Committee on the Rights of the Child
19 September–7 October 2011
Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 44 of the Convention
Concluding observations: Italy
1.The Committee considered the consolidated third and fourth periodic report of Italy (CRC/C/ITA/3-4) at its 1642nd and 1643rd meetings (see CRC/C/SR.1642 and 1643) held on 20 September 2011, and adopted, at its 1668th meeting, held on 7 October 2011, the following concluding observations.
2.The Committee welcomes the submission of the State party’s periodic report (CRC/C/ITA/3-4) and the written reply to its list of issues (CRC/C/ITA/Q/3-4/Add.1) which provided a better understanding of the situation in the State party. The Committee expresses its appreciation for the constructive and open dialogue held with the high-level, cross-sectoral delegation of the State party.
II.Follow-up measures undertaken and progress achieved by the State party
3.The Committee welcomes as positive the adoption of the following legislative measures:
(a)Act No. 62/2011 on the protection of the relationship between mothers in prison and their minor children, in April 2011;
(b)Act No. 112/2011 on the establishment of the National Ombudsperson for Children and Adolescents, in July 2011;
(c)Act No. 38/2006 concerning the fight against the sexual exploitation of children and child pornography also via Internet, in February 2006;
(d)Act No. 54/2006 on provisions on the separation of parents and shared custody of children, in February 2006;
(e)Act No. 296/2006, which makes education mandatory for at least 10 years and increases the minimum age for working from 15 to 16 years, in December 2006;
(f)Act No. 7/2006 on provisions concerning the prevention and prohibition of the practice of female genital mutilation, in January 2006.
4.The Committee also welcomes the ratification of or accession to:
(a)The Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, in 2010;
(b)The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Optional Protocol thereto, in 2009;
(c)The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, in 2006;
(d)The Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, in 2007;
5.The Committee also welcomes the following institutional and policy measures:
(a)The renewed mandates of the National Observatory on Children and Adolescents, most recently in 2010;
(b)National Plan of Action and Intervention for the Protection of Rights and Development of Subjects in Developmental Age (2010-2011);
(c)Extraordinary Plan of Intervention for the Development of the Territorial System of Socio-educational Services for Early Childhood (2007-2009);
(d)Establishment of the Committee of Ministers for Policies and Strategic Guidance on the Protection of Human Rights through the Prime Ministerial Decree of 13 April 2007;
(e)Establishment of the Coordinating Committee for Government Activities against Trafficking in Human Beings (2007), the Inter-ministerial Commission for the Support of Victims of Trafficking, Violence and Serious Exploitation (2007) and the Observatory on Trafficking in Human Beings (2007);
(f)National Plan of Action against Poverty and Social Exclusion (2006-2008).
III.Main areas of concern and recommendations
A.General measures of implementation (arts. 4, 42 and 44, para. 6, of the Convention)
The Committee’s previous recommendations
6.The Committee welcomes efforts by the State party to implement the Committee’s concluding observations on the State party’s previous report (CRC/C/15/Add.198, 2003) and on the initial reports under the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (CRC/C/OPSC/ITA/CO/1, 2006) and the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict (CRC/C/OPAC/ITA/CO/1 and Corr.1, 2006). However, the Committee regrets that many of its concerns and recommendations have not been addressed orhave been insufficiently addressed.
The Committee urges the State party to take all measures necessary to address the recommendations that have not been implemented or sufficiently implemented, including those related to coordination, allocation of resources, systematic training on the Convention, non-discrimination, the best interests of the child, the right to an identity, adoption, juvenile justice, and refugee and asylum-seeking children, and to provide adequate follow-up to the recommendations contained in the present concluding observations.
Recalling that the central Government is responsible for ensuring the coordination of the implementation of the Convention and for providing leadership and the necessary support to the regional governments in this regard, the Committee recommends that the State party:
(a)Review and clarify the role of the National Observatory on Childhood and Adolescence to coordinate the implementation of child rights policies and programmes among all the relevant Ministries and institutions and at all levels. In doing so, the State party is urged to ensure that the National Observatoryis strengthened and provided with the necessary human, technical and financial resources to implement child rights policies thatare comprehensive, coherent and consistent at the national, regional and municipal levels;
(b)Develop effective mechanisms to ensure a consistent application of the Convention in all regions bystrengthening the coordination between the national and regional levels, and adopt national standards such as the Essential Levels for the Provision of Social Services ( Livelli Essenziali delle Prestazioni Sociali - LIVEAS).
National plan of action
10.While noting the adoption of the National Plan of Action and Intervention for the Protection of Rights and Development of Subjects in Developmental Age (2010-2011), the Committee is concerned that it has not yet been implemented, that no budget has been allocated and that the process of allocating funds for the Plan of Action at the regional level could further delay its implementation. Furthermore, the Committee is concerned that the Plan of Action lacks a specific monitoring and evaluation system.
