The Eritrean regime is facing another review by an international body – this time the Committee on the Rights of the Child.
It will look at – among other things: “the requirement for children in final year of schooling to attend military camps to complete their education; impact of prolonged duration and low wages of military service on conscripts’ children; child refugees and migrants fleeing Eritrea”.
The review will take place this week (19 and 20 May)
UN Committee to review Eritrea’s record on children’s rights
GENEVA (13 May 2015) – Eritrea’s record on children’s rights will be reviewed by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on Tuesday 19 May and Wednesday 20 May in sessions that will be webcast live.
Eritrea is one of the 195 states that have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child and so is required to undergo regular examinations of its record by the Committee of 18 independent experts.
The discussion between the CRC and the delegation from the Eritrean Government sessions will take place at Palais Wilson in Geneva at the following times:
19 May: 15:00-18:00 (16:00-19:00 in Eritrea)
20 May: 10:00-13:00 (11:00 – 14:00)
The sessions will be webcast at http://www.treatybodywebcast.org/.
Among the possible issues to be discussed: requirement for children in final year of schooling to attend military camps to complete their education; impact of prolonged duration and low wages of military service on conscripts’ children; child refugees and migrants fleeing Eritrea, children separated from their parents; steps to eliminate female genital mutilation and child marriage; maternal and child mortality; child malnutrition; lack of juvenile justice system.
The full list of issues and Eritrea’s submitted written report can be found here: http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?SessionID=829&Lang=en [See below]
The CRC’s concluding observations on Eritrea and the other countries being reviewed – Mexico, Ghana, Honduras, Ethiopia, Netherlands, Laos and Israel – will be published here on Wednesday 10 June.
List of issues in relation to the fourth periodic report of Eritrea
The State party is requested to submit in writing additional, updated information (10,700 words maximum), if possible before 20 April 2015.
The Committee may take up all aspects of children’s rights set out in the Optional Protocol during the dialogue with the State party.
In this section, the State party is requested to submit its responses to the following questions.
- Please provide the Committee with detailed information on the resources allocated for the implementation of children’s rights. Please also explain the measures taken to counter corruption in the State party.
- Please indicate to the Committee whether there is any intention to set up an independent body to receive and effectively address individual complaints by children.
- Please indicate any measures taken towards explicitly incorporating the right of the child to have his or her best interests taken as a primary consideration into the practice of the legislative, executive and judicial branches of power, by, inter alia, including reference to the best interests of the child in legislation regarding child custody, child protection, adoption and juvenile justice.
- Please provide the Committee with detailed information on the measures taken to prevent and combat stigmatization of, and discrimination against, children, in particular girls, children from nomadic communities, children belonging to ethnic minorities, children with disabilities, children affected by HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis or noma, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and intersex children.
- Please provide details on the requirement for children in their final year of schooling to attend military training camps to complete their high school education. Please comment on reports about the forced conscription of children into the military service, that a number of under-18s are currently serving in the Eritrean Defence Force, and about the frequent practice of Giffa.
- Please comment on the reported shooting of 13 children at the border in September 2014. Please indicate what measures are being taken to discontinue the current “shoot to kill” policy. Please also comment on reports that children captured while trying to flee the country are held without charge or trial, are subjected to torture, including sexual abuse, are sometimes given extrajudicial prison sentences and are taken to military training camps.
- Please comment on reports that children are abducted by the military and, with the help of the State party’s border surveillance, smuggled into other countries, where they are imprisoned, tortured or sexually abused in order to obtain ransoms from their relatives, who are threatened with the sale of the children to human traffickers.
- Please provide information on any measures taken to ensure that children’s views are given due consideration in all questions concerning them. Please provide the Committee with further detailed information on the statement in paragraph 127 of the State party report that Eritrean children who come from different ethnic groups have opportunities to air their views and opinions in situations where these are heard and respected.
- Please inform the Committee of the steps taken to reinitiate the birth registration system. Please also indicate the availability of mobile registration units, especially in rural and remote areas, placing particular focus on access for nomadic communities, internally displaced persons and persons living in refugee camps.
- With regard to corporal punishment, please inform the Committee of any progress made towards abolishing the right of correction or discipline and the right to administer lawful and reasonable chastisement. The Committee notes that some measures have been taken to promote alternative forms of discipline in the school context; however please indicate any awareness-raising efforts with regard to alternative measures targeting families.
- Please inform the Committee of any steps taken to criminalize marital rape. Please also indicate the measures taken, if any, to eliminate gender-based violence, and the number of shelters, including in remote and rural areas, to which women and children who are subjected to violence have access.
- Please provide the Committee with further detailed information on the measures taken to strengthen the implementation of Proclamation No. 158/2007 banning female genital mutilation (FGM), mentioned in paragraph 211 of the State party report, such as a national plan of action or increased information campaigns. Please also elaborate on the measures taken towards providing retraining and alternative sources of income for FGM practitioners.
- Please indicate the measures taken for the implementation of Proclamation No. 1/1991, prohibiting child marriage under the age of 18 years. With reference to paragraph 208 of the State party report, please also indicate whether there is any intention to abolish the legal exception of 14 years for girls and 16 years for boys to the minimum age of marriage. Please provide further details on the sensitization programmes to curb early marriage, mentioned in paragraph 208 of the State party report.
- Please provide the Committee with information on the safeguards currently in place to prevent the sale of children through illegal adoptions and on any steps taken towards ratification of the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption.
- Please provide information on the measures taken to include children with disabilities in all sectors of society, including the school environment, and to undertake long-term awareness-raising programmes in order to combat negative social attitudes towards children with disabilities.
