COMMITTEE ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES
UNDER ARTICLE 44 OF THE CONVENTION
Concluding observations: Togo
1. The Committee considered the second periodic report of Togo (CRC/C/65/Add.27), submitted on 6 January 2003, at its 1017th and 1018th meetings (s see CRC/C/SR.1017 and 1018), held on 24 January 2005, and adopted at the its 1025th meeting (s ee CRC/C/SR.125), held on 28 January 2005, the following concluding observations:A. Introduction
2. The Committee welcomes the submission of the State party’s second periodic report despite the delay in its submission, its shortness and the little information it contained, as well as the detailed written replies to its list of issues (CRC/C/Q/TGO/2). It further notes with appreciation the presence of a high-level delegation sent by the State party and welcomes the frank dialogue that allowed for a better understanding of the situation of children’s rights in Togo.B. Follow-up measures undertaken and progress achieved by the State party
B. Follow-up measures undertaken and progress achieved by the State party
3. The Committee welcomes the recent ratification by the State party of a number of important H human R rights instruments , such as the Optional Protocols Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography in 2004, the ILO Convention No. 182 concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour on the worst forms of child labour in 2000, the ratification in 1998 of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child in 1998 and , the ratification in 2004 of the UN United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime in 2004, as well as the drafting of a children’s code.
4. The Committee is encouraged by:
(a) The translation and relatively wide publication and distribution of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and of the previous concluding observations of the Committee;
(b) The creation of the Comités régionaux for the implementation of the Convention;
(c) The 1998 adoption of a strategy on education in 1998;
(d) The 1998 adoption in 1998 of the a law prohibiting female genital mutilation.C. Factors and difficulties impeding the implementation of the Convention
5. The Committee notes that the State party is among the group of least developed countries and that a large part of the population lives below the poverty line.
D. Main Principal areas of concern and recommendations
1. General measures of implementation
(articles 4, 42 and 44, paragraph 6 of the Convention)
The Committee’s previous recommendations
6. The Committee regrets that many of the concerns and recommendations (CRC/C/15/Add.83 of 10 October 1997) it made upon consideration of the State party’s initial report (CRC/C/3/Add.42) have been insufficiently addressed, especially those regarding the contained in para. 32 (the coordination among governmental bodies (para. 32), para. 33 (the development of a data-collection system (para. 33), para. 36 (the persistence of discriminatory practices (para. 36), para. 39 (birth registration (para. 39), para. 40 (corporal punishment (para. 40), para. 44 (child abuse, including ill-treatment within the family (para. 44) , para. 48( and harmful traditional practices (para. 48).
7. The Committee urges the State party to make every effort to address those recommendations from in the concluding observations of on the initial report that have not yet been implemented and to address the list of concerns contained in the present concluding observations on the second periodic report.Legislation
8. The Committee welcomes article 140 of the Constitution of 1992, giving primacy to international conventions over domestic laws and regulations. However, the Committee remains concerned that the project of the draft Code de l’enfant , as finalized in 2001, still contains a number of discrepancies with the Convention.
9. While noting the revision under way of the Code de l’enfant, the Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Revise , as a matter of priority , domestic law and especially the project of the draft Code de l’enfant through a participatory process, involving various ministries, children, the civil society and international agencies in order to ensure full compliance with the Convention;
10. While noting the mandate of coordination given to the National Committee for the Promotion and Protection of Children’s Rights (CNE) and to the Direction générale de la protection de l’ enfance, t he Committee is concerned at the lack of a clear structures and mechanisms for the effective coordination of measures of implementation of the Convention.
11. The Committee recommends that the State party strengthen the coordination, at all levels, of the implementation of the Convention:
(a) By providing a designated coordinating body within the G governmental structure, such as the CNE if it is reinforced, with a clear mandate and with adequate human and financial resources for its coordinating role;
(b) By involving the civil society, in particular non‑governmental organizations (NGOs) , in the process.
The State party is encouraged to seek technical assistance from, among others, the United Nations Children’ s Fund (UNICEF).Independent M monitoring
12. The Committee is concerned at the lack of an independent monitoring body for the implementation of the Convention as well as at the lack of independence and resources of for the Commission nationale des droits de l’homme.
