UN Child Rights Committee publishes findings on Finland, France, Jordan, Sao Tome and Principe, Türkiye and United Kingdom

The UN Child Rights Committee (CRC) today issued its findings on Finland, France, Jordan, Sao Tome and Principe, Türkiye and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, after reviewing the six States parties during its latest session.

The findings contain the Committee's main concerns and recommendations on implementing the Child Rights Convention as well as positive aspects. Key highlights include:

Concerning the high level of violence against children, including sexual harassment, rape, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, gender-based violence, and online violence, the Committee called on Finland to provide sufficient human and financial resources to effectively implement the Non-Violent Childhood action plan (2020-2025). It also asked the State party to take the necessary actions to stop all acts of violence against children, guarantee effective investigations into all such cases, and ensure that children have access to confidential and child-friendly complaint mechanisms.

The Committee was also seriously concerned about the detention of asylum-seeking and migrant children, the current practices governing unaccompanied children and family reunification, including legal and income barriers to family reunification, and the processing times of asylum applications. It urged Finland to end the detention of asylum-seeking and migrant children, grant asylum to all unaccompanied children, and remove legal and income obstacles to family reunification. It also asked the State party to shorten the processing times for asylum applications and to ensure that unaccompanied children are promptly assigned to a qualified guardian and receive regular support tailored to their specific needs.

The Committee raised concern over the increasing number of children and families living in poverty, who were also worst affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly children from single-parent families, children living in shantytowns and “emergency accommodation” for long periods of time. The Committee recommended that the State party eradicate child poverty throughout its territory and allocate the necessary human, technical and financial resources to programmes to support children and families most in need.

The Committee regretted that the situation of asylum-seeking and migrant children remained unchanged and was seriously concerned that France did not sufficiently consider the best interests of the child in all assessment processes. In particular, the Committee was deeply concerned about the continuous detention of families with children and unaccompanied children in waiting zones in airports and other administrative detention facilities with poor conditions and without judicial or administrative oversight. It urged France to immediately stop detaining children on immigration grounds, including in waiting zones. It also requested that the State party extend its obligation not to deprive children of their liberty to their parents, and that the authorities opt for non-custodial solutions for the whole family.  (...)  More