Committee on the Rights of the Child's Concluding Observations for Sao Tome & Principe's 2nd - 4th Periodic Reports

Below is a short summary of the key issues from the CRC's 64th session Concluding Observations for Sao Tome & Principe. Click on the link above for the full text, and here for the alternative reports submitted by NGOs and the CRC's Concluding Observations for other States it reviewed.

Access to information (sexual and reproductive health; drugs): The Committee recommends the State ensure sexual and reproductive health education is part of the mandatory education syllabus. On drug use, the Committee recommends the State provide children with accurate and objective information and life skills education on preventing substance abuse, including tobacco use, and develop accessible drug-dependence treatment and harm reduction services.

Read more about children’s right to access information about their health in CRIN’s submission for the 2013 Human Rights Council’s Annual day on the Rights of the Child on the right to health.

Right to be heard: The Committee remains concerned that taking into account the opinion of the child is optional, not mandatory in Sao Tome & Principe. To work towards compliance with article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (right to be heard), the Committee recommends that the State implement legislation recognising children’s right to be heard in relevant legal proceedings and set up systems for courts to comply with this principle.

Read about more about child friendly justice, including children’s right to be heard in this context, in CRIN’s toolkit.

Placing the right to be heard in a broader social context, the Committee also recommends Sao Tome & Principe conduct research into the issues most important to children and hear their views on them, find out how well their voices are heard in family decisions affecting them, and promote meaningful and empowered participation of all children within the family, community and schools.

Administration of juvenile justice: The Committee is concerned that there is no appropriate justice system for children in conflict with the law, no free legal advice or representation for these children and no alternative to detention (such as probation, mediation, counselling, community service). In compelling the State to comply with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Committee urges it to establish specialised juvenile courts with adequate resources, appoint specialised judges for cases concerning children and ensure they have sufficient training, and give children in conflict with the law qualified and impartial legal aid at an early stage in legal proceedings. The Committee also stressed that children should only be detained as a measure of last resort, and only if absolutely necessary for the shortest possible time and in full compliance with their rights.

Click here for a report on creating a non-violent juvenile justice system, and here for our child-friendly justice toolkit.

Business and children’s rights: The Committee is concerned that, despite some improvements, measures to ensure oil exploration and production in the country comply with children’s rights remain inadequate. The Committee recommends the State establish a clear regulatory framework for all business operating in the country, particularly those in the extractive and cocoa industries, to ensure their activities do not negatively affect human rights. Among others, the Committee also recommends the State ensure companies implement international environmental and health standards and provide remedies when any violations do occur, as well as require companies to give full public disclosure of the environmental, health and human rights impacts of their activities and their plans to address such impacts.

Click here for the Committee’s General Comment No. 16 on children’s rights business.

Children deprived of a family environment: The Committee emphasised that financial and material poverty should never be the only justification for removing a child from parental care.

Please note that these reports were submitted to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. They are hosted by Child Rights Connect and CRIN and the author's permission has been obtained for all reports listed. However, unless otherwise stated, they are not the work of either organisation and their inclusion in our database does not necessarily signify endorsement or agreement with their content by Child Rights Connect or CRIN.