Documents submitted for the Day of General Discussion (22 September 2000) on State Violence against Children

Summary: At its 25th session, the Committee
on the Rights of the Child devoted a
Day of General Discussion to the
theme "State Violence against
Children". Here you will find links and
an outline for the meeting
(CRC/C/100, paragraphs 666-688),
as well
contributions by participants.
Convention on the Rights of the Child
14 November 2000

Twenty-fifth session
18 September-6 October 2000
Report on the twenty-fifth session
(Geneva, 18 September-6 October 2000)

Chapter Paragraphs Page
I. ORGANIZATIONAL AND OTHER MATTERS ..................... 1 - 14 4
A. States parties to the Convention ........................................ 1 -
3 4
B. Opening and duration of the session ................................. 4 4
C. Membership and attendance ............................................ 5 - 84
D. Agenda .............................................................................9 5
E. Pre-sessional working group ....................................... 10 -12 6
F. Organization of work ......................................................13 6
G. Future regular meetings .................................................... 14 6
THE CONVENTION .......................................................... 15 -651 7
A. Submission of reports ................................................ 15 - 24 7
B. Consideration of reports ............................................ 25 - 651 8
Concluding observations: Finland ................................... 25
- 85 8
Concluding observations: Burundi ............................................ 86
- 164 17
Concluding observations: United Kingdom of
Great Britain and Northern Ireland - Isle of Man .......................
165 - 208 31
Concluding observations: United Kingdom of
Great Britain and Northern Ireland - Overseas Territories .........
209 - 267 40
Concluding observations: Tajikistan .........................................
268 - 322 53
Concluding observations: Colombia .........................................
323 - 397 64
Concluding observations: Central African Republic ................. 398
- 483 77
Concluding observations: Marshall Islands ..............................
484 - 543 89
Concluding observations: Slovakia ...........................................
544 - 597 100
Concluding observations: the Comoros ....................................
598 - 651 110
COMMITTEE ............................................................................ 652
- 659 120
OTHER COMPETENT BODIES .............................................. 660 -
665 122
V. THEMATIC DISCUSSION DAY ............................................. 666 -
688 123
VI. GENERAL COMMENTS ..........................................................
689 137
TWENTY-SIXTH SESSION ..................................................... 690
VIII. ADOPTION OF THE REPORT ................................................
691 139

I. States which have ratified or acceded to the Convention on the
Rights of the Child as at 6 October 2000
.................................................................... 140
II. States which have signed or ratified the Optional Protocol to
Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of
children in armed conflict as at 6 October 2000
............................................. 147
III. States which have signed or ratified the Optional Protocol to
Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children,
child prostitution and child pornography as at 6 October 2000
...................... 150
IV. Membership of the Committee on the Rights of the Child
............................. 152
V. Status of submission of reports by States parties under article
44 of the
Convention on the Rights of the Child as at 6 October 2000
.......................... 153
VI. List of initial and second periodic reports considered by the
on the Rights of the Child as at 6 October 2000
.............................................. 172
VII. Provisional list of reports scheduled for consideration at the
Committee’s twenty-sixth and twenty-seventh sessions
................................. 179
VIII. List of submitted documents for the day of general discussion
(22 September 2000) on “State violence against children”
............................. 180
IX. List of documents issued for the twenty-fifth session of the
Committee ........ 182

666. In the light of rule 75 of its provisional rules of procedure,
the Committee on the Rights
of the Child has decided periodically to devote one day of general
discussion to a specific article
of the Convention or to a theme in the area of the rights of the
child in order to enhance
understanding of the contents and implications of the Convention.
667. At its twenty-third session, in January 2000, the Committee
decided to devote two annual
days of general discussion (in September 2000 and September
2001) to the theme “Violence
against children”.
