Concluding observations for 68th's Switzerland combined second to fourth periodic report


Adopted by the Committee: 30 January 2015

Published by the Committee: 4 February 2015

Issues raised:

Ratification and national policy:

The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, in September 2006; The Ordinance on the Placement of Foster Children, as on 1 January 2013;

The Federal Act on Promotion of Children and Young People, as on 1 January 2013;

The Juvenile Criminal Procedure Code, as on 1 January 2011;


The Federal Act on International Child Abduction and the Hague Conventions on the Protection of Children and Adults, as on 1 July 2009; The Juvenile Criminal Law Act, as on 1 January 2007; The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs’ (FDFA) Action Plan for the Protection of Children associated with armed forces or groups in armed conflicts (2014-2016); The Strategy for a Swiss Policy on Childhood and Youth, adopted in 2008 (para.3-5)


The Committee remains concerned that discrimination continues to be prevalent against children in marginalized and disadvantaged situations, including migrant, refugee and asylum-seeking children, children with disabilities and sans papier children. Moreover, the Committee is concerned about incidents of hate speech against LGBTI persons and the impact on children belonging to these groups, as well as that they do not enjoy the protection afforded by Article 261bis of the Criminal Code relating to racial discrimination (para.24).

Birth registration:

The Committee is concerned about reports on delays in registering children of foreign nationals. Moreover, the Committee is concerned that children born in the State party, who would otherwise be stateless, are not guaranteed the right to acquire a nationality (para.30).

Right to identity:

The Committee is deeply concerned about the absence of regulation and the increasing number of baby-boxes that allow for the anonymous abandonment of children in the State party, which is in violation of, inter alia, articles 6 to 9 and 19 of the Convention (para.34).

Harmful practices:

The Committee regrets that corporal punishment is still not considered as physical violence if it does not exceed the level generally accepted by society, and that it is not explicitly prohibited in all settings (para.38).

The Committee is deeply concerned at: The significant number of girls living in the State party who are affected or threatened by genital mutilation; and Cases of medically unnecessary surgical and other procedures on intersex children, which often entail irreversible consequences and can cause severe physical and psychological suffering, without their informed consent, and the lack of redress and compensation in such cases (para.42)


The Committee remains concerned at the lack of comprehensive data and studies on children suffering from ill-treatment, abuse and neglect, sexual violence, and domestic violence, as well as a national child protection strategy and coordination among various cantonal programmes (para.40).

Family environment:

The Committee remains concerned about the insufficient availability of different forms of family support, including day care services (para.44).

The Committee is concerned that:Reliable data and information on the situation of children placed in foster or institutional care are lacking;Large disparities between cantons exist regarding the criteria on the selection, duration and review of placements of children and the quality of various forms of alternative care, including the support, training and monitoring of foster families and the implementation of care standards;The number of foster families is insufficient in some cantons; For children under the age of three only institutional care is available; and support to biological parents is limited when a child placed either in a foster family or an institution returns to his or her family (para.48).


The Committee is concerned about the considerable number of intercountry adoptions being carried out with countries of origin that are not party to the 1993 Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (the 1993 Hague Convention) and the lack of data on the adoptions from these countries. The Committee is also concerned that adoption procedures with regard to children from the countries that are not party to 1993 Hague Convention, including assessment of prospective adoption parents and decision making, do not always ensure the paramountcy of the child best interests. The Committee is further concerned about the uncertainty of the legal status of children adopted from abroad by Swiss parents during the first year before the adoption process is finalized (para.50).

Children with disabilities:

The Committee is concerned about: The lack of comprehensive data on children with disabilities, including children with autism spectrum disorders;Children are not adequately included in mainstream education in all cantons, and there are insufficient human and financial resources allocated to ensure the adequate functioning of the system of inclusive education in practice; The lack of sufficient early childhood education and care and inclusive vocational training opportunities for children with disabilities; Discrimination and segregation of children with autism spectrum disorders, especially in the canton of Geneva, in many aspects of their social life, including insufficient early childhood detection of autism spectrum, lack of intensive early developmental programmes, lack of access to mainstream education due notably to the absence of qualified professionals to provide specialised support to these children in mainstream schools, and insufficient training of professionals to deal with children with autism spectrum disorder;Reports that children with autism spectrum disorders, especially in the canton of Geneva, are subjected to inadequate treatments, such as the “packing” technique (wrapping the child in cold, wet sheets), which amount to ill-treatment; and lack of information on measures taken to prevent the placement of children with disabilities in psychiatric units and ensure that these children are not arbitrarily deprived of their right to be visited by their parents (para.54).


The Committee is concerned that: The centralization of paediatric care is increasing and the number of family paediatricians even though increasing is not sufficient; and  Problems of overweight and obesity among children are growing and advertising in children’s television programmes for food high in fat, sugar and salt is excessive (para.56).

The Committee is concerned about the excessive diagnoses of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and the ensuing increase in the prescription of psycho-stimulants to children, in particular methylphenidate, despite growing evidence of harmful effects of these drugs, and reports of children being threatened with expulsion from school if parents do not accept treatment with psycho-stimulant drugs (para.60).
The Committee remains concerned about the high number of suicides among adolescents (para.62).

Standard of living:

The Committee is concerned that supplementary benefits for families, including social assistance, remain low in some cantons (para.64).

Asylum-seeking and refugee children:

The Committee remains concerned that the asylum procedure for unaccompanied children is not always guided by their best interests and that, in relation to the reservation made to article 10 of the Convention, the right to family reunification for persons granted provisional admission is too restricted. Moreover, the Committee is concerned that: Considerable cantonal disparities exist in relation to reception conditions, integration  support and welfare for asylum-seeking and refugee children, with children for instance being placed in military or nuclear bunkers; “Persons of trust” for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children are not required to be experienced in childcare or child-rights matters; Asylum-seeking children face difficulties in accessing secondary education and there is no harmonized practice in granting authorisations to take up vocational training; The accelerated asylum procedure, which is also carried out at airports, may be applied to children; A considerable number of sans papier children (children without legal residence status) live in the State party and that these children face many difficulties in accessing inter alia health care, education, in particular secondary education, and vocational training and the lack of strategies on how to address these issues (para.68).

Children in armed conflict:

The Committee remains concerned that the recruitment of children by non-State armed groups is not explicitly criminalized, and statistical data on asylum seeking, refugee and migrant children who may have been involved in armed conflict abroad are lacking (para.70).

Juvenile justice:

The Committee is concerned that: The minimum age of criminal responsibility still remains below internationally acceptable standards; Free legal aid for children is not always ensured; Still only a few defence lawyers are specialized in juvenile criminal law and procedures; andChildren are still not separated from adults in detention centres (para.72).



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