Child Rights at India’s Third Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights Council

Government of India’s Response
child rights

A total of 73 recommendations were made on child rights by different countries on a range of issues. Of these,Government of India (GOI) has accepted 59 and noted 14.

If one were to compare the status of the recommendations with the UPR II cycle, it is encouraging to see the increase of interest on issues concerning children.  During the second Universal Periodic Review in May 2012 at the UN Human Rights Council, India had received 50 recommendations.

It is interesting to see this new usage of the term NOTED as in UPR I and UPR II, GOI would either say ACCEPTED or NOT ACCEPTED. What is the significance of NOTED? Does it mean GOI will take action or consider taking action? Or does it mean Noted but no action!

There does not seem to be a pattern that GOI has followed while deciding whether or not to accept a recommendation on an issue.  The GOI has given different response for the same recommendation floated by different countries on the same issue. For example, Recommendation No 161.14 by Ireland on Ratification of ILO convention 138 and 182 was ‘Noted’ while the same recommendation from Slovania and Uruguay (161.38 and 161.40) was ‘Accepted’. Similarly, while some recommendations by some countries pertaining to honour crimes are ‘Accepted’, the same in the case of other countries are ‘Noted’.

The government has very clearly decided not to accept the recommendations related to repealing of the proviso that allows children to work in family based occupations in the Child and Adolescent Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986.

GOI has accepted all recommendations received on Education, except the one on inclusion of Human Rights Education in the education policy (recommendation from Zambia) although it has accepted the recommendation to include the same in the curriculum (recommendation from Slovakia).

While GOI has stated its acceptance to take steps to ‘combat child marriage’ it is not yet ready to Endharmful practices such as child, early and forced marriage.

Similarly the non –acceptance of the need  address “honour killings”, selective abortion on thebasis of the foetus’ sex, the Sati, Devadasi, early and enforced marriage,foeticide and infanticide is also a matter of concern. Perhaps it is due to the fact that the recommendation includes marital rape and the government has a strong opinion on that already.

We are sure that the GOI has its own logic and reasons for deciding what it has ACCEPTED and what it has NOTED, but it is not always clear from the reading of it. Perhaps it is do with the combination of recommendations from a country in one statement, rather than the individual elements in them is the reasoning behind why it is either accepted or noted. 

Following is the detailed table of recommendations and status of acceptance by the GOI.

