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 Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
- UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
- UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
- UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
- UN Human Rights Committee
- UN Committee against Torture
- UN Committee on Migrant Workers
- UN Committee on Enforced Disappearance
Last reported: 21 – 22 February 2008
Concluding Observations issued: 8 May 2008
Education: The Committee remains concerned about the persistence of de facto racial segregation in public schools. In this regard, the Committee notes with particular concern that the recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1 (2007) and Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education (2007) have rolled back the progress made since the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education (1954), and limited the ability of public school districts to address de facto segregation by prohibiting the use of race-conscious measures as a tool to promote integration (arts. (2), 3 and 5 (e) (v)).
The Committee recommends that the State party undertake further studies to identify the underlying causes of de facto segregation and racial inequalities in education, with a view to elaborating effective strategies aimed at promoting school desegregation and providing equal educational opportunity in integrated settings for all students. In this regard, the Committee recommends that the State party take all appropriate measures, including the enactment of legislation,– to restore the possibility for school districts to voluntarily promote school integration through the use of carefully tailored special measures adopted in accordance to article 2, paragraph 2, of the Convention. (para 17)
While welcoming the measures adopted by the State party to reduce the significant disparities in the field of education, including the adoption of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 NCLB), the Committee remains concerned about the persistent “achievement gap” between students belonging to racial, ethnic or national minorities, including English Language Learner (“ELL”) students, and white students. The Committee also notes with concern that alleged racial disparities in suspension, expulsion and arrest rates in schools contribute to exacerbate the high dropout rate and the referral to the justice system of students belonging to racial, ethnic or national minorities (art.5 (e) (v)). The Committee recommends that the State party adopt all appropriate measures,– including special measures in accordance with article 2, paragraph 2, of the Convention,– to reduce the persistent “achievement gap” between students belonging to racial, ethnic or national minorities and white students in the field of education, inter alia, by improving the quality of education provided to these students. The Committee also calls upon the State party to encourage school districts to review their “zero tolerance” school discipline policies, with a view to limiting the imposition of suspension or expulsion to the most serious cases of school misconduct, and to provide training opportunities for police officers deployed to patrol school hallways. (para 34)
Juvenile Justice: The Committee notes with concern that according to information received, young offenders belonging to racial, ethnic and national minorities, including children, constitute a disproportionate number of those sentenced to life imprisonment without parole (art. 5 (a)). The Committee recalls the concerns expressed by the Human Rights Committee (CCPR/C/USA/CO/3/Rev.1, para. 34) and the Committee against Torture (CAT/C/USA/CO/2, para. 34) with regard to federal and state legislation allowing the use of life imprisonment without parole against young offenders, including children. In light of the disproportionate imposition of life imprisonment without parole on young offenders, including children, belonging to racial, ethnic and national minorities, the Committee considers that the persistence of such sentencing is incompatible with article 5 (a) of the Convention. The Committee therefore recommends that the State party discontinue the use of life sentence without parole against persons under the age of eighteen at the time the offence was committed, and review the situation of persons already serving such sentences. (para 21)
Health: The Committee regrets that despite the efforts of the State party, wide racial disparities continue to exist in the field of sexual and reproductive health, particularly with regard to the high maternal and infant mortality rates among women and children belonging to racial, ethnic and national minorities, especially African Americans, the high incidence of unintended pregnancies and greater abortion rates affecting African American women, and the growing disparities in HIV infection rates for minority women (art. 5 (e) (iv)).
The Committee recommends that the State party continue its efforts to address persistent racial disparities in sexual and reproductive health, in particular by:
(i) Improving access to maternal health care, family planning, pre- and post- natal care and emergency obstetric services, inter alia, through the reduction of eligibility barriers for Medicaid coverage;
(ii) Facilitating access to adequate contraceptive and family planning methods; and
(iii) Providing adequate sexual education aimed at the prevention of unintended pregnancies and sexually-transmitted infections. (para 33)
Signed in 1980, but not yet ratified.
Signed in 2009, but not yet ratified.
Signed in 1977, but not yet ratified.
Last reported: 13 and 14 March 2014
Concluding observations adopted: 26 March 2014
Violence: The Committee remains concerned about the continuing high numbers of gun-related deaths and injuries and the disparate impact of gun violence on minorities, women and children. (paragraph 10)
The State Party should take all necessary measures to abide by its obligation to effectively protect the right to life. In particular, it should:
(a) continue its efforts to effectively curb gun violence, including through the continued pursuit of legislation requiring background checks for all private firearm transfers in order to prevent possession of arms by persons recognized as prohibited individuals under federal law.