13. The Committee recommends that the State party, in accordance with the Committee’s G general C comment no No. 2 (2002) on the role of independent N national H human R rights I institutions in the promotion and protection of the rights of the child, establish an efficient and independent body with a clear mandate for monitoring and evaluating progress made in the implementation of the Convention. If the Commission nationale des droits de l’homme is entrusted with this mandate, the Committee recommends that the State party:
14. The State party is further encouraged to seek technical cooperation in this regard from, among others, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR ) and UNICEF.National Plan of Action
15. The Committee is concerned at the lack of a mid and long-term comprehensive national policy and plan of action for the promotion and protection of the rights of all children in the State party.
16. The Committee strongly recommends that the State party adopt and implement, in consultation and cooperation with relevant partners, including civil society, a national plan of action and a national policy for the implementation of the Convention, with mid and long-term targets, which that covers all areas of the Convention and takes into account the outcome document of the 2002 UNGA Special Session on children, “A World Fit for Children”, adopted by the General Assembly at its special session on children held in 2002 , and provides for adequate follow‑up mechanisms. The State party is encouraged to ensure that adequate resources are available for the implementation of the National Plan of Action and to seek international assistance in this respect, including from OHCHR and UNICEF .Resources for children
17. The Committee is concerned by reports of widespread corruption, which has a negative impact on the level of resources available for the implementation of the Convention. It is also concerned at the sharp decrease of in public expenditure for on education , and for health. It is further concerned at the lack of funds available for children living under below the poverty line and for those who are in need of alternative care.
18. The Committee recommends that the State party pay particular attention to the full implementation of article 4 of the Convention by:
19. The Committee regrets the lack of statistical data in the State party’s report and is concerned at the lack of an adequate data‑collection mechanism within the State party to permit the systematic and comprehensive collection of quantitative and qualitative data for all areas covered by the Convention allowing for disaggregated data analysis.
20. The Committee recommends that the State party continue to improve its system of data collection to cover all areas of the Convention and ensure that all data and indicators are used for the formulation, monitoring and evaluation of policies, programmes and projects for the effective implementation of the Convention. The State party is further encouraged to strengthen its technical cooperation with, among others, UNICEF and the United Nations Development Programme UNDP to ensure the speedy establishment of a centralized system for data collection and analysis.Dissemination of the Convention
21. The Committee notes with appreciation the efforts undertaken by the State party to translate and disseminate the Convention in into national languages. The Committee is , however , of the opinion that these measures are insufficient , and need to be further strengthened and implemented in an ongoing, comprehensive and systematic basis manner.
22. The Committee recommends that specific measures be taken to make the Convention available to and known by children, parents, teachers, the police, health and social workers, local leaders and other professionals working with children.Co-operation Cooperation with NGOs
23. The Committee is concerned about the little involvement of the civil society and NGOs in the implementation of the Convention, in particular at the policy‑making level.
24. The Committee recommends that the State party strengthen its cooperation with NGOs by involving more systematically NGOs and other sectors of civil society working with and for children throughout all stages of the implementation of the Convention.
2. General principles (articles 2, 3, 6 and 12 of the Convention)
25. While noting the efforts made by the State party to address the issue, the Committee notes with concern that societal discrimination persists against vulnerable groups of children, in particular girls and children with disabilities. In particular, the Committee reiterates the concern of the Human Rights Committee (CCPR/CO/75/TGO of 28 November 2002) of 28 November 2002 and of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (E/C.12/1/Add.61 of 21 May 2001) of 21 May 2001, about “continuing discrimination against … girls with respect to access to education, employment and inheritance”.
26. With references reference to the recommendations made in this regard by the Human Rights Committee and the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Committee urges the State party to conduct undertake an in‑depth revision review of all legislations its legislation, including the Individuals and Family Code and the 1998 Nationality Code of 1998, in order to fully guarantee the application of the principle of non‑discrimination in domestic laws and compliance with article 2 of the Convention, and to adopt a proactive and comprehensive strategy to eliminate discrimination on any grounds and against all vulnerable groups, especially girls and children with disabilities, and children living in remote areas.