668. In an outline prepared to guide the general discussion (for
the full text of the outline,
see CRC/C/97, annex VI), the Committee pointed out that:
(a) The Committee has already held several discussion days on
issues of relevance to
this topic, including:
_ in 1992 on children in armed conflict;
_ in 1993 on economic exploitation of children;
_ in 1994 on the role of the family in the promotion of the rights
of the child;
_ in 1995 on the administration of juvenile justice;
(b) In order to have time for more detailed consideration, the
Committee decided to
focus the discussion of “Violence against children” in 2000 on
State violence suffered by
children living in institutions managed, licensed or supervised by
the State, and in the context of
“law and public order” concerns. In 2001, the focus will be on the
problems of violence suffered
by children in schools and within the family. This division does not
imply any conceptual
distinction and should not be seen as negating the many aspects
shared by all forms of violence
exerted against children;
(c) Article 20 of the Convention clearly states that “a child
temporarily or
permanently deprived of his or her family environment, or in
whose own best interests cannot be
allowed to remain in that environment, shall be entitled to special
protection and assistance
provided by the State”. Unfortunately, it is often children deprived
of family protection who are
the most common victims of the worst forms of mistreatment and
abuse, and too often such
abuse takes place either at the hands of State agents or is made
possible by their approval,
tolerance or neglect;
(d) The division of the discussion of State violence into two
subthemes for in-depth
discussion by working groups during the day of general
discussion will unavoidably lead to a
certain amount of overlap. The two working groups will
concentrate on the following issues:
page 124
(i) Working Group I, on “Mistreatment, abuse and neglect of
children in the
care of the State”: the State has a particular obligation to protect
from all
forms of abuse those children deprived of a family environment
who have
been entrusted to its care (Convention, art. 20). This duty of
protection extends to children who have been placed for
adoption or in
foster care. However, the State can most easily take direct action
prevent violence against children placed in institutions which are
by the State, either directly (public institutions) or through
licensing and
supervision systems (private institutions),
(ii) Working Group II, on “Violence against children in the context
of ‘law
and public order’ concerns”: at all stages of the juvenile justice
children who are alleged to have committed offences are entitled
to be
treated “in a manner consistent with the promotion of the child’s
sense of
dignity and worth” (art. 40.1). Children have the right to be
from all forms of torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or
punishment (art. 37 (a)) and any other form of abuse (art. 19).
children have been among the most vulnerable victims of the most
extreme forms of violence, including extrajudicial or summary
in many countries. Homeless children are particularly vulnerable
to such
violence. Violence against this group of children represents a
egregious violation of their rights (arts. 6 and 37), as it follows
upon the
failure of the State to offer protection and care to children whose
rights are
already under attack;
(e) The discussion may include issues such as the definitions of
torture or abuse
within the meanings of article 37 (a) and article 19 (1) of the
Convention. However, the
Committee wants to explore broader aspects of these themes,
and the key objectives of the
meeting will be:
(i) To present, analyse and discuss the nature, extent, causes and
consequences of violence against children as described above;
(ii) To present and discuss policies and programmes (including
legislative and
other measures) at the national and international level to
prevent and
reduce these types of violence against children and to treat and
victims of such violence;
(iii) And, in particular, to present recommendations focusing on
measures which should and could be taken by States parties to
Convention to reduce and prevent violence against children in
669. As for previous thematic discussions, the Committee invited
representatives of
United Nations organs, bodies and specialized agencies, as well
as other competent bodies,
including non-governmental organizations, research and
academic organizations and individual
page 125
experts, to contribute to the discussion. Several organizations
and individual experts submitted
contributions and other relevant documents on this theme. The
list of these contributions is
contained in annex VIII.
670. Representatives of the following organizations and bodies
participated in the day of
general discussion:
Governmental bodies
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, Permanent Mission of Costa
Rica to the United Nations
Office at Geneva.
United Nations entities and specialized agencies
International Narcotics Control Board, UNICEF, UNHCR, OHCHR,
ILO, WHO (and its
European Regional Office).
Non-governmental organizations
Association for Down’s Syndrome (Russia), All-Age Development
Amnesty International, Association François-Xavier Bagnaud,
Casa Alianza, Center for
Protection on the Rights of the Children Foundation (Thailand),
Children’s Human Rights Centre
of Albania, Children’s Rights Centre of Ghent University (Belgium),
Christian Children’s
Europe Fund, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, Consortium
for Street Children
(United Kingdom), Corporación Opción (Chile), Defence for
Children International (DCI),
Dignité en Détention, EPOCH-Worldwide, Féderation
internationale de l’action des chrétiens
pour l’abolition de la torture, Federation for the Protection of
Children’s Human Rights (Japan),
Focal Point on Sexual Exploitation of Children, Foundation of
Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Research Action (Australia), Human Rights Internet
