Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Guinea-Bissau, U.N. Doc. CRC/C/15/Add.177 (2002).



Twenty Ninth session


Concluding Observations of the Committee on the
Rights of the Child: Guinea Bissau

1. The Committee considered the initial report of Guinea-Bissau (CRC/C/3/Add.63) at its 780th to 781st meetings (see CRC/C/SR.780-781), held on 22nd May 2002, and adopted At the xxxth meeting, held on 7th June 2002. the following concluding observations.

A. Introduction

2. The Committee welcomes the submission of the State Party´s frank and informative initial report and the written replies to its list of issues (CRC/C/Q/GUIB/1). The Committee welcomes also the high level delegation and the constructive dialogue that took place.

B. Positive factors

3. The Committee welcomes:
a) the initiation of the process of ratification by parliament in December 2001, of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child:
i. on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflicts.
ii. on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography
b) the ratification in 2000, of the 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and their Destruction and the creation of the National Council for Anti Mines Action.

4. The Committee also welcomes:
a) the creation of the Institute for Women and Children in 2000.
b) the fact that the Committee against harmful practices has been legally institutionalised.
c) the prohibition, under law, of corporal punishment in the family and schools and other contexts.

5. The Committee notes the State party's:
a) efforts to consult children through the "children's fortnight" mechanism placing emphasis on children's views over a two week period and the holding of a children's parliament.
b) development of the "FIRKIDJA" programme in support of basic education and focusing on access to education, the quality of education and strengthening education management.
c) efforts to improve understanding and knowledge of children's rights among the general public and children through information campaigns, including the "children's voice" radio programme as described in the State party report at, inter-alia, paragraphs 67, 97 and 123.

C. Factors and difficulties impeding the
implementation of the Convention

6. The Committee notes with deep concern that a series of factors very seriously impede the implementation of children's rights, notably in the areas of health and education. The Committee notes, in particular, that the armed conflict in 1998/1999 had a very damaging impact on the country's infrastructure including upon education and health services. The Committee recognises the very poor economic conditions in the State party, the weight of the State's external debt, that a large proportion of the population lives in deep poverty and that the country ranks very low on the Human Development Index. Finally, the Committee notes the low literacy level among the population in general and the burden of longstanding traditions some of which hinder the Convention's implementation.

D. Principal subjects of concern, suggestions and recommendations

D1. General measures of implementation (arts. 4, 42 and 44, paragraph 6 of the Convention)


7. The Committee is concerned to note that:
a) There is "an absence of specific legislation on the implementation of the Convention" (as indicated in the State party report, paragraph 61).
b) The law on Children's and Women's Protection, which was approved by Parliament in 1997, has not been implemented and that the status of this law, according to the delegation, is unclear.
c) The review of, inter-alia, penal law and family and labour legislation has not produced concrete results so far.
d) Customary law which does not fully comply with the Convention is applied much more often than national legislation, particularly on issues relevant to children, girls/women and the family.

8. Noting as a positive step the reactivating by the Parliament of the Ad Hoc Commission for the Child and Woman, the Committee urges the State party:
a) To strengthen and speed-up the process of revision and harmonisation of national laws in the light of and in accordance with the principles and provisions of the Convention.
b) Take the necessary steps, including involvement of community and traditional leaders, to bring customary law practices into compliance with the provisions and principles of the Convention.
c) Seek technical assistance from UNICEF and OHCHR

Implementation, co-ordination, monitoring and national plan of action

9. While noting the creation of the National Council for Childhood (see paragraphs 100 and 126 of the State party report) and the recent establishment of the Institute of the Woman and the Child (see the State party replies to the list of issues, Part III), the Committee remains deeply concerned by:
a) the lack of a well defined and comprehensive children's rights policy and up to date national plan of action for the implementation of the Convention.
b) the many difficulties encountered in the coordination and evaluation of the Convention's implementation.
c) a lack of monitoring of the Convention's implementation.

10. The Committee urgently recommends that the State party:
a) develop and implement a comprehensive child rights policy and National Plan of Action, to replace the 1992 Plan.
b) provide the National Council for Childhood or the Institute of the Woman and the Child with the necessary financial and human resources in order to allow one of these bodies to perform the role of promoting and coordinating the activities for the implementation of the rights of women and children.
c) the Committee urgently recommends that the State party establish an independent and effective mechanism in accordance with the Paris Principles relating to the status of national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights (General Assembly resolution 48/134), provided with adequate human and financial resources and easily accessible to children.
d) seek technical assistance from UNICEF and OHCHR.