27. The Committee requests that specific information be included, in the next periodic report, on the measures and programmes relevant to the Convention on the Rights of the Child undertaken by the State party to follow up on the Declaration and Programme of Action adopted at the 2001 World Conference A against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, and taking account of the Committee’ s G general C comment no No. 1 (2001) on article 29(1) of the Convention (aims of education ).Best interests of the child
28. The Committee is concerned that in actions concerning children, the general principle of the best interests of the child , as contained in article 3 of the Convention , is not a primary consideration, including in matters relating to family law (e.g. custody under the law is determined by the child’s age rather than the child’s best interests).
29. The Committee recommends that the State party review its legislation and administrative measures to ensure that the principle of the best interests of the child is explicitly incorporated therein and that it is a primary consideration in all decisions, programmes and policies concerning children, at the national and local level, in courts, in schools and other institutions, in the family and in the society at large.Right to life
30. The Committee is deeply concerned by about reports of killing , in certain areas , of children born with disabilities, malformations, skin discolouration discoloration, as well as children of children born with teeth, or from mothers who died during delivery.
31. While taking note of the discussions that took place with the practitioners authors of the se killings, the Committee urges the State party to urgently to take all necessary measures to prevent the occurrence of such killings , to occur and to prosecute those responsible for these such crimes and to raise awareness of among the population at large about of the need to eradicate such practices.Respect of for the views of the child
32. The Committee welcomes the fact that children may be heard in court hearings , and that awareness‑ raising campaigns for raising awareness of parents have been undertaken . It also welcomes and the activities of the National Children’s Parliament. However, the Committee remains concerned that opportunities for the child to express his/her own views in the family, in schools and in the community are still scarce and rarely go beyond the step of representation.
33. The Committee recommends that the State party review its legislation and administrative measures to ensure that article 12 of the Convention is duly reflected and taken into consideration , in courts, in schools and other institutions, in the family, in local communities and in society at large. In particular, the Committee recommends that the State party:
3. Civil rights and freedoms (articles 7, 8, 13-17 and 37(a) of the Convention)
Birth registration and right to nationality
34. The Committee is concerned that mothers cannot pass their nationality to their child their children, and that children born out of wedlock or children with a foreign fathers may, in some instances, be denied Togolese citizenship and/or left stateless.
35. The Committee, while noting the various efforts made by the State party in this regard, is concerned by at the low rate of registration of birth, due largely due to the lack of awareness of on the part of the population about of the registration procedure, to high fees and to long distances to the civil registry service centres.
36. The Committee recommends that the State party reforms reform its citizenship laws, including the 1998Nationality Code of 1998, in order to ensure the transmission of citizenship through both the maternal and paternal line, in accordance with article 32 of the 1992Constitution of 1992.
37. The Committee also recommends that the State party strengthen its efforts and enacts enact appropriate legislation, supported by awareness‑raising campaigns concerning the importance of birth registration and by a reorganization of civil registry services in local communities, in order to achieve 100% 100 per cent birth registration at the earliest time possible, and to ensure the registration of children who had not been registered at birth. Meanwhile, children who have no birth registration certificate s should be allowed to access to basic services, such as health and education, while preparing to be registered properly.Corporal punishment
38. The Committee is deeply concerned that corporal punishment of children remains legally and socially accepted, and consequently is common in families and schools and other institutions for children, despite the Committee’s previous recommendations (CRC/C/15/Add.83) and the 1980 Order of the Ministry of Education issued in 1980.
39. The Committee recommends that the State party:
40. The Committee is concerned that access to information and material from a diversity of national and international sources is very limited for persons under 18 years of age in the State party. The Committee is further concerned at the little protection provided to children from viewing offensive and pornographic materials.
41. The Committee recommends that the State party take appropriate measures to allow access to appropriate information from a diversity of sources, especially those aimed at the promotion of the child’s social, spiritual and moral well-being and physical and mental health.
4. Family environment and alternative care (articles 5; 9-11; 18 (paras.1-2); 19-21; 25; 27 (para.4); and article 39 of the Convention)
42. The Committee is concerned about the vague adoption procedures, the occurrence of informal adoption and the absence of mechanisms to review, monitor and follow-up adoption, especially intercountry adoptions.
43. The Committee recommends that the State party take all necessary measures to protect adopted children even in the extended family, including by establishing a system to monitor and supervise effectively the system of adoption of children, in the light of article 21 of the Convention. The Committee further recommends that the State party consider ratifying the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in respect of Inter-country Intercountry Adoption of 29 May 1993.Family support and recovery of maintenance
44. The Committee is concerned that many children live with single mother s or in a vulnerable socio-economic family environment, and that recovery of maintenance from fathers is weak.