(Canada), Human Rights Watch,
Humanitarian Law Project of International Educational
Development, Inc., Institut international
des droits de l’enfant (Switzerland), International Association for
the Child’s Right to Play,
International Association of Youth and Family Judges and
Magistrates, International Federation
Terre des Hommes, Mouvement international ATD Quart Monde,
Mouvement suisse contre
l’enlèvement des enfants, NGO Group for the Convention on the
Rights of the Child, Penal
Reform International, Quakers United Nations Office, Radda
Barnen Ethiopia, Radda Barnen
Sweden, Save the Children UK, South African Human Rights
Commission (NGO), TAPORI,
University of Lincolnshire and Humberside (United Kingdom),
University of Luton
(United Kingdom), University of Hull Law School (United Kingdom),
World Citizen’s
Movement to Protect Innocence in Danger, World Vision
Other organizations
International Committee of the Red Cross
671. Sir Nigel Rodley and Mr. Bruce Abramson also participated.
page 126
672. The meeting was opened by Ms. Ouedraogo, Chairperson of
the Committee, who
welcomed participants and guests and called attention to the
serious problems of violence
suffered by children. She mentioned inappropriate legislation, and
reminded participants that the
discussion was only the first of two, with the 2001 day of general
discussion dealing with other
forms of violence against children. She expressed the hope that
the discussion would lead to the
formulation of recommendations that would assist the
Committee, States parties and other
partners in the implementation of the Convention.
673. The first part of the morning session (see CRC/C/SR. 649)
was devoted to statements by
the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr. Antonio Silva
Henriques Gaspar, the Rapporteur
of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, and a member of the
Committee against Torture
(CAT). The High Commissioner welcomed the holding of a
discussion day on the theme of
State violence against children. She recalled the impact that
Committee’s discussions had had in
the past, referring to the 1992 discussion on the involvement of
children in armed conflict and
the adoption by the General Assembly on 25 May 2000 of the
Optional Protocol to the
Convention on that subject. She also welcomed the participation
of CAT and of the Special
Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the question
of torture in the discussion.
The High Commissioner described her own experiences
witnessing the abuses suffered by
children and the requests for assistance that States formulate in
trying to improve the
implementation of the rights of children in that regard. She
reminded participants that the
recommendations emerging from the discussion should keep in
mind the importance of action at
the national level, and welcomed the participation of United
Nations bodies and agencies in the
discussion. In conclusion, she reminded participants that nothing
could be more harmful to the
full development of a child than violent victimization by those that
child should have a right to
trust, and that States should ensure that such victimization does
not take place at its own hands.
674. Mr. Doek described the problem of social acceptance of
violence used against children as
a form of discipline. He underlined the harmful impact of violence
on children, and reminded
participants of the objectives of the discussion identified by the
Committee in its outline, and in
particular the emphasis on the identification of concrete
measures to address in the most
effective way the prevention of, protection from, and
rehabilitation for violence against children.
Mr. Henriques Gaspar underlined the useful assistance that could
be obtained for the
implementation of the Convention from other international human
rights instruments. He
suggested that the mechanisms and criteria established by the
Convention against Torture, in
particular, could be particularly relevant in the protection of
children against State violence.
Mr. Henriques Gaspar pointed out that the conditions under
which children are placed in
institutions, the use and conditions of detention, the use of force
by staff of institutions, or the
failure to provide appropriate care are all matters that the
Committee against Torture could and
should scrutinize. Article 1 of the Convention against Torture
contains the most detailed
definition of the concept to be found in international instruments.
Article 16 contains an
essential reference to the concept of “cruel, inhuman and
degrading treatment” that has been
developed into a useful additional framework for the prevention
of and protection of children
from State violence. In addition, articles 10, 12, 13 and 14 of the
Convention against Torture
provide useful guidance on how to implement the provisions of
article 37 of the Convention on
the Rights of the Child. The mechanism for the examination of
individual complaints
established under article 22 of the former Convention provides an
additional possibility for
enforcing international human rights standards to protect children.
page 127
675. After the introductory statements, the themes for the
discussion in the two working
groups were introduced by Ms. Smeranda Popa (UNICEF-
Romania) and Sir Nigel Rodley
(Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the
question of torture).
676. Ms. Popa introduced the subject of discussion for Working
Group I, “Mistreatment,
abuse and neglect of children in the care of the State”. She
emphasized the special responsibility
of States for the protection of children deprived of a family
environment, and suggested that
institutionalization should be considered a measure of last resort.
The best interests of the child
should guide placement decisions, and support to families should
be encouraged as well as the
provision of alternative forms of care, judicial oversight and
periodic review of placements.
