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Concluding Observations, CRC/C/GBR/CO/5, 3 June 2016: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

III. Main areas of concern and recommendations

C. General principles (arts. 2, 3, 6 and 12)


21.The Committee is concerned that:

(c) Many children in certain groups, including Roma, gypsy and traveller children, children of other ethnic minorities, children with disabilities, children in care, migrant, asylum-seeking and refugee children and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex children, continue to experience discrimination and social stigmatization, including through the media.

22. The Committee recommends that the State party:

(c) Strengthen its awareness-raising and other preventive activities against discrimination and stigmatization and, if necessary, take temporary special measures for the benefit of children in vulnerable situations.

23. The Committee recalls its previous recommendation that the State party take urgent measures to address the “intolerance of childhood” and general negative public attitude towards children, especially adolescents, within society, including in the media.

Harmful practices

46.The Committee welcomes the enactment of the Serious Crime Act (2015) in England and Wales, which enables the courts to issue protection orders to protect potential or actual child victims of female genital mutilation. However the Committee is concerned at:

(b) Cases of medically unnecessary surgeries and other procedures on intersex children before they are able to provide their informed consent, which often entail irreversible consequences and can cause severe physical and psychological suffering, and the lack of redress and compensation in such cases.

47. With reference to its general comment No. 18 (2014) on harmful practices, the Committee recommends that the State party:

(b) Continue and strengthen preventive and protection measures to address the issue of harmful practices, including the collection of data, the training of relevant professionals, awareness-raising programmes, the provision of protection and care to the child victims and the prosecution of those found guilty of perpetrating such acts;

(c) Ensure that no one is subjected to unnecessary medical or surgical treatment during infancy or childhood, guarantee bodily integrity, autonomy and self-determination to children concerned and provide families with intersex children with adequate counselling and support;

(d) Provide redress to the victims of such treatment;

(e) Educate medical and psychological professionals on the range of sexual, and related biological and physical diversity and on the consequences of unnecessary interventions for intersex children.

E. Violence against children (arts. 19, 24 (3), 28 (2), 34, 37 (a) and 39)

Freedom of the child from all forms of violence

48. The Committee is concerned that:

(a) Bullying, including cyberbullying, remains a serious and widespread problem, particularly against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex children, children with disabilities and children belonging to minority groups, including Roma, gypsy and traveller children;

49. The Committee recommends that the State party:

(a) Intensify its efforts to tackle bullying and violence in schools, including by teaching human rights, building the capacities of students and staff members to respect diversity at school, improving students’ conflict-resolution skills, monitoring regularly the incidences of bullying at school and involving children in the initiatives and monitoring aimed at eliminating bullying;

(b) In the light of the recommendations resulting from the day of general discussion on digital media and children’s rights, train children, teachers and families on the safe use of information and communication technologies, raise awareness among children on the severe effects that online bullying can have on their peers and increase the involvement of social media outlets in the efforts to combat cyberbullying;

G. Disability, basic health and welfare (arts. 6, 18 (3), 23, 24, 26, 27 (1)-(3) and 33)

Health and health services

58. The Committee is concerned at the inequality in access to health services and health outcome, negatively affecting Roma, gypsy and traveller children, children belonging to other ethnic minorities, migrant children, children living in poverty and in deprived areas, children in care and in custody, children living with HIV/AIDS and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex children.

59. With reference to its general comment No . 15 (2013) on the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, the Committee recommends that the State party, the governments of the devolved administrations, overseas territories and Crown dependencies develop comprehensive and multisectoral strategies on child health:

(a) With the allocation to the maximum extent of available resources and a robust monitoring mechanism;

(b) With a strong focus on eliminating inequalities in health outcome and in access to health services;

(c) Addressing underlying social determinants of health.

Adolescent health

64. The Committee notes with appreciation the steady decrease in teenage pregnancies in the State party during the period under review. However, the Committee is concerned that:

(b) Relationships and sexuality education is not mandatory in all schools, its contents and quality varies depending on the school, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex children do not have access to accurate information on their sexuality;

65. With reference to its general comments No. 4 (2003) on adolescent health and development in the context of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and No. 15 (2013), the Committee recommends that the State party:

(a) Develop and adopt a comprehensive sexual and reproductive health policy for adolescents, with particular attention to reducing inequalities and with participation of adolescents;

(b) Ensure that meaningful sexual and reproductive health education is part of the mandatory school curriculum for all schools, including academies, special schools and youth detention centres, in all areas of the State party. Such education should provide age-appropriate information on: confidential sexual and reproductive health-care services; contraceptives; the prevention of sexual abuse or exploitation, including sexual bullying; the support available in cases of such abuse and exploitation; and sexuality, including that of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex children;

Link to full text of the report: Concluding Observations-CRC-UK-2016-eng