Held by the Committee: 27 May 2015

Published by the Committee: 8 June 2015

Issues raised: 

Military courses:

The Committee is concerned that children as young as 15 years of age who are enrolled in the Security and Skills (VeVa) vocational course are subjected to harsh mental and physical training modules that may be harmful to their health and development. (para. 12)

Criminalization of recruitment by non-State armed groups:

The Committee notes that the Criminal Codes  of  the  State  party’s  constituencies   prohibit recruiting volunteers to serve in the armed forces of a foreign state or to take part in an armed conflict. However, it is concerned that such criminalization is not explicit with regard to the recruitment of children under the age of 18 years by non-state armed groups. The Committee also notes the draft bill introduced by the Minister of Security which can revoke the Dutch nationality of a person, including children, who has been involved with a terrorist organization and that the Ministry is currently working on introducing exceptions to the draft bill. (para. 14)

Extraterritorial Jurisdiction:

The Committee welcomes  the  State  party’s  International  Crime’s  Act  recognition  of   the drafting into service, or use for active participation in hostilities, of children under 15 years of age by the armed forces and armed groups as a war crime and that under the same act the State party can exercise extraterritorial jurisdiction to prosecute any person who commits war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. However, the Committee is concerned  about  the  absence  of  a  provision  in  the  State  party’s  legislation  that  extends the extraterritorial jurisdiction to prosecute persons who violate the provisions of the Optional Protocol against children between 15 and 18 years of age. (para. 16)

Protection, recovery and reintegration:

The Committee notes that children below the age of 15 years are exempted from article 1 F of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, which excludes protection of those who committed a crime against peace, a war crime or a crime against humanity. However, it is seriously concerned that such exemption does not extend to all children below the age of 18 years. (para. 18)

Assistance for physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration:

The Committee is concerned that the  State  party’s  mental  health  services  do not have sufficient expertise in dealing with children who have been victims of armed conflict. (para. 20)

Arms export and military assistance:

The Committee notes that the State party is a large exporter of arms, including small arms and light weapons, and that all export application licenses are assessed on a case by case basis in the light of the European Common Position concerning arms export control. However, the Committee is concerned that the State party does not have its own policy or regulation that specifically prohibits the export of arms to countries where children are known to be, or may potentially be, recruited or used in armed conflict and/or hostilities. (para. 23)



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