UN Child Rights Committee issues findings on Madagascar and Netherlands


The Committee expressed concern over the severe impacts on children’s rights of cyclones, hurricanes, droughts, floods and other natural disasters caused by climate change. The experts urged Madagascar to take into account the vulnerabilities and needs of children, and to adopt specific policies and programmes to ensure better preparedness for the adverse effects of climate change and natural disasters.

Madagascar has been hard hit by extreme drought, particularly in the south of the country, causing widespread shortages of safe drinking water and food. The Committee was concerned about a large number of children suffering from severe acute malnutrition. Their situation is further compounded by multidimensional poverty and extreme deprivation, especially among single-parent households headed by women in rural areas. The Committee recommended that Madagascar take urgent measures to prioritize children who suffer from severe acute malnutrition, and to provide them with necessary treatment and nutrition.

The Committee was seriously concerned about reports that sexual exploitation of children is widespread and tolerated in Madagascar, especially in tourist destinations. It urged the State party to establish mechanisms, procedures and guidelines to ensure mandatory reporting, multi-agency intervention, investigation and prosecution of all cases of sexual exploitation and abuse of children. The Committee further asked Madagascar to strengthen the professional capacity to detect and investigate such cases and provide exploitation prevention training for parents and teachers.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands

The Committee was concerned about the regional disparities and de facto discrimination that affect children in disadvantaged situations. It recommended that the State party, which includes Aruba, Curaçao and St Maarten in the Caribbean, eliminate disparities in access to basic services for children among the different constituent countries and all municipalities. It called on the Netherlands to ensure that all municipalities have a child-friendly anti-discrimination service where children can easily report discrimination cases.

The CRC was concerned over the recent amendments to the Dutch Aliens Decree on asylum-seeking and refugee children, and the lack of legislation protecting the rights of asylum-seeking children in Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten. It recommended that the Netherlands ensure child-friendly asylum procedures are in place for all children under the age of 18. It further urged the Netherlands to prohibit and prevent the separation of asylum-seeking and migrant children from their parents and the detention and deportation of children across all constituent countries, including Aruba and Curaçao.

Regarding the negative impact of climate change on children’s rights, the Committee called on the Netherlands to take effective measures to mitigate the harmful effects of climate change, including the heightened risks of the rise in sea levels and stronger hurricanes in the Caribbean islands.

The above findings, officially named Concluding Observations, are now available online on the session webpage.

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