The Committee recommends that the State party allocate funds for the implementation of the Plan of Action at the national level without delay, and encourage, to the greatest extent possible, the regions to allocate the funds required for activities at the regional level. The Committee also recommends that the State party revise the Plan of Action to include a specific monitoring and evaluation system. It further recommends that the State party ensure that the current (and subsequent) Plan of Action integrates follow-up onthe present concluding observations.
12.The Committee is pleased to note that the National Ombudsperson for Children and Adolescents was established by law in July 2011. While welcoming the establishment of Children’s Ombudspersons in several regions, the Committee is concerned that such institutions differ considerably in terms of mandate, composition, structure, resources and appointment and that not all regional Ombudspersons are mandated to receive and consider individual complaints. The Committee regrets that the establishment of an independent national human rights institution has taken considerable time.
The Committee recommends that the State party ensure that the new office of the National Ombudsperson for Children and Adolescentsis promptly established and that it isprovided with sufficient human, technical and financial resources to guarantee its independence and efficacy, in accordance with the Committee’s general comment No. 2 (2002) on the role of independent human rights institutions in the promotion and protection of the rights of the child. It further recommends that the State party ensure uniform and efficient protection and promotion of child rights in all regions, which includes assistance to and coordination of existing regional Children’s Ombudspersons by the National Ombudsperson for Children and Adolescents. The Committee urges the State party to swiftly advance the process of establishing and operationalizing an independent national human rights mechanism, in full accordance with the principles relating to the status of national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights (Paris Principles), to ensure comprehensive and systematic monitoring of human rights, including children’s rights.
Allocation of resources
14.The Committee regrets the lack of information in the report of the State party regarding the implementation of its earlier recommendation on a child-specific analysis of all sectoral budgets across the State party and the regions (CRC/C/15/add.198, para. 9). The Committee is particularly concerned over recent cuts in budgets for education, the non-financing of the 2010 Extraordinary Plan for Development of Social and Educational Services, and about the reduction in funds for the Family Policy, the National Fund for Social Policies and the National Fund for Children and Adolescents. The Committee also expresses its concern at regional disparities in the allocation for and spending on children, including in the area of early childhood, education and health. The Committee is further concerned at the recent deterioration of the State party’s international ranking as regards corruption and the effects this may have on children’s rights. In the light of the current financial situation confronting Italy, the Committee is concerned that services for children may not be protected and sustained.
The Committee reiterates its recommendation (CRC/C/15/add.198, para. 9) to undertake a comprehensive analysis of resource allocation for children at the national and regional levels. On the basis of the findings of such analysis, the State party should ensure equitable budget allocation for children throughout the 20regions, with a focus on early childhood, social services, education and integration programmes for children of migrant and other foreign communities. The Committee recommends that the State party effectively address the issue of corruption and ensure that all services for children are protected from cuts in the current financial situation.
16.The Committee takes note of the creation of a national information system on the care and protection of children and their families, to be concluded in 2012. Nevertheless, the Committee remains concerned at the limited data available on the enjoyment of children’s rights, notably statistics on child victims of violence, children deprived of their family environment (including children in foster care), child victims of economic exploitation, children with disabilities, adopted children, and refugee and asylum-seeking children. The Committee expresses concern at the significant discrepancies in the capacity and effectiveness of regional data collection mechanisms.
The Committee urges the State party to ensure that the national information system on the care and protection of children and their families becomes fully operational and has the human, technical and financial resources necessary to be effective in gathering pertinent information throughout the country to strengthen the State party’s ability to promote and protect children’s rights. In particular, the Committee recommends that the State party ensure a fully consistent approach across all regions to effectively measure and address regional disparities.
18.Despite information on some training provided for law enforcement officers and Carabinieri, the Committee regrets that the State party has yet to implement the earlier recommendation (CRC/C/15/Add.198, paras. 19 (d) and 31) on systematic training on children’s rights and the Convention for all professional groups working for or with children, including for law enforcement officers, Carabinieri, prosecutors, judges, lawyers, legal guardians for children (curatori), civil servants, social workers and health professionals, local government officials, teachers and health personnel.
19.The Committee reiterates its recommendation to ensure systematic, mandatory and ongoing training on child rights for all professionals working with and for children, in particular law enforcement officers, Carabinieri, judges and penitentiary staff.
Child rights and the business sector
20.The Committee welcomes that the Constitution sets the general obligation for business to respect the principles set forth in the Constitution and notes that corporate social responsibility is promoted, regulated and implemented under voluntary business initiatives. It also notes that further legislation on corporate social responsibility, including tax exemptions for companies fulfilling certain parameters, is under discussion in the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies (Act No. 386 and Act No. 59, respectively). The Committee is nevertheless concerned that children’s rights have not been sufficiently considered in such legislation. Additionally, the Committee is concerned at allegations regarding the use of forced child labour in the harvest of cotton imported by European countries, including Italy, who by doing so could facilitate the exploitation of child labour in exporting countries. The Committee notes that this subject is under investigation by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and that the European Parliament is discussing a draft resolution calling for, inter alia,the Council and the Commission to set up an investigation committee with temporary withdrawal of the generalized system of preferences in the cotton sector until the ILO is able to report on its mission.