45. The Committee recommends that the State party take all necessary measures:
46. The Committee is concerned at the high large number of children victims of violence, abuse and neglect, including sexual abuse, in schools, in detention centres, in public places and in the family.
47. The Committee recommends that the State party:
48. While noting the installation of access ramps in hospitals for disabled and the promulgation on 23 April 2004 of the Act 2004/005 on the social protection of persons with disabilities, the Committee is concerned that children do not have access to health-care services in the first place. In addition , the Committee is concerned that:
49. The Committee recommends that the State party:
50. While acknowledging the improvements in the health‑care sector, in particular the establishment of clinics in rural areas and the activities implemented to improve the nutrition of children, the Committee is particularly concerned at the increasing infant mortality rate, the high levels of child and maternal mortality rate s, the low birth- birth weight, child malnutrition, the low brest-feeding breastfeeding rate, the low rate of immunization, the prevalence of infectious diseases, mosquito‑born diseases , including malaria, and the lack of access to safe drinking water and sanitation. The Committee is further concerned by about the disparity between the number of health centres in the rural and the urban areas.
51. The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Develop and implement a long‑term comprehensive policy with a strong emphasis on early childhood development and community health in which measures will be taken to:
To decrease reduce significantly infant and maternal mortality rates;
To ensure universal access to maternal and child health‑care services and facilities, including in rural areas;
To strengthen its efforts to ensure that all children have access to basic health care, in both urban and rural areas;
To prioritize the provision of safe drinking water and sanitation services, especially in rural areas;
To prevent malnutrition, malaria and other mosquito-born diseases;
To immunize as many children and mothers as possible;
To promote exclusive breastfeeding until the age of 6 months;
52. While noting the measures taken to prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS from mothers to children and the creation of the National Committee on HIV/AIDS Prevention, the Committee is concerned about the prevalence of HIV/AIDS and that no education for youth on HIV/AIDS exists.
53. The Committee recommends that the State party:
54. The Committee notes While noting the existence of a family planning information programme , . However, the Committee remains concerned at the high large number of early pregnancies. The Committee is further concerned that these issues this issue remain s a problem for adolescents and that there is no organized system of reproductive health counselling and services, nor education on STIs sexually transmitted infections for youth exists.
55. The Committee recommends that the State party develop a comprehensive policy on adolescent health , which that promotes collaboration between State agencies and NGOs in order to establish a system of formal and informal education on HIV/AIDS and STIs sexually transmitted infections, and ensures access to reproductive health counselling and services for all adolescents, even when married.Harmful traditional practices
56. The Committee welcomes the promulgation of Act No. 98‑106 prohibiting female genital mutilation. However, the Committee is deeply concerned at its persistence along with other practices harmful to the health of children, particularly the girl child, including forced and early marriages, dowry disputes, initiation rites such as scarification, and rites regarding girls training in voodoo priesthood.
57. While noting the measures taken to combat harmful traditional practices, the Committee recommends that the State party:
6. Education, leisure and cultural activities (articles 28, 29 and 31 of the Convention)
58. The Committee is concerned that the public spending on expenditures dedicated to education are is low, that primary education is not free and that the enrolment rate, especially of girls, is low. The Committee is also concerned that, despite the waiving or reducing of fees for girls and economically disadvantaged children, education is not free, that secondary education is not affordable to many children, and consequently that universal compulsory free education has not been achieved.
59. The Committee is further concerned by concerned about:
60. The Committee is concerned by about the lack of leisure and play areas and activities available to children.
61. The Committee recommends that the State party:
62. In the light of article 31 of the Convention, the Committee recommends that the State P party take the necessary measures to set up appropriate playgrounds and leisure activities for children.
7. Special protection measures
63. The Committee welcomes the ratification by the State party party’s ratification of ILO Conventions No. 138 concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment in 1984 and No. 182 concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour in 1984 and 2000 respectively and the strategies implemented to prevent and combat child labour. Nevertheless, it remains concerned at the high large number of children working in the informal sector, in factories, as domestic servants, and on the streets.
64. The Committee recommends that the State party to further strengthen the implementation of the Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour launched in 2001 by the Ministry of the Civil Service, Labour and Employment and to ensure that the Programme establishes mechanisms to reach and to protect children employed in the informal sector.