Resources for children

11. The Committee is deeply concerned that budget allocations for services, such as health and education are extremely low and, in addition, that the single dependence on foreign assistance raises concerns as to the sustainability of the required resources. The Committee notes, further, that teachers and many other State employees often do not receive their salaries.

12. Toward strengthening its implementation of article 4 of the Convention, and in the light of articles 2, 3, and 6, the Committee recommends that the State party:
a) establish a clear policy on the allocation of resources in favour of children, including those resources allocated by international agencies or bilateral assistance.
b) prioritise budgetary allocations to ensure implementation of the rights of children, to the maximum extent of available resources and, where needed, within the framework of international cooperation.
c) Ensure the payment of salaries to State employees whose work is essential to respect for children's rights.

Data collection

13. The Committee is concerned at the absence of reliable data and the lack of an adequate data collection mechanism.

14. The Committee urges the State party to:
a) systematically collect disaggregated quantitative and qualitative data incorporating all the areas covered by the Convention and covering all children below the age of 18 years.
b) give particular attention to data with regard to those children in need of special protection.
c) Use the data collected to support monitoring and evaluation of the Convention's implementation.
d) seek technical assistance from inter alia, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and UNICEF.

Co-operation with NGOs

15. Noting the State party's strong collaboration with national and international NGOs and the major contribution made by NGOs to the Convention's implementation, the Committee is convinced that the NGO contribution and collaboration the State Party's collaboration with NGOs could be strengthened further and become more systematic.

16. The Committee recommends that the State party
a) Continue and further strengthen its systematic collaboration with NGOs.
b) Improve coordination of State party activities with those of NGOs with regard to the Convention's implementation, including through the establishment of a coordination mechanism for this purpose.

Dissemination of the Convention

17. While noting the State party's efforts to promote the Convention, including in schools, the Committee remains concerned that there is insufficient awareness of the Convention among children, professionals working with children, parents and the public in general.

18. The Committee recommends that the State Party:
a) Strengthen its efforts to disseminate the principles and provisions of the Convention, as a measure to sensitise society on children's rights.
b) Involve local communities in its programmes in order to prevent and combat customs and traditions that impede the implementation of the Convention and ensure that dissemination efforts reach, inter-alia, parents, persons who are illiterate and children themselves.
c) Undertake systematic education and training on the provisions of the Convention for all professional groups working for and with children, in particular parliamentarians, judges, lawyers, law enforcement officials, civil servants, municipal and local workers, personnel working in institutions and places of detention for children, teachers, health personnel, including psychologists, paediatricians and social workers.
d) Consider introducing human rights education, including on the rights of the child, into all schools' curricular and extra-curricular activities.
e) Seek technical assistance from, inter alia, UNICEF.

D2 Definition of the child (article 1 of the Convention)

19. The Committee is concerned that:
a) Differences in the minimum legal age of marriage for girls (14) and boys (16) is discriminatory, and that in practice the marriage of girls at age 13 or 14 is common.
b) That boys under age 16 are legally permitted to join the armed forces, if they have parental agreement and that children well under age 16 were recruited into armed forces in 1998 and 1999, during the internal armed conflict.

20. The Committee recommends that the State party:
a) Raise the minimum legal age of marriage of girls so that it is the same for girls as for boys and enforce respect for this minimum age.
b) Clearly define the legal minimum age at which children can be recruited into the armed forces, raising the age limit to comply, at a minimum, with the standards set in the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict and ensure enforcement of these standards.

D3. General principles (Arts. 2, 3, 6 and 12 of the Convention)


21. The Committee is concerned that:
a) the list of criteria for which discrimination is prohibited under the Constitution, as described in the State party report (paragraph 146), is limited in relation to the Convention's article 2 and omits, notably, discrimination for political belief.
b) as noted in the State party report (paragraph 140) "girls are highly penalized not only at the level of the family but in society in general."
c) discrimination is prevalent against children with disabilities.

22. The Committee recommends that the State party:
a) amend legislation to ensure that it fully corresponds with the provisions of the Convention's article 2.
b) formulate policies and programmes with a view to addressing discrimination against specific groups of children, in particular girls and children with disabilities.

23. The Committee requests that specific information be included, in the next periodic report, on the measures and programmes relevant to the Convention on the Rights of the Child undertaken by the State party to follow up on the Declaration and Programme of Action adopted at the 2001 World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, and taking account of General Comment no 1 on article 29(1) of the Convention (aims of education).