Whereas the primary responsibility to ensure protection and respect for children’s rights by State and non-State actors lies with the State, the Committee recommends specific inclusion of child rights concerns in the legislation under consideration by the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies to enact corporate human rights responsibility parameters, with a specific reference to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.Moreover, it would be important that the law provide for the supervising bodies to be able to refer to the judicial authority in cases of abuses of children and human rights, including regarding activities of companies domiciled in Italy, and of their business partners overseas. Additionally, the Committee recommends that the State party engage its responsibility within the European Unionto ensure that cotton originated from child labour (produced in Europe or elsewhere) does not enter into the European market, using its leverage to ensure that children’s rights are respected within Europeantrade agreements. Additionally, the State party could provide for a clear framework under proposed legislation for effective monitoring to ensure that companies domiciled in Italy do not contribute to the use of child labour through their supply chains or business partners abroad.
22.The Committee notes that the State party devoted approximately 0.20 per cent of its gross national income (GNI) to international assistance in 2006, and that it has committed to reaching the internationally agreed target of 0.7 per cent of gross national product (GNP) by 2015. However, the Committee notes with concern that the levels of official development assistance, including its contribution to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), have been decreasing consistently after a peak in 2006, reaching less than half that amount in 2010.
Bearing in mind the financial constraints facing many countries, the Committee encourages the State Party to strive to redress the fall in official development assistanceand recover its growth path in order to meet the internationally agreed target of 0.7 per cent of GNP by 2015. The Committee further encourages the State party to ensure that the realization of child rights becomes atop priority of the international cooperation agreements established with developing countries and to strive to increase its support forinternational organizations dealing with children’s rights, especially UNICEF. In doing so, the Committee suggests that the State party take into account the concluding observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child for the recipient country in question.
B.General principles (arts. 2, 3, 6 and 12 of the Convention)
24.The Committee is seriously concerned at policies, laws and practices that discriminate against children in vulnerable situations in the State party. In particular, the Committee is concerned at the following:
(a)Discrimination against Roma, Sinti and Camminanti children (hereinafter termed Roma children) with respect to, inter alia, the fulfilment of their rights to health, education, an adequate standard of living, and social security;
(b)Amendments to the Criminal Code that reduce sentences for propaganda advocating racial or ethnic superiority, in contravention of the Committee’s earlier recommendation (CRC/C/15/Add.198, para. 21 (b));
(c)Remaining disparities in the treatment between children who are legitimate, legitimized or biological and children who are born out of wedlock. In this regard, the Committee regrets that the State party has not ratified the European Convention on the Legal Status of Children Born out of Wedlock of the Council of Europe. The Committee takes note of and welcomes the information provided during the dialogue on proposed legislation in this regard.
In the light of article 2 of the Convention, the Committee urges the State party to ensure that all children in the State party enjoy equal rights under the Convention without discrimination on any ground, and to this end:
(a)Expeditiously take all measures necessary to ensure the effective elimination of any form of discrimination againstchildren of Roma origin, in particular in the education system and the provision of essential services, in line with recommendations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD/C/ITA/CO/15, para. 20);
(b)Effectively adopt a comprehensive national action plan on the prevention of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance, taking into full account all the relevant provisions of the Durban Declaration and Programmeof Action, with particular emphasis on article 2 of the Convention on the Rights of Child;
(c)Strengthen the mandate of the National Office against Racial Discrimination, in particular in the systematic collection of data on racist and xenophobic acts against children;
(d)Incorporate the aggravating circumstances of hate motivation into article 61 of the Criminal Code;
(e)Take appropriate legislative measures to eliminate any remaining discrimination between children born in marriage and children born outside marriage;
(f)Expedite the ratification of the European Convention on the Legal Status of Children Born out of Wedlock.
Respect for the views of the child
26.The Committee welcomes the declaration by the Constitutional Court on article 12 of the Convention as directly applicable in the domestic legal system and that the child may be considered an interested party in proceedings. It further notes as positive Act No. 54/2006, which provides for the hearing of the child in parental separation, divorce and custody cases, legal provisions on the obligation to appoint a child counsel in adoption procedures and in the determination of parental rights, as well as Legislative Decree No. 25 of 28 January 2008 recognizing the right of unaccompanied children to be heard. The Committee, however, remains concerned at:
(a)The absence of an explicit right of the child to be heard in all civil, criminal and administrative proceedings;
(b)The absence of guidelines for the implementation of Act No. 149/2001 relating to the appointment of defence counsels/curatori speciali for the child in adoption cases;
(c)The lack of systematic consultation of children in the process of making laws and policies affecting them at the national, regional or local levels, and the absence of more specific guidelines on children’s participation in the development of future plans of action concerning children.