- Please indicate the measures taken to further reduce the still high rate of maternal and neonatal mortality, and the large number of children suffering from stunted growth. Please also indicate to the Committee the current budget allocated to child health.
- Please indicate the measures taken to tackle the impact of noma, which predominantly affects malnourished children up to the age of 6. In addition, please indicate whether the State party has taken any initiatives to ask external partners such as the World Health Organization (WHO) or the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for help and support to combat the disease.
- Please elaborate on efforts made to combat poverty, including the close collaboration with external partners such as UNICEF or WHO.
- Please indicate the measures taken to increase the number of children currently attending school and to improve access to school for children from nomadic communities, in particular regarding the provision of sufficient learning materials and qualified teachers, and of safe drinking water and sanitation. Please also provide information on the outcome of the measures taken to increase girls’ school attendance and achievement, mentioned in paragraph 341 of the State party report, and indicate the number of girls who have benefited from those measures. In addition, please indicate any efforts made towards providing all schools with separate sanitation facilities for boys and girls, to prevent girls from missing school when they are menstruating.
- Please comment on reports that students who refuse to participate in military training are not allowed to sit their leaving examination or receive the school-leaving certificate, are denied access to further education and have their student identity documents taken away.
- Please indicate the measures taken to provide support to children in street situations and to study the root causes of the problem. Please also comment on reports of several cases of children in street situations being rounded up and imprisoned and beaten by the police.
- Please inform the Committee of the measures taken to prevent and combat child labour, and provide the Committee with further detailed information on the Maetot programme and how it complies with the State party’s prohibition of child labour, mentioned in paragraph 22 of the State party’s report.
- Please inform the Committee of the measures taken, if any, towards establishing a specialized juvenile justice system or courts for children.
In this section the Committee invites the State party to briefly (three pages maximum) update the information presented in its report with regard to:
- (a) New bills or laws, and their respective regulations;
- (b) New institutions (and their mandates) or institutional reforms;
- (c) Recently introduced policies, programmes and action plans and their scope and financing;
- (d) Recent ratifications of human rights instruments.
Data, statistics and other information, if available
- Please provide consolidated budget information for the last three years on budget lines regarding children and social sectors, by indicating the percentage of each budget line in terms of the total national budget and gross national product, and geographical allocation.
- Please provide, if available, updated statistical data (disaggregated by age, sex, ethnic origin, national origin, geographical location, and socioeconomic status) for the past three years on:
- (a) Children in military camps;
- (b) Child recruitment into the national armed forces;
- (c) Children being killed or captured while trying to flee the country;
- (d) Child marriage;
- (e) Female genital mutilation;
- (f) Children hurt or killed by stepping on unexploded devices, and the number of children sensitized on the topic.
- Regarding the situation of children deprived of a family environment, please provide data disaggregated by age, sex, socioeconomic background, ethnic origin and geographical location, covering the past three years, on the number of children:
- (a) Separated from their parents;
- (b) Separated from their parents because of their parents’ forced conscription into military service
- (c) Living in child-headed households;
- (d) Placed in institutions;
- (e) Placed with foster families;
- (f) Adopted domestically or through intercountry adoptions.
- Please provide data, disaggregated by age, sex, type of disability, ethnic origin and geographical location, for the past three years, on the number of children with disabilities:
- (a) Living with their families;
- (b) In institutions;
- (c) Attending regular primary schools;
- (d) Attending regular secondary schools;
- (e) Attending special schools;
- (f) Out of school;
- (g) Abandoned by their families.
- Please provide data, disaggregated by, inter alia, age, sex, socioeconomic background, geographical location and ethnic origin, for the past three years, on:
- (a) The enrolment and completion rates, in percentages, of the relevant age groups in pre-primary schools, in primary schools and in secondary schools;
- (b) The number and percentage of dropouts and repetitions;
- (c) The number of children from nomadic communities in school;
- (d) The teacher-pupil ratio.
- Please provide the Committee with an update on any data in the report which may have been outdated by more recent data collected or other new developments.
- In addition, the State party may list areas affecting children that it considers to be of priority with regard to the implementation of the Convention.
In Eritrea there are children growing up in prison, living in deplorable conditions. Many religious people, and journalists have been unjustly arrested and thrown into small crates, or underground dungeons, tortured, and deprived of water, food, exercise, and the freedom to live humanely. Whatever you do, do not enter this country without military support. You may never be seen again. Change must be accomplished in Eritrea, change that will free my sisters and brothers. Jailed members of Christian religions that have been decreed illegal are required to renounce their faith before they will be released. Three of Jehovah’s Witnesses—Paulos Eyassu, Isaac Mogos, and Negede Teklemariam—have been imprisoned since September 24, 1994. They are in the Sawa prison camp because of their conscientious objection to military service for religious reasons. The usual prison term for such a “crime” is three years. They are denied any visitors, including their families. No charges have been filed against them and they have never been given a trial. If they had been brought to trial and convicted, they would have been long-since freed. I pray for their release soon. It has been over 20 yrs. President Afwerki told them they will never be released. Even though the Eritrean Constitution, adopted in July 1996, guarantees in Article 14 (2): “No person may be discriminated against on account of . . . religion . . . or any other factors.” Article 19 (1) states: “Every person shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and belief.” Article 19 (4) guarantees: “Every person shall have the freedom to practice any religion and to manifest such practice.” (These quotes are from the draft text of the Constitution.) Meanwhile, as Paulos, Isaac, and Negede await justice, they keep their integrity, and remain strong by the power of the true God named Jehovah, and his newly installed heavenly government ruled by King Jesus Christ. “They Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Jw.org …Thanks, Diane Butler