants, ethnic minorities, women and girls and the Roma community in particular (Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela);

126.60 Continue to strengthen programmes of prevention of domestic violence, especially against children and elderly persons (Chile);

127.6 Expand the human rights education campaign to law enforcement officers, especially on the rights of women, children, the elderly and minorities (Viet Nam);

127.34 Redouble its efforts with a focus on trafficking for the purpose of labour exploitation and special focus on trafficking in children (India);

127.51 Take measures in order to allow the adoption of children by same-sex couples (Brazil);

127.63 Adequately protect those social groups particularly vulnerable to budget cuts, as is the case of children and older persons (Cabo Verde);

127.64 Take relevant measures in order to prevent the possible negative impacts of the austerity measures on the human rights situation for the most vulnerable groups, particularly children (Republic of Korea);

127.65 Continue prioritizing the adoption of relatively low-cost, targeted arrangements for the best protection of children’s rights (Italy);

127.66 Provide primary and secondary education for all children, irrespective of their legal status (Holy See);

127.67 Continue its efforts to ensure that all children enjoy equal rights without discrimination (Ireland);

127.68 Pursue efforts to combat illiteracy, working in particular to promote access to school for disadvantaged children (Senegal);

127.55 Mitigate the effects of the financial crisis on its efforts to address the issues of child poverty and street children (Malaysia);

127.56 Conduct an analysis of the effects of the crisis on human rights, especially on socioeconomic rights, with particular focus on the situation of vulnerable groups such as refugees, migrants, Roma, children, women and elderly people (Turkey);

127.71 Further strengthen activities towards inclusive education of children with disabilities (Montenegro);

127.75 Strengthen efforts for the protection of the rights of unaccompanied and separated children seeking asylum (Ecuador);

127.78 Continue to strengthen and provide further resources to the National Commission for the Protection of Children and Young People at Risk in order to protect the rights of neglected and abused children (Timor-Leste).

The following recommendations were noted by Portugal:

127.70 Make ragging of students an offence and conduct awareness-raising campaigns against ragging (France).




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