In the light of article 12 of the Convention and the Committee’sgeneral comment No. 12 (2009) on the right of the child to be heard, the Committee recommends that the State party:
(a)Introduce a comprehensive legal provision establishing the right of the child to be heard that would be applicable to all courts, administrative bodies, institutions, schools, childcare institutions and families in matters affecting children, and take measures to allow for the direct hearing of the views of the child and, in doing so, provide adequate safeguards and mechanisms for ensuring that such participation can be carried out effectively and free of manipulation or intimidation and be supported by expert opinions fromconcerned institutionswhen appropriate;
(b)Draft guidelines for the appointment of defence counsels/ curatori speciali for the child in adoption cases;
(c)Take measures to ensure that children are included in the development of legislation and policies relevant to them, including the strengthening of Children’s Councils, by setting up regional or national support structures.
C.Civil rights and freedoms (arts. 7, 8, 13-17, 19 and 37 (a) of the Convention)
Registration and nationality
28.The Committee is concerned at legal and practical restrictions with respect to the right of children of foreign origin to be registered. In particular, the Committee is concerned that Act No. 94/2009 on public security makes it compulsory for all non-Italians to show their residence permit in order to obtain civil records. The Committee is further concerned at the situation of de facto stateless children, including reports of a few hundred stateless Roma children.
The Committee, recalling the State party’s acceptance of recommendation No. 40 under the universal periodic review to implement ActNo. 91/1992 on Italian citizenship in a manner that preserves the rights of all children living in Italy (A/HRC/14/4/Add.1, p. 5), recommends that the State party:
(a)Ensure by law the obligationof, and facilitate in practice,the birth registration of all children born in and living in Italy;
(b)Undertake awareness-raising campaigns on the right of all children to be registered at birth, regardless of social and ethnic background and the resident status of parents;
(c)Facilitate access to citizenship for children who may otherwise be stateless.
Freedom of thought, conscience and religion
30. The Committee is concerned that the freedom of children to receive or opt out of religious instruction in preschool, primary and secondary schools may be undermined in practice by the lack of valid teaching alternatives and the absence of information as to the availability and dissemination of the requisite opt-out form for pupils deciding not to attend Catholic religious instruction.
The Committee calls upon the State party to intensify its efforts to ensure in practice that religious instruction is truly optional, and:
(a)To ensure that all parents of pupils in public schools are fully aware of the optional nature of religious instruction, and make available information in the most common foreign languages;
(b)To study, identify and document good practices of alternatives to Catholic religious instruction and, on the basis of thefindings of such research, consider making relevant teaching alternatives available in the national curricula.
Access to appropriate information
32.While noting as positive various self-regulatory codes for print and broadcast media and the establishment of a Media and Minors Committee, the Committee is concerned at the lack of a comprehensive legal and educational framework conducive to the enjoyment of children’s rights under article 17 of the Convention. The Committee shares the concern of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women about the role of Italian media and advertising in depicting women and young girls as sexual objects, as this has a negative impact on the development of children and their relations towards their peers. The Committee is particularly concerned at:
(a)The voluntary nature of the Internet and Children Code and that the committee established to monitor its implementation has not been reinstituted since the expiry of its mandate in 2007;
(b)The express need among children for greater protection of their right to privacy and for information on the use of the Internet to be provided in a child-friendly language and format;
(c)The gender stereotypes that may affect girls’ choices in their studies and aspirations, and the role of Italian media and advertising in depicting women and young girls as sexual objects;
(d)The negative portrayal of immigrants and minorities in media, which has an impact on their social integration and the effective enjoyment of the rights of children of these communities;
(e)The content of advertisements leading to potentially harmful consumption patterns of food, drugs, toys and other elements.
The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a)Promote and support the development of a children and media code thatfully incorporates the provisions and aims of article 17 of the Convention, including to encouragethe dissemination of socially and culturally beneficial material;
(b)Reinstitute the committee monitoring the Internet and Children Code and ensure that violations of the Code are subject to effective administrative and legal sanctions;
(c)Take steps to ensure a responsible and proactive media thatis capable of combatting racism and intolerance, and put in place a monitoring system thatensures its effective implementation.
34.The Committee is concerned at the prevalence of corporal punishment in the home, in particular that many parents still find it appropriate to use slapping as a means of discipline. The Committee is also concerned that the State party has not yet passed legislation explicitly prohibiting all forms of corporal punishment in all settings, including in the home (CRC/C/15/Add.41, para. 20), despite the Supreme Court ruling on prohibition of corporal punishment.
The Committee recommends that the State party reform domestic legislation to ensure the explicit prohibition of all forms of corporal punishment in all settings, including in the home, taking into account the Committee’s general comment No. 8 (2006) on the right of the child to protection from corporal punishment and other cruel or degrading forms of punishment, and general comment No. 13 (2011) on the right of the child to freedom from all forms of violence. The Committee further recommends that the State party raise awareness among parents and the general public on the impact of corporal punishment on the well-being of children, and on positive alternative methods of discipline in accordance with the rights of the child.