Among the harmful impacts of mistreatment, abuse and neglect,
Ms. Popa identified physical
injuries, stunted development, emotional and behavioural
disorders, inadequate social skills, and
loss of contact with family and community. She called for action to
be taken in the fields of
legislation, monitoring, research, training, complaints
mechanisms, promoting attitudinal and
behavioural change, and allocation of resources.
677. Sir Nigel pointed out that in his mandate he deals with
issues affecting children. He
drew attention in particular to his 1996 and 2000 reports to the
Commission and to the
General Assembly, which focused in particular on the conditions of
detention of children and on
children subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment in
non-penal institutions. In
introducing the subject of discussion for Working Group II,
“Violence against children in the
context of ‘law and order’ concerns”, Sir Nigel referred to violent
attacks on street children, and
to the torture and ill-treatment suffered by juvenile offenders
during interrogation, pre-trial
detention and in detention once convicted. He called for an
emphasis on identifying examples of
effective measures, policies and programmes to implement article
1 of the Convention against
Torture and articles 37 and 19 of the Convention on the Rights of
the Child. He emphasized in
particular the need for alternative sentences, review of
legislation, bringing to justice perpetrators
of torture and providing compensation and rehabilitation to
victims, and for efforts to be made
for sensitization, education and training. Finally, Sir Nigel pointed
out that, based on his own
experience, the discussion should seek to avoid calling for the
creation of new international
human rights mechanisms, and should instead focus on how to
improve the existing mechanisms
and the capacity to deal with the subject of State violence
against children. In a context of
limited United Nations resources, there was a risk that creating
new mechanisms without
providing additional resources would only further constrain the
effectiveness of the existing
678. The participants then divided into two working groups for
the rest of the morning session.
Working Group I was chaired by Mr. Doek; Ms. Jo Becker, of
Human Rights Watch, served as
Rapporteur. Working Group II, was chaired by Ms. Karp, with Mr.
Bill Bell, of Save the
Children UK, serving as Rapporteur.
679. The discussion in Working Group I concentrated heavily on
the identification of useful
implementation measures that would improve the prevention of,
protection from and
rehabilitation for child victims of State violence. Most of the issues
discussed are reflected in the
recommendations adopted by the Committee. More particularly,
participants explored in more
depth two issues. The first was the extent to which an
appropriate balance needs to be kept
page 128
between recognizing the specific elements that characterize
State violence against children while
at the same time acknowledging that all forms of violence against
children are manifestations of
the same problem and must be addressed together.
680. The second issue was the need to be careful in promoting
alternatives to
institutionalization as a way to prevent violence against children
in the care of the State.
Most participants agreed that preventing the placement of
children in institutions was one of the
most effective measures to prevent violence against children and
to ensure the best possible
environment for children in need of care, and that emphasis must
be placed on providing support
to parents to obviate the need to remove children from their
families. Some participants
acknowledged the provisions of articles 3, 5, 9 and 18 of the
Convention but pointed out the need
to avoid excessive emphasis on the dangers of
681. Participants pointed out that there is a risk that placement
in families may come to be
considered as automatically preferable to placement in
institutions, without due attention to the
characteristics of the families and the institutions being
considered. Thus, placement in an
institution that incorporates all the necessary safeguards and can
provide an appropriate
environment for the fullest development of a child can be
preferable to allowing a child to
remain or to be placed in a harmful family environment. In any
case, the particular
circumstances of each child and of the family, cultural and national
context should be taken into
account. The child should be given, in accordance with his or her
age and maturity, the
possibility to express his or her views on the preferred options
for placement. Decisions should
be taken giving the best interests of each child more weight than
any predetermined preferences
for a given placement setting.
682. Finally, the discussion in Working Group I emphasized
repeatedly the need to pay
particular attention to the situation of children with disabilities.
683. The discussion in Working Group II followed four broad
themes: legislation, prevention
and protection, awareness raising and monitoring. Like for
Working Group I, most of the issues
identified during the discussion are fully reflected in the
recommendations adopted by the
Committee. On legislation, participants repeatedly referred to the
extensive failure in most cases
to apply thoroughly the relevant provisions of the Convention on
the Rights of the Child to the
juvenile justice system. Even States that can provide an
adequate level of resources without
great difficulty often fail to implement all the relevant
international standards. The discussion
underlined the need for legislation to be reviewed in a
comprehensive manner. Participants also
emphasized the problem posed by laws criminalizing children for
“status” offences that should
be seen as the result of failure to implement fully the economic
and social rights of children and
to give them the necessary protection. Such criminalization
broadens the range of children who
are placed at risk of being subjected to State violence.
