COMMITTEE ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE 8 OF THE OPTIONAL PROTOCOL TO THE CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD ON THE INVOLVEMENT OF CHILDREN IN ARMED CONFLICT
Concluding observations: Kuwait
The Committee considered the initial report of Kuwait (CRC/C/OPAC/KWT/1) at its 1301st and 1302nd meetings (CRC/C/SR.1301 and 1302), held on 24 January 2008, and adopted at its 1313th meeting, held on 1 February 2008, the following concluding observations.
The Committee welcomes the submission of the State party’s initial report, as well as the submission of the written replies to its list of issues (CRC/C/OPAC/KWT/Q/1/Add.1). The Committee also appreciates the constructive dialogue with a large and inter-sectoral delegation.
The Committee reminds the State party that these concluding observations should be read in conjunction with its previous concluding observations, adopted on the State party’s initial report on 26 October 1998 (CRC/C/15/Add.96), and with the concluding observations adopted on the State party’s initial report on the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (CRC/C/OPSC/KWT/CO/1).
The Committee welcomes the State party’s:
(a)Declaration upon ratification of the Optional Protocol that it is committed to maintaining a minimum age of 18 for voluntary and compulsory recruitment;
(b)Accession to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, on 26 August 2004;
(c)Ratification of International Labour Organization Convention No. 182 concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour, on 15 August 2000;
(d)Accession to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction, on 30 July 2007.
I. General measures of implementation
Coordination and evaluation of the implementation of the Optional Protocol
The Committee notes that the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of the Interior bear the main responsibility for implementation of the Optional Protocol. The Committee also takes note with appreciation of the establishment in 2007 of the Higher Council for the Family and Children to deal with child rights issues.
The Committee encourages the State party to consider giving the Higher Council for the Family and Children the main responsibility for coordination and evaluation of, inter alia, the implementation of the Optional Protocol.
Dissemination and training
The Committee notes with appreciation the existence of high level training and capacity building programmes for professionals dealing with Kuwaiti children.
The Committee encourages the State party to create and strengthen training and capacity building programmes for professionals dealing with non-national children, including stateless children.
The Committee, while noting the State party’s efforts to consolidate its data collection system, expresses concern that data collection and analysis of areas covered by the Optional protocol are inadequate, including information on former child soldiers entering Kuwait.
The Committee encourages the State party to put in place a data collection system encompassing all the areas covered by the Optional Protocol and to ensure that such data will be disaggregated in way that focuses on victims of acts prohibited under the Optional Protocol.
Public awareness and peace education
The Committee, while noting the information on human rights education provided by the State party in its written replies, is concerned that human rights education, including peace education, is not an element of the curricula of all schools at all levels.
The Committee recommends that the State party strengthen its efforts to provide human rights education and, in particular, peace education, for all children in schools at all levels and to train teachers with respect to including these themes in children’s education.
III. Prohibition and related matters
Criminal legislation and regulations in force
The Committee notes with appreciation that the Kuwaiti Army Act prohibits the involvement of persons under the age of 18 in hostilities. While the Committee takes note of the State party’s indication that there are no armed groups in the country distinct from the armed forces, it nevertheless regrets the lack of legislation on the issue of child recruitment in order to protect children from recruitment abroad.
In order to strengthen international measures for the prevention of the recruitment of children and their use in hostilities by the State or any other entity, the Committee recommends that the State party:
Ensure that the violation of the provisions of the Optional Protocol regarding the recruitment and involvement of children in hostilities is explicitly criminalized in the State party’s legislation;
Ensure that military codes, manuals and other military directives are in accordance with the provisions of the Optional Protocol;
Consider ratifying the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
While the Committee notes that the State party’s legislation provides in some cases for extraterritorial jurisdiction, it notes that no specific provisions exist providing for extraterritorial jurisdiction in the case of recruitment or involvement of children in hostilities when committed by or against a person who is a citizen or has other direct links with the State party.
The Committee recommends that the State party review and revise its current legislation in order to establish extraterritorial jurisdiction for crimes regarding the recruitment and involvement of children in hostilities when they are committed by or against a person who is a citizen of or has other links with the State party.
The Committee welcomes the efforts of the State party to conclude bilateral agreements relating to extradition, but notes the lack of an explicit reference in the State party’s legislation to the possibility of extradition of persons who committed offences addressed in the Optional Protocol.
The Committee encourages the State party to ensure that explicit reference is made in extradition agreements to the possibility of extraditing persons who have committed offences under the Optional Protocol.
IV. Protection, recovery and reintegration
The Committee notes that the State party provides programmes, activities and services for child victims of crimes. The Committee also notes with interest that the Office of Social Development conducts specialized training courses which inter alia familiarize parents with children’s psychological and social problems and advise them on how to deal with such problems. The Committee also notes the existence of the “Martyr’s Bureau” which is intended to help the children of persons considered “martyrs” by the State party to adapt psychologically and socially to daily life. The Committee is however concerned that there are no programmes specifically addressing the areas covered by the Optional Protocol.
The Committee encourages the State party to create and strengthen protection, recovery and reintegration programmes which are specific to the areas covered by the Optional Protocol.
V. International assistance and cooperation
The Committee notes with appreciation the State party’s programmes of international cooperation. The Committee also notes with appreciation the indication by the State party that it is considering increasing the amount of financial assistance to its cooperation programme with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
The Committee encourages the State party to allocate a component of its international assistance and cooperation programmes to the implementation of activities covered by the Optional Protocol.
VI. Follow-up and dissemination
The Committee recommends that the State party take all measures to ensure the full implementation of the present recommendations, inter alia, by transmitting them to the members of the Cabinet, the National Assembly, the Ministry of Defence and governorate authorities, where applicable, for appropriate consideration and further action.
The Committee recommends that the initial report and written replies submitted by the State party and the related concluding observations adopted by the Committee be made widely available to the public at large in order to generate debate and awareness of the Optional Protocol, its implementation and monitoring.
VII. Next report
In accordance with article 8, paragraph 2, the Committee requests the State party to include further information on the implementation of the Optional Protocol in its next periodic report under the Convention on the Rights of the Child due, in accordance with article 44 of the Convention, which was originally due in 1998.