Concluding Observations for Saint Lucia's Second to Fourth Reports


Below is a short summary of some of the key issues from the Committee on the Rights of the Child's 66th session concluding observations for Saint Lucia’s second to fourth reports on the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child. Read the full text, and you can find other documents related to the Committee's 66th session (including alternative reports submitted by NGOs and the Committee's concluding observations for other States reviewed in this session) on the Committee’s 66th session page. Please note that these are not official UN summaries.

Corporal punishment: The Committee reiterates its concern that corporal punishment is still seen as a lawful way of disciplining children, both under the 1972 Children and Young Persons Act and the 1999 Education Act, that corporal punishment continues to be practised within the family, schools and in institutions and is widely accepted in society. (para. 28)

The Committee recommends that the State party strengthen and expand its efforts through awareness-raising campaigns to inform the public in general about the negative impact of corporal punishment on children and actively involve children and the media in the process. The Committee also recommends that the State party promote positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing and discipline as an alternative to corporal punishment, and expand parenting education programmes and training for principals, teachers, and other professionals working with and for children, and especially the Child Friendly School project; and finally amend its legislation to explicitly prohibit corporal punishment in the family, schools and institutions. (para. 29)


Sexual exploitation and abuse: The Committee is concerned about the high level of incest and sexual abuse of boys and girls in the State party, and, in particular, the following:

  1. Incidents of child sexual abuse appear to be on the increase, the practice of perpetrators paying parents to drop cases of child sexual abuse is continuing, and there is insufficient support for victims of sexual abuse;
  2. While girls have a stipulated age of consent with regard to sexual relations, boys do not have it, which puts them at increased risk of sexual exploitation and abuse;

  3. The revised Criminal Code of 2004 is limited to reporting child sexual abuse committed against “young persons” and therefore does not protect children under 12 years of age from sexual abuse and other forms of child abuse and neglect; and

  4. Lack of information on laws, policies, measures, and resources for preventing and combating child sexual abuse, as well as ongoing training for all professionals on this subject. (para. 32)

The Committee recommends that the State party:

  1. Ensure that acts of sexual abuse and exploitation are effectively investigated, that the perpetrators are brought to justice and that out of court settlements involving financial arrangements between perpetrators of child sexual abuse and parents of child victims are prohibited;

  2. Ensure accessible, confidential, child-friendly and effective complaint procedures for sexual abuse and exploitation, continue the self-empowerment programmes for children; and conduct awareness-raising activities to combat the stigmatization of victims of sexual exploitation and abuse, including incest;

  3. Review all sexual offences legislation with a view to ensuring conformity with the Convention, including setting an age of consent for boys to protect them from sexual exploitation and abuse;

  4. Establish mechanisms, procedures and guidelines to ensure mandatory reporting of cases of child sexual abuse and exploitation, including by revising the Criminal Code to ensure that mandatory reports include all forms of abuse and neglect of all children, including those under 12 years of age;

  5. Ensure that all professionals and staff working with and for children are provided with the necessary training, supervision and background checks; and provide systematic training to law enforcement officials, social workers and prosecutors on how to receive, monitor, investigate and prosecute complaints in a child and gender sensitive manner that respects the privacy of the victim, and ensure that child protection agencies are adequately staffed and funded. (para. 33)


Adolescent sexual health: The Committee is concerned that the fact that 16 and 17 year olds cannot access sexual and reproductive health care services without parental consent and the still high rate of teenage pregnancies; and sexually transmitted infections among adolescents are prevalent, and the rate of HIV/AIDS is increasing. (para. 46)

The Committee recommends that the State party increase the availability of confidential and youth-friendly health services throughout the country, and ensure the availability of contraceptive services to adolescents without parental consent; and promote age-appropriate education targeted at adolescents, with special attention to the prevention of teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS, and undertake public education campaigns about sexual and reproductive health issues to all segments of society, in particular, rural communities and poor households. (para. 47)


Impact of 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 Saint Lucia with negative consequences for children and families exposed to poverty. (para. 52)

The Committee recommends that the State party develop strategies to reduce the vulnerabilities and risks for children and families which may be produced or exacerbated by climate change, including by mainstreaming child specific and child sensitive risk and vulnerability reduction strategies into its National Climate Change Policy and Adaptation Plan, and by strengthen its social safety nets and social protection framework so as to more effectively mitigate the multiple social, economic and environmental impacts of climate change. (para. 53)


Children and commercial sex: The Committee notes that the State party is a destination country for persons subjected to forced prostitution and labour exploitation, and is concerned about indications that children under 18 are coerced to engage in commercial sex in the State party. It is also concerned that national legislation does not appear to contain any provisions prohibiting the use of, or procuring of a child under 18 years of age for the production of pornography or for pornographic performances. (para. 60)

The Committee recommends that the State party step-up implementation of the Counter Trafficking Act of 2010 and strengthen its efforts to combat child trafficking for purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labour. The Committee also recommends that the State party establish a monitoring mechanism for the investigation and redress of such abuses, with a view to improving accountability, transparency and the prevention of violations to the Convention, as well as ensure the effective prosecution and punishment of those who exploit children for purposes of prostitution, forced labour or pornography. (para. 61)


Juvenile Justice: The Committee is, at the same time, concerned that:

  1. The age of criminal responsibility set at the age of 12 is not clearly established in all relevant legislation;

  2. Truancy and vagrancy continue to be classified as status offences;

  3. The Criminal Code provides that 16 and 17 year old children may be tried as adults, sentenced to life imprisonment, and may also be subject to the death penalty;

  4. The increase in children engaging in more serious criminal activities;

  5. The lack of alternative sentencing for children who are in conflict with the law;

  6. The lack of facilities to accommodate girls in conflict with the law; and

  7. Insufficient access to adequate and effective rehabilitation services. (para. 62)

The Committee urges the State party to:

  1. Implement the Juvenile Justice Reform Project and the necessary reforms to ensure that all persons under 18 are provided with the same protection and guarantees in the area of juvenile justice, ensuring that the age of 12 for criminal responsibility is established in all relevant legislation, and abolishing truancy and vagrancy as status offences in the legislation;

  2. Modify existing legislation so that children age 16 or 17 at the time of commitment of the crime are not tried and sentenced as adults, and abolish the provisions of the law which allow for the imposition of a life sentence or the death penalty on such children;

  3. Adopt a holistic and preventive approach to addressing the problem of juvenile offenders and the underlying social factors, with a view to supporting children at risk at an early stage, including early intervention programmes;

  4. Promote alternative measures to detention, taking into consideration gender differentiated programmes for boys and girls in conflict with the law, such as diversion, probation, mediation, counselling, or community service, wherever possible, and ensure that detention is used as a last resort and for the shortest possible period of time and that it is reviewed on a regular basis with a view to withdrawing it;

  5. In cases where detention is unavoidable, ensure that adequate facilities exist for children in conflict with the law, especially girls, that children are not detained together with adults, and that detention conditions are compliant with international standards, including with regard to access to education and health services;

  6. Provide effective rehabilitation services, including access to mental health counselling and substance abuse treatment, as well as effective social skills development and education, including vocational training programmes; and

  7. Make use of the technical assistance developed by the Interagency Panel on Juvenile Justice and its members, and seek technical assistance in the area of justice from members of the Panel. (para. 63)


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