161.10PORTUGALRatify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedures.NOTED
161.32.KENYAAccede and implement the Article 7 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child to end statelessness and guarantee nationality for affected childrenNOTED
161.151SLOVAKIAEnsure children’s rights to acquire a nationality in accordance with Article 7 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, regardless of the parents’ legal status or ethnicityNOTED
161.14IRELANDRatify the International Labour Organization Conventions 138 and 182 on child labour.NOTED
161.37UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN & NORTHERN IRELANDDevelop a national strategy to tackle exploitative labour practices and to ratify the 2014 ILO protocol to the Forced Labour Convention and continue to strengthen protections for childrenNOTED
161.38SLOVENIARatify International Labour Organization Convention 182 on Worst Forms of Child Labour and International Labour Organization Convention 138 on Minimum Age.ACCEPTED
161.40URUGUAYConsider accessing the 182 ILO Convention on the worst Forms of Child LabourACCEPTED
161.227SPAINProhibit child work in the family enterprises and extend the list of dangerous activities in line with the recommendations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child.NOTED
161.228SLOVAKIAConsider repealing the provision that allows children to work in family based occupationsNOTED
161.229BRAZILContinue strengthening national strategies to combat child labourACCEPTED
161.236FRANCEIncrease efforts to improve the rights of the child, notably through the effective application of the prohibition of child labour, as well as the rights of womenACCEPTED
161.237THAILANDEstablish a monitoring mechanism to oversee the effective implementation of the Child Labour Amendment Act, the National Child Labour Policy and the Accessible India Campaign to prevent exploitationofchildren and protect the rights of persons with disabilitiesACCEPTED
161.231CHILEContinue strengthening institutions to protect children and adolescent girls and boys, with a view to eradicating child labour.ACCEPTED
161.60PERUContinue efforts to eradicate child and forced marriageACCEPTED
161.196CANADAEnd harmful practices such as child, early and forced marriage.NOTED
161.197CZECHIAImprove the enforcement of the legal provisions prohibiting harmful and discriminatory practices against women and girls, in particular child marriages, dowry-related murders and honour killings, and ensure that all women without discrimination have access to public Services.ACCEPTED
161.218.ISRAELStep up its efforts to eradicate child marriage and so-called “honour crimes”ACCEPTED
161.219SIERRA LEONEStep up efforts to combat and eliminate child, early and forced marriagesACCEPTED
161.220HONDURASAdopt legislative measures and policies to prevent early or forced marriages.ACCEPTED
161.221GABONContinue and intensify the actions to prohibit child marriage.ACCEPTED
161.195ARGENTINATake urgent measures to put an end to harmful traditional practices such as the so-called “honour killings”, selective abortion on the basis of the foetus’ sex, the Sati, Devadasi, early and enforced marriage,bringing the perpetrators before justice, and guaranteeing assistance for victimsNOTED
161.217ICELANDEnsure that legislation defining the minimum legal age of marriage at 18 is enforced at all levels, everywhere in the countryACCEPTED
161.231CHILEContinue strengthening institutions to protect children and adolescents girls and boys, with a view to eradicating the practice of child marriageACCEPTED
161.201KYRGYZSTANTake additional serious measures to eliminate violence against women and children, including sexual violence.ACCEPTED
161.202VIETNAMContinue and strengthen measures to prevent and repress offences and violence against women and girls, including through early childhood education, awareness raising and enhancing effective mechanisms of reparationACCEPTED
161.214TIMOR-LESTEStrengthen legislations to combat sexual offences against children and women.ACCEPTED
161.216KENYAImplement the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act to increase the protection of Children from Sexual AbuseACCEPTED
161.230PORTUGALContinue to take all necessary measures to enhance the effectiveness of the protection of children, in particular in cases of sexual violence against childrenACCEPTED
161.232SLOVAKIADevelop specific guidelines for protection and support to the victims of child sexual abuse and their families undergoing trialACCEPTED
161.57ZAMBIACriminalize of all forms of sexual abuse of girls under 18 years of age, including marital rape and “honour crimes”NOTED
161.196CANADAImplement existing laws on all forms of violence and sexual violence against women and girls, including: “honour” crimes, female foeticide, and female infanticide; expand the definition of rape and sexual assault to include marital rape;NOTED
161.198GREECEStep up efforts for a comprehensive protection of women and girls, in  particular against sexual violenceACCEPTED
161.200JAPANTake more effective measures to protect and promote the rights of women and girls, as they continue to be subjected to widespread violence, discrimination and exploitationACCEPTED
161.205CHILEContinue strengthening institutions to protect children and adolescents girls and boys, with a view to eradicating sexual exploitation.ACCEPTED
161.87NORWAYAllocate adequate resources to realise the Sustainable Development Goals targets to reduce maternal mortality and end preventable deaths of newborns and children under five.ACCEPTED
161.177ZIMBABWETake steps towards improving access to health, especially access to maternal health, to adequate obstetric delivery services so as to reduce maternal and child mortalityACCEPTED