Best interests of the child

24. The Committee is concerned that:
a) The principle of the "best interests of the child" has not been fully implemented by the State party or reflected in legislation, policy, programmes and activities.
b) As indicated by the State Party in its replies to the list of issues, the principle of the best interests of the child is not reflected at all in customary law.

25. The Committee recommends that the State party:
a) Urgently implement the principle of the best interests of the child through all of its activities related to children and the Convention's implementation including, inter-alia, in legislation, policy, programmes and activities.
b) Ask for international assistance to undertake a study on the best interest principle and its implementation, in order to ensure its wide application throughout Government and society.

Respect for the views of the child

26. Noting the establishment of the Children's Parliament and the Children's Fortnight, the Committee remains concerned that as noted in the State Party report (paragraph 155) children's opinions are not given sufficient consideration in Guinean society.

27. The Committee recommends that the State party ensure that children's views are given due consideration, in accordance with article 12 of the Convention, in the family, in schools and in all relevant administrative and other processes concerning them through, inter-alia, the adoption of appropriate legislation, the training of professionals and the establishment of specific activities in schools.

D4. Civil rights and freedoms (arts. 7, 8. 13-17 and 37 (a))

Name and nationality

28. Noting the significant efforts by the State Party to improve birth registration, the Committee remains concerned that not all children are registered at birth and that the imposition of a financial fine upon parents who register the birth of their child after the expiry of the official deadline is a hindrance to birth registration.

29. The Committee recommends that the State party:
a) Review its birth registration procedures, consider the abolition of sanctions for late registration, and continue to use creative means of raising birth registration (such as the use of mobile registration units in rural areas and sensitisation campaigns) toward ensuring the systematic registration of all births.
b) Seek technical assistance from UNICEF.

D5. Family environment and alternative care (arts. 5; 18 (paras. 1-2); 9-11; 19-21; 25; 27 (para. 4); and 39)

Ill-treatment and abuse

30. The Committee is concerned that
a) sexual abuse of children within the context of the family, including the extended family is a regular occurrence.
b) corporal punishment is widely practiced in the family.
c) domestic violence, particularly against women, is widespread and frequently used as a way to resolve family conflicts and that this violence, even when not directly inflicted upon a child, has a very negative impact on children's development.

31. The Committee recommends that the State party:
a) Undertake a study on the scope of abuse and ill-treatment of children in the family.
b) take steps to end the sexual abuse of children, including through improving the access of children and adults to reporting mechanisms, increasing investigation of cases and the prosecution of those persons responsible
c) combat the practice of corporal punishment of children in the family, including through the use of information campaigns on the harm it can cause and on the importance of alternative measures of discipline.
d) Take all appropriate measures to address and prevent domestic violence, whether physical or mental, within the family and to ensure the full protection of children against this type of violence.
e) Raise awareness among the public of the problem of domestic violence toward changing traditions that inhibit victims, particularly women and girls from reporting it.
f) Investigate cases of domestic violence, and sexual abuse, through a child-sensitive judicial procedure, and that sanctions be applied to perpetrators with due regard given to guaranteeing the right to privacy of the child.
g) in the light of articles 19 and 39 of the Convention, implement measures for reporting, referral, intervention and rehabilitation of victims, toward ensuring the recovery and reintegration of victims.
h) Take note of the recommendations of the Committee's Days Of General Discussion on "Violence Against Children."

Separation from parents and alternative care

32. The Committee is concerned that:
a) as noted in the State party report, there are insufficient administrative and judicial mechanisms through which children's rights can be protected when they are separated from their parents
b) alternative care for these children is insufficient.
c) the common use of "informal adoption" procedures can lead to the violation of children's rights.

33. The Committee recommends that the State party:
a) Strengthen the existing child protection structure or, if necessary, establish new structures through which the rights of the child are well protected
b) Establish, and/or strengthen, alternative care services (such as kinship, foster care and family type homes) which avoid as far as possible institutional care, and ensure that informal adoption procedures respect and contribute to the protection of the principles and provisions of the Convention.
c) Provide child protection workers (professionals and volunteers) with training (including on the Convention) and sufficient financial resources to fulfil their role.
d) Seek assistance through international cooperation, including from UNICEF.