D.Family environment and alternative care (arts. 5, 18 (paras. 1-2), 9-11, 19-21, 25, 27 (para. 4) and 39 of the Convention)
36. While welcoming the progress in adopting the first National Plan for the Family and various measures, including tax deductions and child allowances for large families and low income families, respectively, to support parents and legal guardians in their child-rearing responsibilities, the Committee is concerned that these are primarily of a monetary nature and do not address the needs of parents to increase their parenting capacities bylearning about the developmental needs of their children and the optimal ways of raising and disciplining them. The Committee is particularly concerned at the limited public childcare opportunities and the high costs of private childcare.
The Committee recommends that the State party ensure that its support to large and low income families follows a holistic approach, including income support, and a focus on parenting throughparent education. In particular, the Committee recommends that the State party increase the access, affordability and quality of early childhood education and care programmes in accordance with the Europe 2020 Strategy of the European Union and the 2011 communication from the European Commission entitled“Early childhood education and care: providing all our children with the best start for the world of tomorrow”, as well as of out-of-school activities.
Children deprived of a family environment
38.The Committee welcomes the progress made towards the deinstitutionalization of care for children deprived of a family environment in accordance with Act No. 149/2001. Nevertheless, it is concerned at the lack of minimum standards of services and care provided by alternative family-type communities or institutions and at the weak implementation of the Act concerning the independent monitoring and registration of such communities. The Committee is in particular concerned at the lack of assessment of the quality of the services provided and the lack of accountability of public funding received for hosting children. Furthermore, it notes with concern regional disparities in the use of foster care, and the failure to adopt and adhere to common guidelines and legislation concerning foster care.
39.As regards the right of foreign children to reunite with their families living in Italy, the Committee is concerned at the lengthy procedures and that legislation transposing Council of the European Union Directive 2003/86/EC into domestic law excludes nuclear families living in the State party.
The Committee recommends that the State party, within its competencies, ensure effective and equal implementation of ActNo. 149/2001 across all regions, and:
(a)Adopt nationally agreed minimum criteria and standards for services and care for all alternative care institutions for children deprived of a family environment, including “residential structures” such as family-type communities;
(b)Ensure independent monitoring by relevant institutions of the placement of all children deprived of a family environment, and establish an accountability mechanism for persons receiving public grants for hosting such children;
(c)Undertake a comprehensive survey on all children deprived of a family environment and create a national register of all such children;
(d)Amend the Consolidated Law on Immigration with a view to explicitly specifying the right to family reunification and its application to all foreigners with this right, including families formed in Italy;
(e)Ensure the proper selection, training and supervision of foster families and provide them with adequate financial support and status;
(f)Take into account the Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children (General Assembly resolution 64/142, annex).
41.The Committee welcomes the mandatory provisions on the need to listen to the views and opinions of the child in domestic and intercountry adoptions. However, the Committee, noting the practice since 2003 of “open adoption”, expresses concern at the lack of a firm and coherent legal basis for such adoptions and the risks of indeterminate placement in foster families. Furthermore, the Committee reiterates its concern that intercountry adoptions are continuing with non-States parties to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in respect of Intercountry Adoption, despite the absence of bilateral agreements. While noting the measures taken by the the Commission on Intercountry Adoption, the Committee remains concerned with the large number of private adoption agencies, the inadequate monitoring system and the reports of financial gains of some parties in the adoption process.
The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a)Introduce the principle of the best interests of the child as a paramount consideration in legislation, including ActsNo. 184/1983 and No. 149/2001, and procedures governing adoption;
(b)Conclude bilateral agreements with all sending countries thathave not yet ratified the 1993 Hague Convention;
(c)In compliance with the Hague Convention and article 21(d) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, ensure effective and systematic monitoring of all private adoption agencies, consider options to manage or limit the large number of private adoption agencies, and ensure that adoption processes do not provide financial gains to any party;
(d)Ensure systematic follow-up on the well-being of children adopted during the previous years and on the causes and consequences of the breakdown of adoption.
Violence against children, including abuse and neglect of children
43.The Committee is seriously concerned at the absence of a nationwide common system and framework for the protection and prevention of children from all forms of physical and mental violence and a corresponding monitoring and coordinating body for implementation. In this regard, it notes with serious concern results from a survey indicating that the majority of children aged 14-17 years, mostly in northern and central Italy, have experienced or witnessed child ill-treatment. In particular, while encouraged by positive experiences in some regions with respect to data collection (Piemonte and Veneto) and prevention (Emilia Romagna), the Committee is concerned at:
(a)The lack of a comprehensive national data collection system and register on all forms of violence against children;
(b)Regional disparities in terms of the existence and implementation of guidelines on violence against children, and with respect to prevention, treatment and eradication of violence;
(c)The abandonment of children by mothers in difficult situations.
