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UNITED NATIONS
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York


CRC/02/20
1 February 2002

COMMITTEE ON RIGHTS OF CHILD CONCLUDES TWENTY-NINTH SESSION


Releases Final Conclusions and Recommendations on Reports of Lebanon,
Greece, Gabon, Mozambique, Chile, Malawi, Bahrain, and Andorra


The Committee on the Rights of the Child today concluded its three-week winter session and issued its final observations and recommendations on reports submitted to it by Lebanon, Greece, Gabon, Mozambique, Chile, Malawi, Bahrain and Andorra.

The eight countries, in keeping with their obligations as States parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, presented the Committee with written reports on their efforts to promote and protect children's rights, and sent Government delegations to discuss the documents and answer questions from the Committee's 10 independent Experts.

In reviewing the report of Lebanon, the Committee noted with satisfaction legislative changes made in light of its previous recommendations. The Committee acknowledged that the difficulties related to the destruction of much of the infrastructure during the conflict in Lebanon from 1975 to 1990, including the substantial reconstruction requirements, were factors impeding the implementation of the provisions of the Convention; it, however, said that it was concerned at allegations that children as young as 15 had been subjected to torture and ill-treatment during incommunicado detention. It strongly recommended that the State party enforce or review existing legislation.

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Conclusions and Recommendations on Country Reports

LEBANON

Among positive aspects, the Committee noted with satisfaction legislative changes made in Lebanon in light of its previous recommendations. It further noted with satisfaction the legislative changes and the adoption of several laws, including the law rendering education until the age of 12 free and compulsory. The Committee also noted Lebanon's commitment to the issue of children's rights and the efforts to collect reliable information on the situation of children as well as to disseminate and create awareness of the Convention, notably by integrating the Convention into school curricula.

The Committee acknowledged that the difficulties related to the destruction of much of the infrastructure during the conflict in Lebanon from 1975 to 1990, including the substantial reconstruction requirements, particularly in South Lebanon, as well as political instability and economic difficulties, were factors impeding the implementation of the provisions of the Convention.

The Committee, while noting that part of the national legislation had been amended, and continued to be reviewed, remained concerned about continuing inconsistencies of domestic legislation with the Convention, particularly in the areas of the right to nationality, age of marriage, custody, guardianship, inheritance and the rights of refugee children, among others. It recommended that the State party reinforce its efforts on law reform, particularly regarding the different confessional justice systems. It reiterated its recommendation for the State party to take all appropriate measures to ensure that the general principle of the best interests of the child was appropriately integrated in all legislation, as well as judicial and administrative decisions and in policies, programmes and services that had an impact on children.

The Committee said it was concerned at allegations that children as young as 15 had been subjected to torture and ill-treatment during incommunicado detention. It strongly recommended that the State party enforce or review existing legislation, with a view to preventing children being held incommunicado, and investigate in an effective way reported cases of ill-treatment of children; ensure that alleged perpetrators be transferred from active duty or suspended while they were under investigation, that they be dismissed and punished if convicted, and that court proceedings and sentences should be publicized; and that Lebanon train law enforcement personnel on child issues.

The Committee further said it was concerned that violence as a means of discipline in the home and at school was culturally and legally acceptable in Lebanon, and regretted that no follow-up to the Committee's previous recommendation on this issue had been initiated; and it was concerned that despite its prohibition by ministerial decision, corporal punishment was still practiced in schools. It urged the State party to urgently take all legislative measures to prohibit all forms of physical and mental violence, including corporal punishment and sexual abuse, against children in the family and the schools. It furthermore recommended that the State party conduct a study to assess the nature and extent of ill-treatment and abuse of children, and that it design policies and programmes to address it. And it recommended that Lebanon establish effective procedures and mechanisms to receive, monitor, and investigate complaints.

The Committee noted the achievements by Lebanon in the area of health care, notably the downward long-term trend in infant and child mortality and the improvements in the areas of immunization. However, it was concerned about the unequal enjoyment of the right to access to primary health care services by children in different parts of the country resulting in wide regional and social variations in infant and child mortality and quality care. It urged the State party to reinforce its efforts to allocate appropriate resources; ensure equal access to and equal health care to all children; initiate effective follow-up to its previous recommendation; and seek technical assistance from, among others, WHO and UNICEF.

The Committee said it was concerned about the high rate of Palestinian children living below the poverty line, as well as the lack of adequate access of many Palestinian children to many basic rights; it reiterated its recommendations that the State party seek ways of addressing the socio-economic problems among Palestinian children that affected them negatively.

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