161.238BOTSWANATake all appropriate measures in the implementation of the 2015 Juvenile Justice Act to give opportunity for rehabilitation to children at 18 years and belowACCEPTED
161.117BELARUSContinue with relevant consultations and adopt a law on combating trafficking in personsACCEPTED
161.118CUBAContinue the consultation process with all concerned parties to elaborate a new project of the law against trafficking in personsACCEPTED
161.119LIECHTENSTEINContinue and redouble its efforts to combat trafficking in persons and modern slavery, including through better law enforcement to end impunityfor human traffickers and through initiatives aimed at destigmatizing andrehabilitating victims of traffickingACCEPTED
161.120HOLY SEEContinue to implement measures to stop the flow of trafficking in personsACCEPTED
161.121LEBANONStrengthen the national mechanisms to combat human trafficking and support victims and their rehabilitation.ACCEPTED
161.122PHILIPPINESAccelerate efforts towards combatting human trafficking, particularly in protecting and rehabilitating victims.ACCEPTED
161.123SENEGALContinue combatting human traffickingACCEPTED
161.125UKRAINEContinue improving the national legislative framework on the rehabilitation of victims of traffickingACCEPTED
161.233LIECHTENSTEINIntroduce legislation to prohibit corporal punishment of children in the home and in all other settings, including as a sentence under traditionalforms of justiceACCEPTED
161.234LIECHTENSTEINIntroduce comprehensive and continuous public education, awareness raising and social mobilization programs on the harmful effects, of corporal punishmentACCEPTED
161.235ZAMBIAEstablish a database of all case of violence against children and explicitly prohibit all forms of corporal punishment of children under 18 of age in all settingsACCEPTED
161.152BAHRAINRemove barriers prohibiting scheduled castes and schedule tribes from registering their births and obtaining birth certificates of their childrenNOTED
161.150MEXICOPromote and facilitate universal access to birth registration, especially for people living in extreme poverty, belonging to religious minorities or living in the remote areas of the country through the implementation ofmobile units and carrying out awareness-raising campaignsACCEPTED
161.153LIBYAContinue strengthening efforts aimed at promoting food security anderadicate all forms of malnutrition, in particular among children under the age of five.ACCEPTED
161.244AUSTRALIAEnsure that girls with disabilities are afforded the same right to education as all childrenACCEPTED
161.182LAO PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC REPUBLICContinue its efforts to ensure that all children have access to education at all levels and all categoriesACCEPTED
161.63SLOVAKIAExpand the scope of Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act and to promote human rights education in school curriculum.ACCEPTED
161.64ZAMBIAInclude human rights education in the draft new education policy.NOTED
161.183MYANMARContinue to take steps on providing inclusive and quality education for all.ACCEPTED
161.184QATARContinue its efforts in implementing its comprehensive policies to ensure quality education for all children.ACCEPTED
161.185VIET NAMPromote children’s right to education, especially the education on climate change adaptation and mitigation.ACCEPTED
161.186BRUNEI DARUSSALAMStep up its efforts to carry out the second phase of its Education for All programmes to focus on providing affordable and quality secondary education in the countryACCEPTED
161.187MEXICOIncrease investment in the universal, mandatory and free education by giving priority to measures to eradicate discrimination and exclusion that affect girls, children with disability, the Dalits group and marginalized personsACCEPTED
161.188KYRGYZSTANAccept more efforts to increase girls’ secondary education, includingensuring that schools are girl-friendly in all parameters.ACCEPTED
161.189HOLY SEEContinue to ensure access to education for all, especially children ofscheduled castes and tribes.ACCEPTED
161.181IRAQIncrease the government expenditure in the field of education.ACCEPTED
161.68MEXICOStrengthen capacity-building with regard to human rights for civil servants involved in the protection of women, girls and boys victims of violence and sexual abuseACCEPTED
161.212THAILANDFurther the implementation of relevant laws and policies as well astraining for public officials, to tackle sexual offenses and unfair treatment to womenACCEPTED
161.65EGYPTContinue and step up national efforts to train and guide security staffand other law enforcement officials in the field of human rightsACCEPTED
161.69HONDURASAdopt a comprehensive national plan on inclusion in order to combat persisting inequality, paying particular attention to persons in vulnerable situations such as women, children, persons with disabilities and minorities.ACCEPTED
161.168BULGARIAContinues its fight against poverty, lack of adequate food, safe water and sanitation, while paying special attention to the need to introduce a child rights-based approach in all policies.ACCEPTED
161.190COLUMBIAStrengthen the integration of the gender perspective in the formulation and implementation of policies.ACCEPTED
161.191SOUTH AFRICAEnsure implementation of the Gender Budgeting Scheme in all states and union territories.NOTED
161.226TURKEYAccelerate work on the protection of the rights of children and women in particular.ACCEPTED
161.124MALDIVESContinue efforts to improve social services that provide support to victims of human trafficking, forced labour, and those who have been sexually
161.193TIMOR-LESTERedouble efforts on ensuring gender equality and take measures to prevent gender discriminationACCEPTED




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