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COMMITTEE ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD HOLDS SEVENTY-SEVENTH SESSION IN GENEVA FROM 15 JANUARY TO 2 FEBRUARY 2018

Committee to Review Reports of Sri Lanka, Guatemala, Panama, Seychelles, Spain, the Solomon Islands, Palau, and the Marshall Islands
11 January 2018

The Committee on the Rights of the Child will hold its seventy-seventh session at the Palais Wilson in Geneva from 15 January to 2 February 2018, during which it will review the situation of children’s rights and the implementation of the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Sri Lanka, Guatemala, Panama, Seychelles, Spain, the Solomon Islands, Palau, and the Marshall Islands.

At the opening meeting at 10 a.m. on Monday, 15 January, the Committee will adopt its agenda and programme of work, and discuss organizational matters. In the afternoon, the Committee will proceed to consider the reports of the countries under review.

Sri Lanka is presenting its combined fifth and sixth periodic report under the Convention (CRC/C/LKA/5-6). The Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on its combined third and fourth periodic report, considered in September 2010, can be found in CRC/C/LKA/CO/3-4.

Guatemala is presenting its combined fifth and sixth periodic report under the Convention (CRC/C/GTM/5-6). The Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on its combined third and fourth periodic report under the Convention, considered in September 2010, can be found in CRC/C/GTM/CO/3-4.

Panama is presenting its combined fifth and sixth periodic report under the Convention (CRC/C/PAN/5-6). The Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on its combined third and fourth periodic report, considered in September 2011, can be found in CRC/C/PAN/CO/3-4.

Seychelles is presenting its combined fifth and sixth periodic report under the Convention (CRC/C/SYC/5-6) and the Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on its combined second to fourth periodic report, considered in September 2011, can be found in CRC/C/SYC/CO/2-4.

Spain is presenting its combined fifth and sixth periodic report under the Convention (CRC/C/ESP/5-6). The Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on its combined third and fourth periodic report, considered in September 2010, can be found in CRC/C/ESP/CO/3-4.

The Solomon Islands is presenting its combined second and third periodic report under the Convention (CRC/C/SLB/2-3) by videoconference with UNICEF Fiji. The Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on its initial periodic report under the Convention, considered in May 2003, can be found here: CRC/C/15/Add.208.

Palau is presenting its second periodic report under the Convention (CRC/C/PLW/2) by videoconference with UNICEF Fiji. The Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on its initial periodic report under the Convention, considered in January 2001, can be found here: CRC/C/15/Add.149.

The Marshall Islands is presenting its combined third and fourth periodic report under the Convention (CRC/C/MHL/3-4) by videoconference with UNICEF Fiji. The Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on its second periodic report, considered in January 2007, can be found in CRC/C/MHL/CO/2.

The reports and other documents before the Committee, including the programme of work, are accessible on the session webpage.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified or acceded to by 196 countries, is the most widely accepted international human rights instrument. Its implementation by States parties is monitored by the Committee on the Rights of the Child, a body of 18 independent experts formed in 1991.

The Committee also monitors the implementation of three Optional Protocols to the Convention: the first on the involvement of children in armed conflict, the second on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, and the third on a communications procedure, which entered into force on 14 April 2014.

Convention on the Rights of the Child

The General Assembly adopted the Convention unanimously on 20 November 1989, 30 years after the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of the Child. The Convention renders States parties legally accountable for their actions towards children. Work on drafting the Convention began in 1979 – the International Year of the Child – at the Commission on Human Rights. The Convention was opened for signature on 26 January 1990. That day, 61 countries signed it, a record first-day response. It entered into force just seven months later, on 2 September 1990.

Ratifying the Convention requires a review of national legislation to ensure it meets the provisions of the treaty. The Convention, inter alia, stipulates that every child has the right to life, and that States shall ensure to the maximum extent possible the survival and development of the child; that every child has the right to a name and nationality from birth; and that the child's best interests shall be a primary consideration when they are dealt with by courts, welfare institutions or administrative authorities. The Convention recognizes the right of children to be heard.

States shall ensure that each child enjoys full rights without discrimination or distinction of any kind, and that children should not be separated from their parents, unless by competent authorities for their well-being. States shall facilitate the reunification of families by permitting travel into, or out of, their territories and protect children from physical or mental harm and neglect, including sexual abuse or exploitation. Children with disabilities shall have the right to education, special treatment and care; primary education shall be free and compulsory and discipline in school should respect the child's dignity; capital punishment or life imprisonment shall not be imposed for crimes committed before the age of 18; no child under 15 should take any part in hostilities and children exposed to armed conflict shall receive special protection. Children of minority and indigenous populations shall freely enjoy their own cultures, religions and languages.

Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography


Although the Convention requires States parties to prohibit the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, this Optional Protocol extends the measures that States parties must undertake to protect children from these violations of their human rights. The Optional Protocol not only defines the sale of children, child pornography and child prostitution, but also provides a non-exhaustive list of acts and activities which shall be criminalized by States parties. This criminalization also includes attempts, complicity, or participation in such acts or activities.