684. Discussion of traditional methods of justice as a possible
alternative to involving children
in the formal criminal law system emphasized the need for such
traditional methods to respect
fully international human rights standards on the treatment of
children alleged to have or
recognized as having committed criminal offences. Such methods,
and the sense of their
“ownership” by the community, can help to promote respect for
human rights and to prevent
violence against children as well as unnecessary detention.
page 129
685. The often low professional status, poor working conditions
and inadequate training of
law enforcement officials were amongst the most serious
obstacles to effective prevention of
violence against children and to the appropriate protection and
rehabilitation of children within
the juvenile justice system.
686. During the afternoon session, the two working groups met
again to discuss the draft
recommendations prepared by the Rapporteurs for each group, in
consultation with the
Chairpersons. At a closing plenary session (see CRC/C/SR. 650),
Ms. Becker and Mr. Bell
presented to the plenary meeting the recommendations that had
been identified by each group.
The High Commissioner said that her Office would study with
interest the recommendations
adopted by the Committee. She also pointed out that some of
the recommendations proposed for
implementation at the international level would require decisions
to be taken by other
United Nations bodies.
687. Closing statements were made by Ms. Karp, Mr. Henriques
Gasper, Sir Nigel Rodley and
Mrs. Ouedraogo.
688. On the basis of the recommendations of the two working
groups, the following
recommendations were adopted by the Committee:
1. The Committee recommends that the Secretary-General be
requested, through the
General Assembly, to conduct an in-depth international study on
the issue of violence against
children, as thorough and influential as the 1996 report of the
expert of the Secretary-General,
Mrs. Graça Machel, on the impact of armed conflict on children
(A/51/306). Such a study
(a) Explore the different types of violent treatment of which
children are victims
(including State violence, as well as violence in the home and in
schools), identify their causes,
the extent of such violence and its impact on children;
(b) Explore the links between different provisions of the
Convention on the Rights of
the Child and other international human rights treaties in relation
to violence against children;
(c) Collect information on the activities of different human rights
mechanisms and
United Nations bodies and agencies and the extent to which the
problem of violence against
children is addressed in those activities from a human rights
(d) Put forward recommendations regarding actions to be taken,
including effective
remedies and preventative and rehabilitation measures.
2. The Committee will consider the preparation of a set of general
comments on
different forms of violence against children.
3. The Committee urges all States, concerned United Nations
agencies and bodies
and non-governmental organizations to give priority attention to
violence against children at the
United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Children in
2001, and to include steps to
eliminate such violence in its resulting plan of action.
page 130
4. The Committee recommends that efforts be made by United
Nations human rights
mechanisms with a mandate to consider individual complaints
concerning violations of human
rights to identify ways to respond more effectively to individual
complaints concerning violence
against children. It encourages non-governmental organizations
to disseminate information
about the existence and functioning of relevant mechanisms,
including those under the Optional
Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights, under article 22 of the
Convention against Torture, and under the new Optional Protocol
to the Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
Information should also be
disseminated about other United Nations human rights
mechanisms for urgent action,
particularly by the Special Rapporteurs on the question of torture
and on extrajudicial, summary
or arbitrary executions and by the Working Groups on Enforced or
Involuntary Disappearances
and on Arbitrary Detention. The Committee also encourages non-
governmental organizations
and others to consider ways in which they can provide legal and
other assistance for bringing
individual complaints related to violations of the right of children
to be protected against torture
and other forms of violence before the relevant United Nations
and regional human rights
5. The Committee recommends that effective measures be sought
in order to
strengthen existing United Nations human rights mechanism to
ensure that violence against
children and the situation of children living and/or working in the
streets is adequately addressed.
The Committee encourages the Office of the High Commissioner
for Human Rights to organize
a special workshop for all relevant treaty bodies, special
procedures, and United Nations bodies
and agencies to examine:
(a) Violence against children;
(b) The effectiveness of existing United Nations mechanisms in
addressing this
(c) The need for improving and possible ways to improve such
including consideration of the need to review the application of
the existing definition of torture
in order to take into account more adequately the special
characteristics of children;
(d) The possible need for either an optional protocol to the
Convention to establish a
procedure for individual complaints, or the establishment of a
new “special procedure” of the
Commission on Human Rights; and
(e) Consideration that could be given to providing from within
United Nations voluntary funds, assistance for the rehabilitation
of child victims of violence.