The Committee reiterates its previous concerns and concluding observations (CRC/C/15/Add.198, paras. 37 and 38) and, drawingits attention to general comment No. 13, recommends that the State party:
(a)Prioritize the elimination of all forms of violence against children, including by ensuring the implementation of the recommendations of the United Nations study on violence against children (A/61/299), taking into account the outcome and recommendations of the Regional Consultations for Europe and Central Asia (held in Ljubljana, Slovenia, 5-7 July 2005), and paying particular attention to gender;
(b)Provide information concerning the implementation by the State party of the recommendations of the above-mentioned study in its next periodic report, particularly those highlighted by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on violence against children, in particular:
(i)The development of a national comprehensive strategy to prevent and address all forms of violence and ill-treatment against children;
(ii)The introduction of an explicit national legal ban on all forms of violence against children in all settings;
(iii)The consolidation of a national system of data collection, analysis and dissemination, and a research agenda on violence and ill-treatment against children.
E.Disability, basic health and welfare (arts. 6, 18 (para. 3), 23, 24, 26, 27 (paras. 1-3) and 33 of the Convention)
Children with disabilities
45.The Committee regrets the limited information in the State party’s report on children with disabilities. While welcoming efforts to integrate children with disabilities in the school system, the Committee is concerned that disability is still conceptualized as a “handicap” rather than approached with the aim of ensuring the social inclusion of children with disabilities, and that there are regional disparities in the provision of specialist teachers in schools. The Committee is further concerned at inadequacies and delays with respect to ensuring special care for children with disabilities in early childhood and the lack of statistical data for children with disabilities in the age group of 0-6 years.
The Committee recommends that the State party review existing policies and programmes to ensure a rights-based approach in relation to children with disabilities, and consider information and training initiatives to ensure that relevant Government officials and community at large are sensitized in this respect. The Committee also recommends that the State party provide sufficient numbers of specialist teachers to all schools so that all children with disabilities can enjoy access to high-quality inclusive education. Furthermore, the Committee recommends that the State party gather specific and disaggregated data on children with disabilities, including the age group of 0-6 years, to adapt policies and programmes according to such needs. The Committee encourages the State Party to take into account the Committee’s general comment No. 9 (2006) on the rights of children with disabilities in this respect.
Health and health services
47.The Committee notes with concern the absence of defined essential levels of health care (Livelli Essenziali di Assistenza – LEA) in combination with the devolution of health-care powers to the regional level, which has resulted in discrepancies in the quality and efficiency of the health-care system between southern and northern regions of the State party, affecting the right of children to the highest attainable standard of health. The high, and growing, rate of child obesity, and the significant number of children suffering from allergic and/or respiratory diseases, are also a matter of concern to the Committee. The Committee is further concerned that, compared to their Italian counterparts, foreign mothers experience higher rates of stillbirths and perinatal mortality, and are more likely to need treatment in emergency departments or hospitals; this is due, in part, to the fact that undocumented foreign mothers do not undergo the necessary obstetric treatment and tests prior to and during pregnancy, given the criminalization of undocumented foreigners.
The Committee recommends that the State party take immediate steps to promote common standards in health-care services for all children in all regions, and:
(a)Undertake an analysis of the implementation of the 2006-2008 National Health Plan with respect to children’s right to health and, on this basis, allocate adequate health-care expenditure for children;
(b)Define the essential levels of health care (LEA) without delay;
(c)Improve training programmes for all health professionals in conformity with the rights of the child;
(d)Undertake advocacy and awareness-raising programmes targeting schools and families, emphasizing the importance of physical exercise, healthy eating practices and lifestyles, including the effective implementation of the National Prevention Plan 2010-2012,and increase the hours and improve the quality of physical education in the curricula of primary and secondary schools;
(e)Develop and implement an information and awareness-raising campaign on the right to health care of all children, including those of foreign origin, targeting in particular health-care facilities thatare accessed by foreign communities.This should include addressing the higher rates of stillbirths and perinatal mortality among foreign mothers.
49.The Committee is concerned at the low rate of exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, and the practice of providing complementary foods to infants from the age of four months. The Committee is further concerned at the unregulated marketing of food for infants, young children and adolescents, and inadequacies in the monitoring of the marketing of breast-milk substitutes.
The Committee recommends that the State party take action to improve the practice of exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, through awareness-raising measures including campaigns, information and training for relevant Government officials, particularly staff working in maternity units, and parents. The Committee further recommends that the State party strengthen the monitoring of existing marketing regulations relating to food for children and regulations relatingto the marketing of breast-milk substitutes, including bottles and teats, and ensure that such regulations are monitored on a regular basis and action is taken against those who violate the code.