65. The Committee recommends that the State party continue its efforts to eliminate child labour, in particular by addressing the root causes of child economic exploitation through poverty eradication and access to quality education, as well as by developing a comprehensive child labour monitoring system in collaboration with NGOs, community-based organizations, law enforcement personnel, labour inspectors and ILO-IPEC.Drug abuse
66. The Committee welcomes the adoption on 18 March 1998 of Act No. 98/008 on drugs control of 18 March 1998,and the setting up in 1996 of the National Anti‑Drug Committee (CNAD) and in 2000 of the National Anti‑Drugs Plan. However, the Committee remains concerned by about the high large number of children, in particular street children, using and selling drugs.
67. The Committee recommends that the State party:
68. The Committee is concerned by at the high large number of children living and working on the streets , and by at the vulnerability of these children to various forms of violence, including sexual abuse and economic exploitation, economic exploitation, and at the lack of a systematic and comprehensive strategy to address the situation and protect these children, and at the very poor registration and tracing of missing children by the police .
69. The Committee recommends that the State party:
70. While noting the efforts made by the State party to prevent and combat sexual exploitation of children, the Committee is concerned that:
71. The Committee recommends that the State party:
72. The Committee welcomes the adoption of the National Plan of Action on the fight against child trafficking for commercial exploitation and labour in 2001 as well as the establishment of the Comités de vigilance . However, the Committee is concerned that the Plan of Action did not sufficiently involve the civil society and is not efficiently implemented. It is further concerned that trafficking of children is not a separate offence under the law, despite the wide scope prevalence of the phenomenon. The Committee is further concerned by at the lack of measures taken to combat and protect children from sale, trafficking and abduction.
73. The Committee recommends that the State party:
74. The Committee is concerned about the absence of a juvenile justice system compatible with the provisions and principles of the Convention, particularly about:
75. The Committee recommends that the State party to review its legislation, policies and budgets to ensure the full implementation of juvenile justice standards, in particular article 37 (b) and article 40, paragraph 2 (b) (ii)‑(iv) and (vii) of the Convention, as well as the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (the Beijing Rules), the United Nations Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency (the Riyadh Guidelines), the United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty and the Vienna Guidelines for Action on Children in the Criminal Justice System , and in the light of the Committee’s 1995D day of G general D discussion on the A administration of J juvenile J justice , held in 1995 . In this respect, it is specifically recommended that the State party:
(c) i In cases where deprivation of liberty is unavoidable:
76. The Committee welcomes the ratification by the State P party of the 2002Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography and the signature signing in 2001 of the 2002Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict. It recommends that the Committee consider ratifying the latter.
77. The Committee recommends that the State party consider ratifying the 2002Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict. It further invites the State party to submit its initial report under the 2002Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography and in due time, i.e. on 2 August 2006.
9. Follow-up and dissemination
78. The Committee recommends that the State party to take all appropriate measures to ensure the full implementation of the present recommendations, inter alia, by transmitting them to the members of the Council of Ministers, the Parliament and to provincial authorities for appropriate consideration and further action.Dissemination
79. The Committee further recommends that the second periodic report and written replies submitted by the State party and related recommendations (concluding observations) it adopted be made widely available, including through the Internet (but not exclusively), to the public at large, civil society organizations, youth groups, professional groups , and children in order to generate debate and awareness of the Convention, its implementation and monitoring.10. Next report
80. The Committee, aware of the delay in the State party’s reporting, wants wishes to underline the importance of a reporting practice which that is in full compliance with the rules set out in article 44 of the Convention. Children have the right that the UN Committee in charge of regularly examining the progress made in the implementation of their rights, does have the opportunity to do so. In this regard, regular and timely reporting by State States parties is crucial. As an exceptional measure, in order to help the State party catch up with its reporting obligations so as to be in full compliance with the Convention, the Committee invites the State party to submit its third and fourth periodic reports in one consolidated report by 1 September 2007, the due date for the submission of on which the fourth periodic report is due. The State party should consider seeking technical assistance in this regard from OHCHR and UNICEF. The consolidated report should not exceed 120 pages (s see CRC/C/118). The Committee expects the State party to report thereafter every five years thereafter, as foreseen by the Convention.