(b) review Stand Your Ground Laws to remove far-reaching immunity and ensure strict adherence to the principles of necessity and proportionality when using deadly force in self-defence.
Trafficking: The Committee remains concerned about cases of trafficking for purposes of labour and sexual exploitation, including of children, and criminalisation of victims on prostitution-related charges. (paragraph 14)
The State party should continue its efforts to combat trafficking in persons, by strengthening its preventive measures, increasing victim identification and systematically and vigorously investigating allegations of trafficking in persons and prosecuting and punishing those responsible. The Committee also recommends that the State party provides effective protection, rehabilitation and compensation to victims. It should take all appropriate measures to prevent the criminalization of victims of sex trafficking, including child victims, to the extent that they have been compelled to engage in unlawful activities. It should also reinforce its training activities and provide training to law enforcement and border and immigration officials, as well as to other relevant agencies such as labour law enforcement agencies and child welfare agencies.
Immigration: The Committee expresses concerns about the exclusion of millions of undocumented immigrants and their children from coverage under the Affordable Care Act and the limited coverage of undocumented immigrants and immigrants residing lawfully in the U.S. for less than five years by Medicare and Children Health Insurance, all resulting in difficulties in access of immigrants to adequate health care (arts. 7, 9, 13, 17, 24 and 26). (paragraph 15)
The Committee recommends to the State party to facilitate access of undocumented immigrants and immigrants residing lawfully in the U.S. for less than five years and their families to adequate health care, including reproductive health care services.
Corporal punishment: The Committee is concerned about the use of corporal punishment of children in schools, penal institutions, the home, and all forms of child care at federal, state and local levels. It is also concerned about the increasing criminalization of students to tackle disciplinary issues arising in schools (arts. 7, 10, and 24). (paragraph 17)
The State party should take practical steps, including through legislative measures where appropriate, to put an end to corporal punishment in all settings. It should encourage non-violent forms of discipline as alternatives to corporal punishment and should conduct public information campaigns to raise awareness about its harmful effects. The State party should also promote the use of alternatives to the application of criminal law to address disciplinary issues in schools.
Juvenile justice: The Committee is concerned that a court still may, within its discretion, sentence a defendant to life without parole for a homicide committed as a juvenile. It is also concerned that many states exclude 16 and 17 year olds from juvenile court jurisdictions and thus juveniles continue to be tried in adult courts and to be incarcerated in adult institutions (arts. 7, 9, 10, 14, 15, and 24). (paragraph 23).
The State party should prohibit and abolish all juvenile life without parole sentences irrespective of the crime committed. It should also ensure that all juveniles are separated from adults during pretrial detention and after sentencing and that juveniles are not transferred to adult courts. States that automatically exclude 16 and 17 year olds from juvenile court jurisdictions should be encouraged to change their laws.
Last reported: 17 – 18 July 2006
Concluding Observations issued: 15 September 2006
Violence: [the Committee] is concerned about information according to which police have used tasers against unruly schoolchildren; mentally disabled or intoxicated individuals involved in disturbed but non-life-threatening behaviour; elderly people; pregnant women; unarmed suspects fleeing minor crime scenes and people who argue with officers or simply fail to comply with police commands, without in most cases the responsible officers being found to have violated their departments’ policies. (articles 6 and 7) (para 30)
Medical research: The Committee notes that (…)
(b) some research may be conducted on persons vulnerable to coercion or undue influence such as children, prisoners, pregnant women, mentally disabled persons, or economically disadvantaged persons (…) (article 7) (para 31)
Detainment: (…) The Committee also expresses concern about the shackling of detained women during childbirth. (articles 7 and 10)
(…) The Committee also recommends the State party to prohibit the shackling of detained women during childbirth. (para 33)
The Committee notes with concern reports that forty-two states and the Federal government have laws allowing persons under the age of eighteen at the time the offence was committed, to receive life sentences, without parole, and that about 2,225 youth offenders are currently serving life sentences in United States prisons. The Committee, while noting the State party’s reservation to treat juveniles as adults in exceptional circumstances notwithstanding articles 10 (2) (b) and (3) and 14 (4) of the Covenant, remains concerned by information that treatment of children as adults is not only applied in exceptional circumstances. The Committee is of the view that sentencing children to life sentence without parole is of itself not in compliance with article 24 (1) of the Covenant. (articles 7 and 24)
The State party should ensure that no such child offender is sentenced to life imprisonment without parole, and should adopt all appropriate measures to review the situation of persons already serving such sentences. (para 34)
Adopted by the committee: 20 November 2014
The Committee welcomes Supreme Court’s rulings in Graham v. Florida (2010), prohibiting sentences of life imprisonment without parole for children convicted of non-homicide offences,and Miller v. Alabama (2012), barring sentences of mandatory life imprisonment without parole for children convicted of homicide offences (para.4).