51.The Committee is concerned at the absence of a comprehensive national strategy or system to assess and monitor the situation of mental health among children, in particular adolescents. It regrets, in this regard, that the National Guidelines on Mental Health of 2008 have yet to be implemented. The Committee is further concerned that inadequate resources have prevented local health authorities and the Child and Adolescent Neuropsychiatric Services from putting in place multidisciplinary teams to address mental health problems among children from a socio-psychological approach. It is also of concern to the Committee that some psychopharmaceuticals used by children have the side effect of increased suicidal tendencies. The Committee is also concerned over the prevalence of depression, which may lead to suicides among children.
The Committee, referring to its general comment No. 4 (2003) on adolescent health and development, recommends that the State party strengthen available and quality services and programmes for mental health, and in particular:
(a)Implement and monitor the National Guidelines on Mental Health without delay;
(b)Develop a comprehensive national mental health policy with a clear focus on the mental health of adolescents, and ensure its effective implementation by allocating adequate public funding and resources and developing and implementing a monitoring system;
(c)Implement a multidisciplinary approach to the treatment of psychological and psychosocial ill-health and disorders among children by establishing an integrated system of child mental-health care thatinvolves the parents, family and school, as relevant.
Drug and substance abuse
53.The Committee is deeply concerned at the increase in use of illicit drugs, in particular amphetamines, among adolescents in the State party. The Committee notes with concern that such drugs are often used to improve school performance and to fight depression. Further, the Committee is concerned at the high levels of alcohol consumption and tobacco use among children, and the negative influence of advertisements, through direct advertising or through the mass media in general.
The Committee, referring to its general comment No. 4, recommends that the State party take relevant measures to eliminate the use of illicit drugs by children, through communication programmes and campaigns, the provision of life-skills education to adolescents, and the training of teachers, social workers and other relevant officials. This must include programmes on promoting healthy lifestyles among adolescents to prevent the use of alcohol and tobacco and the enforcement of regulations on the advertising of such products to children. The Committee encourages the State party to present information on such efforts and data on the use of illicit drugs by children in its next periodic report to the Committee.
Children of incarcerated parents
55.While the Committee welcomes the adoption of Act No. 62/2011 on the protection of the relationship between mothers in prison and their minor children, it is concerned at the high number of children separated from one or both parents who are imprisoned, the situation of babies who are living in prisons with their mothers, and cases where children risk being separated from their mothers if the mother does not meet the requirement for house arrest.
The Committee recommends that the State party undertake a study on the situation regarding the rights of children with parents in prison to a family environment, with a view to ensuring personal relations, adequate services and appropriate support in line with article 9 of the Convention.
Standard of living
57.The Committee is deeply concerned at the high number of children living in poverty in the State party and at the disproportional concentration of child poverty in southern Italy. The Committee is also concerned to note that the State party has the second-lowest employment rate among women in the European Union (below 50 per cent), in particular given that that child poverty is closely linked with unemployment among women. While appreciating recent policy interventions in 2008-2009 for low-income families (the Bonus Famiglia and the Social Card), the Committee is concerned that such programmes only marginally reduce inequalities and poverty. The Committee notes with concern that the programmes of the State party seem to focus on income measures and have limited consideration of social, cultural, geographic and other such structural determinants of poverty reduction.
The Committee urges the State party to intensify its efforts to address and eradicate poverty and inequality, especially of children, and:
(a)To consider systematic reform of current policies and programmes to effectively address child poverty in a sustainable manner, using a multidisciplinary approach that considers social, cultural, and geographic determinants of poverty reduction;
(b)To evaluate the result of current programmes on poverty alleviation and ensure that subsequent policies and plans contain relevant indicators and a monitoring framework;
(c)To increase the participation of women in the labour market and promote flexible working arrangements for both parents, including by increasing the provision of childcare;
(d)To increase and sustain income support forlow-income families with children and ensurethat such support is extended to families of foreign origin.
F.Education, leisure and cultural activities (arts. 28, 29 and 31 of the Convention)
Education, including vocational training and guidance
59.While recognizing efforts to implement its previous recommendations (CRC/C/15/Add.198, para. 43), the Committee is concerned at the following:
(a)Continuing high school drop-out rates, especially in the south and among children from families in socio-economic difficulties,
(b)The poor conditions of school buildings and facilities, which on occasion have led to accidental deaths due to a lack of safety;
(c)The prevalence of violence and bullying in schools, dealt with primarily through disciplinary rather than psychosocial and educational measures, and the low rates of complaints reported by victims;
(d)The lack of homogeneity among the regions and the delay in passing legislation postponing access to vocational training;
(e)The failure to fully integrate foreign children and children belonging to minorities into the school system;
(f)That children do not participate in or are not consulted to any great extent with regard to decision-making processes of concern to them in the education system.
60.Additionally, the Committee is concerned at the suspension of Legislative Decree No. 226 (2005) regulating the essential levels of service in education and vocational training that regions are required to guarantee, and that no standardized nationwide framework for measures to bolster education is in place. The Committee notes with concern the significant cuts in public funding to the education sector following the 2009 school reform, including a considerable downsizing in the number of teachers, whereas funding for private schools has doubled during the past decade. The Committee also notes the diversification of funding sources for education, including from the European Union and local foundations.