6. The Committee urges States parties to repeal, as a matter of
urgency, any
legislation that allows the imposition of unacceptable sentences
(death or life imprisonment) for
offences committed before the age of 18, contrary to the
provisions of the Article 37 (a) of the
page 131
7. The Committee recommends that States parties review all
provisions of criminal
legislation, including on criminal procedure, dealing with children
under 18 (including any
special legislation applying to armed forces) so as to ensure that
it reflects appropriately the
provisions of the Convention on the Right of the Child (arts. 37
and 40). It also recommends
that States parties consider incorporating into all relevant
domestic laws and regulations
(including, where appropriate, those dealing with children in care)
the provisions of the
United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of
Juvenile Justice (“The
Beijing Rules”, adopted by General Assembly resolution 40/33 of
29 November 1985), of the
United Nations Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile
Delinquency (The Riyadh Guidelines,
adopted by General Assembly resolution 45/112 of 14 December
1990), of the United Nations
Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty
(adopted by General Assembly
resolution 45/113 of 14 December 1990), and of the Guidelines
for Action on Children in the
Criminal Justice System (the Vienna Guidelines, annexed to
Economic and Social Council
resolution 1997/30 of 21 July 1997). In particular, the Committee
recommends that penal
legislation applicable to juveniles be reviewed so as to ensure
that courts are not restricted to
custodial sentences disproportionate to the offence.
8. The Committee recommends that States parties review all
relevant legislation to
ensure that all forms of violence against children, however light,
are prohibited, including the use
of torture, or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment (such as
flogging, corporal punishment or
other violent measures), for punishment or disciplining within the
child justice system, or in any
other context. The Committee recommends that such legislation
incorporate appropriate
sanctions for violations and the provision of rehabilitation for
9. The Committee recommends that States parties review all
relevant legislation to
ensure that children under 18, who are in need of protection are
not considered as offenders
(including legislation dealing with abandonment, vagrancy,
prostitution, migrant status,
“truancy”, runaways, etc.) but are dealt with under child
protection mechanisms.
10. The Committee recommends that States parties review
emergency and/or national
security legislation to ensure that it provides appropriate
safeguards to protect the rights of
children and prevent violence against them, and that it is not
used inappropriately to target
children (for example, as threats to public order or in response to
children living or working on
the streets).
11. The Committee recommends, in particular, that States parties
give urgent
consideration to the need to provide appropriate safeguards to
guarantee the security, protection
and rehabilitation of children held in custody, including through
measures such as the imposition
of strict limits on pre-trial detention, that would reduce the
number of children held in detention.
12. The Committee recommends that States parties review
legislation dealing with
children deprived of a family environment to ensure that
placement decisions are subject to
periodic judicial review, including at the request of children
themselves. Such legislation should
also be reviewed so as to ensure that relevant rules and
regulations set out detailed standards of
care for all institutions (public and private) caring for children,
including the prohibition of the
use of violence.
page 132
13. The Committee recommends that the effective implementation
of all such
legislation be carefully monitored, including for the provision of
necessary resources.
14. The Committee encourages States parties, NGOs, United
Nations human rights
mechanisms, United Nations agencies and other bodies to give
priority to raising awareness
about the problem of violence against children:
(a) The Committee urges the launching of public information
campaigns to raise
awareness and sensitize the public about the severity of human
rights violations in this domain
and their harmful impact on children, and to address cultural
acceptance of violence against
children, promoting instead “zero tolerance” of violence;
(b) The media should be encouraged to play an active role in
educating the public and
raising awareness. Negative reporting (blaming categories of
children for individual incidents)
should be avoided and positive reporting (calling attention to the
violations) encouraged;
(c) In raising awareness, children’s views and experiences of
violence should be
publicized and heard;
(d) Accurate, up-to-date and disaggregated data should be
collected on the numbers
and condition of children living in institutions or in the care of the
State, held in pre-trial
detention or in police stations, serving custodial sentences or
subject to diversionary or
alternative measures, etc.;
(e) States parties should translate appropriate information on
violence against
children into its national and local languages, and ensure that it
is disseminated to all relevant
professional groups, to children and to the general public.