D6. Basic health and welfare (arts. 6; 18, para. 3; 23; 24; 26; 27, paras 1-3)

34. The Committee is deeply concerned by:
a) the limited access to, capacity and quality of health care services, including in terms of distance between people's homes and health facilities, cost and the insufficient number of hospital beds and the limited availability of affordable and appropriate medication.
b) high rates of infant and maternal mortality, rates of malnutrition and inadequate immunisation and high mortality rates from malaria.
c) limited proportion of the population with access to safe water and adequate sanitation, including in schools, and related cholera and meningitis epidemics.
d) low levels of health education within communities.

35. The Committee recommends that the State party:
a) Significantly increase its expenditure on health.
b) Significantly improve children's access to health services and to medication including by strengthening the quality and capacity of health infrastructure, providing financial assistance or free medical care to those children and their families in need of such support and addressing the access concerns of those children living in isolated rural communities.
c) Take action to address specific concerns, including infant and maternal mortality, malnutrition, inadequate immunisation, rates of malaria, cholera and meningitis epidemics.
d) Take action to ensure the access of all children to drinking water and adequate sanitation, including in schools and to ensure adequate waste disposal arrangements.
e) Seek assistance through international cooperation in this regard.

Children with disabilities

36. While noting that a major effort was made to address the situation of children with disabilities from 1986 (see State Party report, paragraph 189), the Committee remains concerned that:
a) the rights of children with disabilities are very poorly respected (see State Party report paragraph 187), societal discrimination is prevalent against children with disabilities, including children with Down's syndrome and that there are cases of the killing of new born children who have physical disabilities.
b) as indicated in the State party report, the law does not prohibit discrimination against the disabled specifically, there is no law mandating accessibility for persons with disabilities and that existing legislation with regard to children with disabilities is not implemented.
c) there is a lack of health, educational or professional training facilities for children with disabilities (see State Party report, paragraph 147) and that, in particular, children with disabilities have very limited access to formal education.
d) Children with disabilities often have serious difficulty in gaining access to public buildings, including to hospitals and schools.

37. The Committee recommends that the State party, in the spirit of the UN Guidelines on Disabilities and the results of the Committee's Day of General Discussion on "The Rights Of Children With Disabilities":
a) Develop and/or amend legislation to ensure prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of disability and to ensure the access of children with disabilities to public transportation and public buildings, including all schools and hospitals.
b) Ensure the implementation of all legislative measures of protections with regard to children with disabilities with particular regard to non-discrimination and giving attention to practices such as the killing of new born children with disabilities.
c) Significantly strengthen its assistance to children with disabilities and ensure, inter-alia, their access to health, educational and professional facilities.
d) Review the recommendations made at the 1st National Conference on persons with disabilities (State Party report paragraph 190) and implement those recommendations which remain valid.
e) Revive services that have been established to assist persons with disabilities in the past, but which are no longer functioning, or functioning only in part (State Party report paragraph 195-198).
f) Seek international cooperation in this regard.

Adolescent health

38. The Committee is concerned that insufficient attention is given to the prevention of adolescent health concerns.

39. The Committee recommends that the State party strengthen its efforts to address adolescent health concerns, with a particular focus on prevention and including the provision of adequate reproductive health education.


40. The Committee is deeply concerned by the negative impact of the growing rate of HIV/AIDS infection on the cultural, economic, political, social and civil rights and freedoms of children infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS, including the Convention's general principles and with particular reference to rights to non-discrimination, to health care, education, food and housing as well as to information and freedom of expression.

41. The Committee recommends that the State party:
a) Integrate respect for the rights of the child into the development and implementation of its HIV/AIDS policies and strategies on behalf of children infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS, as well as their families, including by making use of the International Guidelines on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights (E/CN.4/1997/37) and with particular reference to children's rights to non-discrimination, health, education, food and housing, as well as the rights to information and freedom of expression.
b) Make every effort to provide for the treatment of children and their parents infected by HIV/AIDS.
c) Strengthen programmes to prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS and to ensure protection of the rights of AIDS orphans.
d) Take note of the results of the Committee's General Discussion on "Children Living In A World With Aids" (5th October 1998).
e) Seek international cooperation in this regard.

Harmful traditional practices

42. Noting the work undertaken to address female genital mutilation and other harmful practices, including through international cooperation, the Committee remains deeply concerned that:
a) As indicated in the State party report, the early marriage of girls - often around age 13 or 14 - is common (see State Party report paragraph 33) and can lead to poor health for girls.
b) Female genital mutilation is practiced widely within certain ethnic groups, especially the Fulas and the Mandinkas.
c) as indicated in the State party report (paragraph 202), traditional food taboos are common and thought to be one cause of malnutrition among children and mothers.

