Concluding observations for 68th's Jamaica combined third and fourth periodic report


Adopted by the Committee: 30 January 2015

Published by the Committee: 4 February 2015

Issues raised:

Ratification and national policies:

The Committee welcomes the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, in 2011; The Child Pornography (Prevention) Act of October 2009; The Children’s Home Regulations of June 2007; National Plan of Action on Child Labour (2013); National Strategic Plan for Early Childhood Development (2008-2013) (para.3-5).


The Committee is concerned about the high rate of crime and violence, including the number of murdered children, and in particular gang violence in poor inner-city communities, which significantly impact the lives of children as victims and perpetrators. The Committee is also concerned that the climate of fear, insecurity, threat and violence linked to gangs in the State party impedes children from enjoying their childhood and adolescence (para.24).

Birth registration:

The Committee is concerned about the number of children without birth certificates, especially in rural areas (para.28).

Harmful practices:

The Committee is concerned that corporal punishment remains lawful in the home and schools, is widely accepted in society, and continues to be practised in the State party (para.30).

Abuse and neglect:

The Committee is concerned about the number of cases of child abuse and neglect, as well as the issue of missing children. The Committee is also concerned about weak parenting skills, especially poor management of discipline, poverty and isolation, family violence and weak community support systems, which are predominant factors for abuse and neglect (para.32).

Sexual exploitation:

The Committee is very concerned about the high rate of sexual abuse in the State party, including incest. The Committee is also concerned about the lack of information on the number of investigations of cases of sexual abuse, the outcomes of such trials, including information on penalties for perpetrators, and redress and compensation offered to victims (para.34).

Family environment:

The Committee is concerned that many families, in particular those in situations of poverty, receive insufficient assistance in the performance of their child-rearing responsibilities, especially family counselling and parenting education programmes. The Committee is also concerned about limited access to day care for children under three years of age, especially for middle and low-income families (para.36).

The Committee is concerned about the following: The continued institutionalization of children, and institutional abuse of children, as well as the number of critical incidents in child care facilities; Inadequate monitoring of the conditions of the system of children’s homes and foster care, and inadequate number of institutional childcare providers, as well as insufficient training of such providers (para.38).


The Committee is concerned about the lengthy process and remaining backlog regarding adoptions. It is also concerned that the State party has not yet ratified the 1993 Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (para.40).

Children with disabilities:

The Committee is nonetheless concerned that: There is insufficient coordination at the national level for the implementation of laws and policies regarding children with disabilities; Children with disabilities continue to face discrimination and are not effectively integrated into all areas of social life, including the education system; Training for teachers who work with children with disabilities is insufficient; There is a lack of public awareness of the rights of children with disabilities;  There is insufficient support to caregivers of children with disabilities; and sufficient and adequate facilities for children with disabilities, including schools, sports and leisure facilities and residential facilities are lacking (para.42).


The Committee is concerned about perinatal mortality levels, the increase in maternal mortality, persistent levels of undernourishment among the poorest children, general shortage of health care providers and access by children to quality health care, low levels of breastfeeding, and the high rate of children classified as overweight and obese (para.44).

The Committee is concerned there is limited access to mental health care and psychosocial rehabilitation for children, especially in relation to depression and suicide attempts. It is also concerned that the Child Guidance Clinics have significant backlogs regarding cases. It is additionally concerned about inadequate training of staff in children’s homes, places of safety and juvenile correction centre (para.46).

The Committee is concerned about the following: The still high teenage pregnancy rate, the widespread prevalence of STIs among adolescents, and the high rate of HIV infection, especially among adolescent girls; Poor access to sexual and reproductive health care information and services, and no access to health care services without parental consent for adolescents under the age of consent (para.48).

Climate change:

The Committee is concerned at the adverse impact of climate change and natural disasters on the rights of the child, including rights to education, health, adequate housing, safe and drinkable water and sanitation, among others. It is also concerned that natural disasters have the potential to undermine the social safety net of the State party with negative consequences for children and families exposed to poverty (para.50).

Standard of living:

The Committee, however, is concerned about the high rate of children living below the poverty line, that the social safety net does not adequately protect children and single parents, and that children are increasingly at risk of being exposed to poverty, which affects the enjoyment of many of the rights protected by the Convention, including the rights to health, education and social protection (para.52).


The Committee is concerned about: The relatively low educational achievements of children in the State party, in particular boys and children from economically disadvantaged communities; The insufficient number of professionally trained teaching staff in rural areas, and inadequate teacher training and materials, in particular at the early childhood level; Insufficient access to education by children from low-income families, and the shortage of upper secondary spaces; and the number of students, especially boys, who drop out of school, and violence in schools (para.54).


The Committee is concerned about the impact of migration on children, especially those left behind as well as challenges in securing maintenance from parents who may have migrated abroad (para.56).

Labour exploitation:

The Committee is, however, concerned about: The number of children involved in child labour, the majority of whom are found in agriculture, construction, and domestic service; The lack of legal clarity with respect to light work for children ages 13 to 14, and hazardous occupations prohibited for children under 18; The absence of a law prohibiting the procuring or offering of a child for illicit activities, including drug trafficking and production;  Delay in the implementation of the National Plan of Action on Child Labour, and enactment of the draft Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act; and the lack of disaggregated data on child labour (para.58).

Street children:

The Committee is concerned about children in street situations and issues related to this phenomenon, including substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, and sexual exploitation of children in street situations (para.60).


The Committee, however, notes that the State party is a source, transit and destination country for adults and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labour, and is concerned about reports of children being coerced to engage in commercial sex, including sex tourism, in the State party (para.62).

Juvenile justice:

The Committee is concerned about: The increasing number of children in conflict with the law; The illegal detention of children in police lockups; The grouping together of children in juvenile facilities with no separation based on category, offence, age or special need;  Inadequate psychological and educational services provided to children in juvenile facilities; Children may still be sentenced to life imprisonment; and inadequate training of correctional officers who interface with children, and lack of access by judges to information, including copies of current legislation, computers and the Internet (para.64).


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