UN child rights committee in Geneva to review Sri Lanka

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child is meeting in Geneva from 15 January to 2 February to review children’s rights in Sri Lanka, Guatemala, Panama, Seychelles, Spain, Solomon Islands, Palau and Marshall Islands.

The Committee, which is composed of 18 independent experts, monitors how States that have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) are complying with their obligations.

During the meetings in Geneva, Committee members will hold question and answer sessions with the respective Government delegations.

The Committee’s final evaluation will be based on the written report and replies submitted by the State party, and the information provided supplied by the delegation as well as by other UN bodies and NGOs.

The sessions will be held at Palais Wilson, Ground Floor Conference Room, in Geneva and the review on Sri Lanka will be on January 15th and 16th. 

In its report submitted to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child head of the review, Sri Lanka says the present Government has made a policy decision to strengthen its engagement with the United Nations (UN) and other multilateral bodies, including UN treaty bodies.

This policy decision also characterises Sri Lanka’s continuing engagement with the Committee on the Rights of the Child.

The Government says with the end of the war in May 2009, Sri Lanka faced new challenges of development and national reconciliation that needed to be addressed.

These challenges included the rehabilitation of former LTTE recruits, particularly former child soldiers, reuniting them with their families, addressing educational needs, providing vocational training and reintegrating them into civilian life.

Other serious challenges included resettlement of displaced persons, de-mining, restoration of infrastructure throughout the country, particularly in the North and East, and advancing reconciliation among communities.

The Government also notes in its report that the matter of children as victims and witnesses of crime has been addressed in the Assistance to and Protection of Victims of Crime and Witnesses Act, No. 4 of 2015, which was enacted by the new Government in 2015.

The Government also says it has taken significant efforts to eliminate child labour. This includes adoption of a list of 51 hazardous occupations and/or working conditions in which the employment of children is prohibited. (Colombo Gazette)