43. The Committee recommends that the State party:
a) Make every effort to combat practices involving the early marriage of girls, including through the involvement of community leaders and the use of education campaigns.
b) Continue and strengthen its efforts to end practices of female genital mutilation for example through legislative prohibition, the implementation and enforcement of legislation and through public awareness campaigns.
c) Take steps to end the practice of harmful traditional food taboos by children and mothers.
d) Strengthening and further supporting the work of the Committee against harmful practices.
e) Seek cooperation with other countries in the region with a positive experience in combating these harmful practices.

D7. Education, leisure and cultural activities (arts. 28, 29, 31)

44. Despite increases in enrolment over the last decade, the Committee remains concerned that:
a) Literacy rates and primary and secondary school enrolment rates among children are extremely low.
b) There are major differences in the access of children to education across the country.
c) Literacy and enrolment among girls are much lower than the already worrying rates for boys.
d) Primary education, where available, is of a low quality and many schools offer only the 1st and 2nd grades and few offer more than 4 years of education.
e) Schools lack adequate books and materials.
f) Only 1% of children have access to nurseries, kindergartens or similar institutions (see State Party report paragraph 217)
g) Many teachers have not received any formal training.
h) The number and quality of special education institutions are extremely limited.
i) 90% of education costs are supported by external assistance (see State Party report, paragraph 216).

45. The Committee recommends that the State party:
a) Raise the State party's contribution to the education budget to the maximum of available resources, while also continuing to seek support through international co-operation.
b) Strengthen education infrastructure including with regard to administration, management, educational planning, the quality of education in general, the training of teachers and other staff, the construction of additional schools and classrooms, and the provision and quality of text books and other school materials and equipment.
c) Consider strengthening the quality of primary and secondary school curricula, taking into consideration the Committee's general comment on article 29 (1) of the Convention and the aims of education (CRC/GC/2001/1, CRC).
d) Urgently take action to increase the proportion of child enrolment in primary school and completion of compulsory education.
e) Urgently give special attention to raising the proportion of girls completing their primary and secondary education including through affirmative action and similar special measures, by ensuring that girls have the same opportunities as boys to attend formal education and ensuring that the education of girls is seen, by parents, families and communities, as of equal importance as that of boys, and as a right of all children.
f) Make every effort to ensure that compulsory education is free for all children, including with regard to text books and uniforms for disadvantaged children and families.
g) Increase the number, capacity and quality of special education institutions
h) Seek technical assistance from UNICEF and UNESCO in this regard.


46. The Committee is concerned that children living in urban centers have very few areas, such as parks, in which they can play safely and that the State party report itself notes the absence of parks in the country (paragraph 230).

47. The Committee recommends that the State party:
a) Ensure the existence of areas, such as parks, within urban centers, which may be used by children for leisure activities.
b) Consider the adoption of legislation or administrative rules, and the allocation of an appropriate budget, to ensure that leisure areas for children are maintained as a priority in urban planning decisions.

D8. Special protection measures (arts. 22, 38, 39, 40, 37 (b)-(d), 32-36)

Children in armed conflict

48. The Committee is concerned that:
a) Children were involved in the recent internal armed conflict, inter-alia, as combatants and that many children may have suffered from psychological trauma as a result.
b) Child soldiers may not have received support toward demobilisation and family and social reintegration.
c) There continue to be a considerable number of landmines that place children at risk.

49. The Committee recommends that the State party:
a) Ensure the demobilisation of all under age soldiers, providing such children with assistance to this end and in family and social reintegration.
b) Take steps to assess and respond to the needs of child soldiers in terms of psychological assistance.
c) Continue its land mine detection programme.
d) Seek international assistance in the form of technical support, including from UNICEF, in this regard.

Commercial exploitation

50. While noting the efforts underway to address this concern, the Committee is concerned that as noted in the State Party report, the economic exploitation of children is extremely serious and growing worse (paragraphs 250-253, SP report) and that, in particular (paragraph 142 SP report) the numbers of children working in the non-formal sector is increasing and that children are often compelled to perform the same work as adults and in highly difficult and dangerous conditions.