Immigration and detention:
It is also concerned at the recent expansion of family detention with the plan to establish up to 6,350 additional detention beds for undocumented migrant families with children. The Committee observes that despite the increased use of foster care for unaccompanied children and separate children, many of them continue to be held in group homes and secure facilities, which closely resemble juvenile correctional facilities.The Committee recommends the State party to develop and expand community-based alternatives to immigration detention, expand the use of foster care for unaccompanied children, and halt the expansion of family detention, with a view toprogressively eliminating it completel (para.20).
The Committee is concerned about the use of solitary confinement for indefinite periods of time, and its use against juveniles and individuals with mental disabilities. The Committee recommends the State party should prohibit any use of solitary confinement against juveniles, persons with intellectual or psychosocial disabilities, pregnant women, women with infants and breastfeeding mothers in prison (para.20).
Sexual violence and assault:
The Committee notes with concern the disproportionally high rates of sexual violence faced by children in adult facilities (para.21).
The Committee remains concerned at the notable gaps in the protection of juveniles in the State party’s criminaljustice system. In particular, the Committee expresses once again its concern at the conditions of detention for juveniles, including their placement in adult jails and prisons, and in solitary confinement (art. 11 and 16). The State party should take the necessary measures to ensure the proper functioning of the juvenile system in compliance with international standards. In particular, the State party should ensure full implementation of the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (The Beijing Rules, General Assembly res. 40/33 of 29 November 1985, annex) and the United Nations Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency (The Riyadh Guidelines, General Assembly resolution 45/112, annex);Ensure that juvenile detainees and prisoners under 18 are held separately from adults, in line with the provisions of The Beijing Rules (rules 13.4 and 26.3), and the United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty (General Assembly resolution 45/113 of 14 December 1990, rules 17, 28 and 29);Prohibit any use of solitary confinement against juveniles (see, para. 20); Resort more to alternatives to incarceration, taking into account the provisions of the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for Non-custodial Measures (the Tokyo Rules, General Assembly resolution 45/110, of 14 December 1990) and the Bangkok Rules (para.23).
While welcoming Supreme Court’s rulings in Graham v. Florida (2010) and Miller v. Alabama(2012),imposing limitations onjuvenilelife-without-parole sentences, the Committee remains concerned that some courts have ruled that Miller v. Alabamadoes not apply retroactively and that a majority of the 28 states that required mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole for children have not passed legislation to comply with the ruling. Moreover, the rulings leave open the possibility of judges imposing life without parole sentences in homicide cases, even where the child played a minimal role,and courts continue to impose the sentence (art. 11 and 16).The State party should abolish the sentence of life imprisonment without parole for offences committed by children under 18 years of age, irrespective of the crime committed. Enable child offenders currently serving life without parole to have their cases reviewed by a court for reassessment and resentencing, to restore parole eligibility and for a possible reduction of sentence (para.24).
Electrical discharge weapons (Tasers):
The Committee is concerned about numerous, consistent reports that police have used electrical discharge weapons against minors.The State party should revise the regulations governing the use of such weapons with a view to establishing a high threshold for their use and expressly prohibiting their use on children (para.27).
Last reported: 5 – 8 May 2006
Concluding Observations issued: 25 July 2006
Detainment: The Committee is concerned at the treatment of detained women in the State party, including gender-based humiliation and incidents of shackling of women detainees during childbirth (art. 16). The State party should adopt all appropriate measures to ensure that women in detention are treated in conformity with international standards. (para 33)
The Committee reiterates the concern expressed in its previous recommendations about the conditions of the detention of children, in particular the fact that they may not be completely segregated from adults during pretrial detention and after sentencing. The Committee is also concerned at the large number of children sentenced to life imprisonment in the State party (art. 16).
The State party should ensure that detained children are kept in facilities separate from those for adults in conformity with international standards. The State party should address the question of sentences of life imprisonment of children, as these could constitute cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. (para 34)
Ratified in 2001, but not yet reported
Ratified in 2009, but not yet reported.