15. The Committee recommends that minimum standards be set
for the professional
qualification and training of individuals working in institutions
caring for children, in alternative
systems, in the police, and in juvenile penal institutions, including
the condition that they not
have a prior record of violence. The professional status, rewards
and career incentives for such
workers should ensure that appropriate qualifications can be
requested for these professional
16. The Committee recommends that States parties, in
partnership with relevant
NGOs and seeking international technical assistance where
appropriate, ensure training in child
rights for all relevant professional groups including, but not
limited to, care and social workers,
health professionals, lawyers, the judiciary, members of police
and other security forces, staff of
penal institutions, etc. Such training should follow interdisciplinary
methods promoting
collaborative approaches, include relevant human rights
standards and non-violent methods of
discipline, promote alternatives to institutionalization, and
provide information on child
development, and on the background, rights and needs of
specially vulnerable groups of children
(those from minority groups, children with disabilities, etc.).
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17. The Committee recommends that States parties develop the
use of alternative
measures in order to avoid long-term placement of children in
institutions that do not provide the
type of setting children need, not only for survival, but also for
development, including
psychological, mental, spiritual, moral, psychological and social
development, in a manner
compatible with human dignity and to prepare the child for an
individual life in a free society, in
accordance with article 6 of the Convention.
18. The Committee also recalls to the attention of States parties
the provisions of
paragraphs 3 (b) and 4 of article 40 of the Convention, which call
on State parties to deal with
children alleged to have infringed or recognized as having
infringed penal law without resorting
to judicial proceedings, whenever appropriate, and by ensuring
the availability of a variety of
alternatives to institutional care to deal with such children in a
manner appropriate for their
well-being and proportionate to their circumstances as well as to
the offence.
19. The Committee recommends that efforts be made to
implement fully the
provisions of article 18 (2) of the Convention, providing
appropriate assistance to parents and
legal guardians in their child-rearing responsibilities. The
Committee notes that home visits by
case workers with workloads small enough to allow for them can
be effective in reducing the
need for institutionalization.
20. In particular, the Committee points out that, in accordance
with the provisions of
article 23 of the Convention, special care as well as access to
education, training, health care and
rehabilitation services, preparation for employment and
recreation opportunities should be
provided in a manner “conducive to the child’s achieving the
fullest possible social integration
and individual development”. The Committee encourages States
parties to make every effort to
provide assistance for children with disabilities and support
services for their families, to the
maximum extent possible on an out-patient or community basis,
thereby avoiding removal of
children with disabilities from their families for placement in
21. The Committee recommends that States parties make every
effort to implement
fully the provisions of article 20 (3) of the Convention; that
special protection provided to
children deprived of a family environment include as preferable
options providing for the
placement of children with suitable families, including members of
their own families
(including, where appropriate, child-headed families), foster
families or adoptive families,
whenever appropriate, and providing such families with the
necessary support and supervision;
and that regularly temporary placements be monitored and
reviewed. In developing such
alternatives, States should consider the special needs of children
affected by HIV/AIDS. Efforts
should be made to involve children and their parents in decisions
regarding the most appropriate
care and placement alternatives for the child.
22. The Committee recommends that, for children placed in
consideration be given to the following:
(a) Small institutions caring for children in home-type settings
often have a better
record of caring for children;
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(b) Smaller institutional settings, or the delivery of care and
assistance to children and
support to their families can be less costly and preferable for the
full enjoyment of the human
rights of children than institutionalization in large, sometimes
impersonal institutions;
(c) A lesser number of better trained professionals can deliver
more appropriate care
to children than a large number of poorly trained or untrained
(d) Efforts should be made to ensure contact between the child
and his or her family
(when appropriate) and to avoid the isolation of children in
institutions (for example, by ensuring
that education, recreation, or health services are provided
outside the institution).
23. The Committee recommends that States parties consider the
introduction of
schemes for judges and magistrates to work with probation and
social work staff to assess
non-custodial alternatives. The Committee also encourages
consideration of alternatives to
pre-trial detention such as conditional release and bail schemes.
Consideration should also be
given to the use of traditional and local level mechanisms - where
they are compatible with
international human rights principles and rules - as a means of
diverting children from contact
with the more formal criminal justice system.
24. The Committee recommends that States parties make every
effort to ensure, in
recruiting staff to care for children in all types of institutions, that
due attention is given to the
need to ensure the capacity of staff to make effective use of non-
violent methods of discipline.
Institutions should adopt anti-bullying and anti-violence
strategies and policies, and provide
training for staff in their implementation.