51. The Committee recommends that the State party make every effort:
a) to combat the economic exploitation of children through labour, with particular regard to the informal work sector.
b) to ensure respect for the minimum age of employment, in accordance with international standards.
c) ensure that working children above age 14 benefit from adequate and full protection, including with regard to conditions of work and pay.
d) make every effort to ensure that those children who do work continue to have access to education.
e) to ratify and implement ILO Conventions 138 concerning the Minimum Age for Admission to Employment and 182 concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour

Street children

52. The Committee is concerned at the number and situation of street children in urban regions of the State Party.

53. The Committee recommends that the State Party make every effort to provide assistance to these children and to address the causes leading children to life on the streets.

Sexual exploitation, trafficking

54. The Committee is concerned by the lack of information regarding the activities of the very high proportion of children who do not go to school. There are indicators that these children may, in urban areas, be involved in prostitution or may spend much time on the street where they are vulnerable to many kinds of exploitation (for example, in drug-trafficking, sexual exploitation, drug abuse).

55. The Committee recommends that the State party:
a) undertake a study to asses the situation of children not attending school and to implement, based on the results of the study, all appropriate measures to effectively protect children from all forms of exploitation, including through prevention and the rehabilitation and recovery of child victims.
b) prepare a Plan of Action to address the sexual exploitation of children taking note of the recommendations made in the Declaration and Agenda for Action and the Global Commitment adopted at the 1996 and 2001 World Congresses against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children.
c) seek regional cooperation in this regard.

Substance abuse

56. Noting the State Party's efforts in this regard, the Committee is concerned that, as indicated in the State Party report, substance abuse by children is a major concern.

57. The Committee recommends that the State party take action to combat substance abuse by children, including through public education campaigns and seek regional cooperation in this regard.

Administration of justice

58. The Committee is concerned that, as noted by the State Party report:
a) (see paragraph 106), with regard to "the judicial level of services" legislation is insufficient and ineffective, and that the judicial system lacks courts and trained staff to deal with juveniles.
b) there are no institutions for the prevention of crime among minors and for their rehabilitation (paragraph 241).
c) minors are sometimes held with other persons (for example, adults or convicted persons) from whom they should normally be separated.
d) that the rights of children are not fully respected in instances where customary law is applied.

59. The Committee recommends that the State party:
a) Amend and/or adopt and implement legislation providing for the full application of juvenile justice infrastructure, in accordance with the provisions of the Convention and other international standards.
b) In this regard, develop mechanisms and provide adequate resources, including with regard to the establishment of juvenile justice courts, to ensure the full implementation of juvenile justice standards and in particular articles 37, 40 and 39 of the Convention, as well the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (the Beijing Rules) and the United Nations Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency (the Riyadh Guidelines).
c) Ensure that detention or imprisonment of children is used only as a measure of last resort and that children are detained or imprisoned separately from adults.
d) Make efforts to ensure that the practice of traditional law, where it involves children, is in full accordance with the rights afforded to children under the Convention.
e) Seek assistance from, inter alia, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human rights, the United Nations Centre for International Crime Prevention, the International Network on Juvenile Justice, and UNICEF through the United Nations Coordination Panel on Technical Advice and Assistance on Juvenile Justice.

Dissemination of the reports

60. Finally, in light of article 44, paragraph 6, of the Convention, the Committee recommends that the initial report and written replies submitted by the State party be made widely available to the public at large and that the publication of the report be considered, along with the relevant summary records and concluding observations adopted thereon by the Committee. Such a document should be widely distributed in order to generate debate and awareness of the Convention and its implementation and monitoring within all levels of administration of the State party and the general public, including concerned non-governmental organizations.


61. In light of the recommendation on reporting periodicity adopted by the Committee and described in its report of the 29th Committee session (CRC/C/114), the Committee, aware of the considerable delay in the State party's reporting, underlines the importance of a reporting practice that is in full compliance with the provisions of article 44 of the Convention. An important aspect of States' responsibilities to children under the Convention includes ensuring that the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has regular opportunities to examine the progress made in the Convention's implementation. In this regard, regular and timely reporting by State parties is crucial. The Committee recognises that some State parties experience difficulties in initiating timely and regular reporting. As an exceptional measure, in order to help the State party catch up with its reporting obligations in full compliance with the Convention, the Committee invites the State party to submit its 2nd, 3rd and 4th reports in one consolidated report by the 18th September 2007. The Committee expects the State Party to report thereafter every 5 years, as foreseen by the Convention.


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