The Optional Protocol sets out the bases for States parties to assert jurisdiction over actionable practices relating to the sale of children, child prostitution, and child pornography (including extra-territorial legislation) and to make provisions about extradition of alleged offenders. Based on the principle of the best interests of the child, the Optional Protocol also sets forth provisions for protecting and assisting child victims during all stages of the criminal justice process. Preventive measures, as well as redress, rehabilitation and recovery of child victims, are also covered. For the implementation of all these provisions, the Optional Protocol asks for a close collaboration among States parties.

This Optional Protocol, adopted by the General Assembly in May 2000 entered into force in 2002, and has been ratified by 174 States to date.

Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict

The Optional Protocol establishes that no person under the age of 18 shall be subject to compulsory recruitment into regular armed forces, and imposes an obligation on States to raise the minimum age for voluntary recruitment to at least 16 years. Upon ratification of or accession to the Optional Protocol, countries must deposit a binding declaration stating their minimum age for voluntary recruitment and the safeguards in place to ensure that that recruitment is voluntary. States parties to the Protocol shall also ensure that members of their armed forces under 18 years of age do not take direct part in hostilities. In addition, armed groups separate from the armed forces of a State should not, under any circumstances, recruit or use in hostilities persons under 18. States parties are required to take all feasible measures to prevent the recruitment and use of children by any groups, including the criminalization of such practices.

The Optional Protocol entered into force in 2002 and is currently ratified by 167 States.

Optional Protocol on a Communications Procedure

A third Optional Protocol was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 19 December 2011. The Protocol opened for signature on 28 February 2012 and entered into force on 14 April 2014, three months after the deposit of the tenth instrument of ratification.

The Optional Protocol provides for a Communications Procedure to allow individual children to submit complaints regarding specific violations of their rights under the Convention and the first two Optional Protocols, similar to those that already exist for other core human rights treaties. Upon receiving a complaint, the Committee will examine it to determine whether the Convention has been violated and if so, will make specific recommendations for action to the State responsible. Under the Optional Protocol, the Committee may now initiate inquiries into grave and systematic violations of the Convention and its first two Optional Protocols. The Optional Protocol also provides for an inter-state communications procedure. The Committee adopted the rules of procedure for this Optional Protocol (CRC/C/62/3) during its sixty-second session.

To date, 37 States have ratified it: Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Samoa, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine and Uruguay.

Committee Membership

The following Experts currently serve in the Committee: AHO ASSOUMA Suzanne (Togo); ALDOSERI Amal Salman (Bahrain); AYOUBI IDRISSI Hynd (Morocco); CARDONA LLORENS Jorge (Spain); GASTAUD Bernard (Monaco); KHAZOVA Olga (Russian Federation); KOTRANE Hatem (Tunisia); LUMINA Cephas (Zambia); MADI Gehad (Egypt); MEZMUR Benyam Dawit (Ethiopia); NELSON Clarence (Samoa); OTANI Mikiko (Japan); PEDERNERA REYNA Luis Ernesto (Uruguay); RODRÍGUEZ REYES José Angel (Venezuela); SANDBERG Kirsten (Norway); SKELTON Ann Marie (South Africa); TODOROVA Velina (Bulgaria); and WINTER Renate (Austria).

Ms. Winter is the Chair. The Vice-Chairs are Ms. Aho Assouma, Ms. Khazova, Mr. Nelson and Mr. Rodriguez Reyes. Mr. Gastaud is the Rapporteur.

Programme of Work

Monday, 15 January
10 a.m. Opening of the session, adoption of the agenda

3 p.m. Report of Sri Lanka (CRC/C/LKA/5-6)

Tuesday, 16 January
10 a.m. Sri Lanka (continued)

3 p.m. Report of Guatemala (CRC/C/GTM/5-6)

Wednesday, 17 January
10 a.m. Guatemala (continued)

3 p.m. Report of Panama (CRC/C/PAN/5-6)

Thursday, 18 January
10 a.m. Panama (continued)

3 p.m. Report of Seychelles (CRC/C/SYC/5-6)

Friday, 19 January
10 a.m. Seychelles (continued)

3 p.m. Closed meeting

Monday, 22 January
10 a.m. Report of Spain (CRC/C/ESP/5-6)

3 p.m. Spain (continued)

Tuesday, 23 January
9 a.m. Report of Solomon Islands (CRC/C/SLB/2-3) by videoconference with UNICEF
Fiji

3 p.m. Closed meeting

Wednesday, 24 January
Closed meetings

Thursday, 25 January
9 a.m. Report of Palau (CRC/C/PLW/2) by videoconference with UNICEF Fiji

3 p.m. Closed meeting

Friday, 26 January
Closed meetings

Monday, 29 January
9 a.m. Report of Marshall Islands (CRC/C/MHL/3-4) by videoconference with UNICEF
Fiji

3 p.m. Closed meeting

Tuesday, 30 January
Closed meetings

Wednesday, 31 January
Closed meetings

Thursday, 1 February
10 a.m. Closed meeting

3 p.m. 10th informal meeting with States

Friday, 2 February
10 a.m. Closed meeting

5 p.m. Public closing of the session


For use of the information media; not an official record

CRC18.001E