25. The Committee recommends that special training be given to
encourage direct
dialogue between police and children living or working in the
streets. It also recommends that
States parties develop community-based support systems for
such children, provide access to
social workers and promote education or employment training
opportunities without requiring
26. The Committee recommends that urgent attention be given to
ensuring the
establishment and effective functioning of systems to monitor the
treatment received by children
deprived of a family or alleged or recognized to have infringed
penal law, and to provide advice
to improve their care and condition. Such monitoring should:
(a) Ensure full access to facilities and records, and inspection of
all institutions (both
public and private, and including police stations and penal
(b) Permit unannounced visits, and include the holding of private
consultation with
children and staff;
(c) Monitor the status and condition of the children and their
development, rather
than focus only on the state of the facilities or the provision of
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(d) Provide input for the regular review of placements;
(e) Make adequate provision for reporting or complaints to be
received from the
institution, staff, children themselves, their parents or legal
guardians, and from NGOs or other
institutions of civil society, while providing appropriate protection
from reprisals, particularly for
children and staff;
(f) Include mandatory reporting by staff of incidences of violence;
(g) Ensure that children are informed and aware about the
existence and functioning
of complaints mechanisms, that they are involved in the design of
appropriate mechanisms, and
that their special needs are taken into account (for example, by
avoiding the need for children to
repeat their statements unless absolutely necessary), including
those with disabilities, different
linguistic abilities, etc;
(h) Provide full guarantees of independent and thorough
investigation of any
complaints, including judicial investigation for any deaths or cases
of grievous bodily harm, and
ensure that the perpetrators of violence are appropriately
disciplined, including, when warranted,
the possibility of dismissal and the bringing of criminal charges;
(i) Ensure that full reports on any investigations are made public
(while maintaining
the rights of the child to privacy) and made known to relevant
government officials and
policy makers.
27. The Committee recommends that medical and psychological
services and
rehabilitation provided to children in care or in detention be
provided independently of the
authorities running such institutions, and that provision be made
to ensure that children can
participate in the monitoring of the conditions of care.
28. The Committee recommends that consideration be given to
the establishment of
services to provide counselling, advice and support for child
victims of violence including, for
example, telephone hotlines or similar mechanisms.
29. The Committee draws the attention of States parties, United
Nations bodies and
agencies, organizations of civil society and other bodies to the
need to ensure that adequate
resources are allocated to the protection and rehabilitation of
children in care and of children
alleged or recognized to have infringed penal law, so as to
ensure effective prevention of all
forms of violence.
30. The Committee reminds States parties that under the
provisions of article 4 of the
Convention, only “economic, social and cultural rights” are subject
to implementation to the
“maximum extent of available resources” while States parties
“shall undertake all appropriate
legislative, administrative and other measures” for the
implementation of all other rights,
including the right of children to be free from torture, and cruel
and inhuman or degrading
treatment (in accordance with art. 37 (a)) and the right to be
protected from all forms of violence
and abuse (art. 19).
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31. The Committee encourages States parties and donors of
international technical
assistance to allocate resources to programmes and measures
designed to improve prevention,
protection and rehabilitation mechanisms for children exposed to
all forms of State violence.
32. The Committee recommends that States parties ensure that
additional resources
are allocated to improve the conditions under which children are
cared for or held, including by
improving the professional status of those working for or in
contact with children. It urges States
parties and others to ensure that available resources are used in
the manner most conducive to
preventing and protecting children from all sorts of violence. The
Committee calls attention to
the need to consider the allocation of resources as part of the
effort to review the relevant
Role of non-governmental organizations
33. The Committee encourages non-governmental organizations
to devote increased
attention to the prevention of and protection of children from
State violence. It urges NGOs to
consider providing legal assistance to children and their
advocates and assisting Governments to
formulate appropriate prevention, protection and rehabilitation
measures, in addition to
monitoring the situation of children in vulnerable circumstances.
34. The Committee encourages NGOs in particular to support
States parties and
children in efforts to ensure that children’s views and experiences
of violence are heard and
taken into account in public debate and policy.
35. The Committee points out that NGOs in their provision of
services to children
should ensure that the State does not avoid its own obligations
by delegating NGOs to provide
services and care to children without providing both the
necessary resources and appropriate
36. In accordance with the provisions of article 45 (a) of the
Convention, the
Committee encourages NGOs to prepare and present to it
information regarding all forms of
violence against children, including culturally “acceptable” forms.

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