The Committee strongly recommends that the State party:
(a)Refrain from further budget cuts in the education sector, and ensure that schools are provided with adequate human, technical and financial resources to provide quality education for all children;
(b)Introduce educational support mechanisms forchildren from economically disadvantaged families;
(c)Effectively address violence and bullying in schools through socio-educational measures such as counselling, awareness-raising regardingschool rules and the Student Statute, forums for dialogue and access for children to report such incidents, rather than by limiting action to disciplinary and punitive measures;
(d)Pass into law Legislative Decree No. 81/2008 on workplace safety in relation to schools;
(e)Take action to pass legislation on access to vocational training;
(f)Develop programmes to improve the integration of foreigners and minority children in schools.
G.Special protection measures (arts. 22, 30, 38, 39, 40, 37 (b)-(d), 32-36 of the Convention)
Children in migration situations
62.The Committee recognizes the particular geographic location of the State party and the constraints inherent therein and appreciates the efforts and measures that, in a situation of emergency and without any kind of assistance, the State party has recently had to adopt and implement in order to face the unexpected and unprecedented arrival of thousands of refugees fleeing wars, political disruptions and poverty in their countries of origin. However, the Committee remains concerned that this situation is harmful to children, whether they are refugees, unaccompanied minors or migrants, in view of the rights to which they are entitled under the Convention.
Asylum-seeking and refugee children
63.The Committee welcomes the prohibition to expel or return persons under the age of 18 years and pregnant women under the immigration laws of the State party. It notes with concern, however, that children of foreign origin can be expelled from the country for reasons of public order and State security and that the State party, in implementing the 2009 interception policy of migrants (“push-back” policy), has returned children, including unaccompanied children, without examining the individual circumstances of each child or providing each child with a possibility to request asylum. The Committee is deeply concerned that some of the migrants pushed back have been identified as requiring international protection, in violation of the State party’s non-refoulement obligations. It is further of serious concern to the Committee that the State party has detained children with their families when forcibly returning migrants, without the possibility to seek asylum.
64.While noting Legislative Decree 25/2008, the Committee is concerned that the State party lacks a framework law on political asylum. It is concerned at the limited capacity and availability, overcrowding, and very poor conditions of reception centres for children, resulting in the placement of children in reception centres not intended for persons under 18. It notes with particular concern reports of substandard reception and living conditions for migrants, especially children, who arrived in Lampedusa and other locations during the spring and summer of 2011.
In the light of the above, the Committee recommends that the State party:
(a)Ensure that each child under its jurisdiction, whether onthe high seas or on its territory, who seeks to enter Italy has the right to an individual examination of his or her circumstances and to be provided with prompt access to asylum procedures and other relevant national and international protection procedures;
(b)Review domestic law and ensure that it prohibits the expulsion of persons under the age of 18, even for reasons ofpublic order and State security, where there are substantial grounds for believing that there is a real risk of irreparable harm to the child;
(c)Put in place without delay an effective data collection and information storage system with respect to all children, including asylum-seeking and refugee children, with protection needs;
(d)Draw upon the Committee’sgeneral comment No. 6 (2005) on treatment of unaccompanied and separated children outside their country of origin in the implementation of the above recommendations.
66.The Committee is concerned at the lack of a holistic and common approach in the State party with respect to unaccompanied children, including the absence of comprehensive guidelines and legal framework on unaccompanied children. It is concerned that existing legal protection and procedures for appointing guardians and issuing residence permits for unaccompanied children are unevenly applied across regions of the State party. The Committee notes the efforts by the Committee for Foreign Minors to improve the conditions for minors temporarily hosted in Italy, but notes that the Committee’s competence is limited to children who do not apply for asylum. It is a matter of concern also that a medical approach is increasingly used to determine the age of unaccompanied children, which jeopardizes in practice the application of the principle of the benefit of the doubt.
The Committee recommends that the State party introduce comprehensive legislation ensuring the assistance and protection of unaccompanied children, drawing upon the principles set out in general comment No. 6. In particular, the Committee recommends that the State party establish a specific and permanent national authority to oversee the condition of unaccompanied children, identify their needs and address challenges in the current system, and to develop operational guidelines on unaccompanied children, including on reception, identification, needs assessment and protection strategy. The Committee recommends that the State party adopt a unified age-assessment procedure forunaccompanied children that is multidisciplinary and fully upholds the principle of the benefit of the doubt.
Children of migrant families
68.The Committee expresses deep concern at restrictions in terms of access to health care, education and other social services for children of irregular migrants, noting that families without a residence permit have no right to social services. It is particularly concerned in this regard at the promulgation of Act No. 94/2009 on public security, which criminalizes undocumented entry and stay in Italy and which has a serious negative impact on the enjoyment of economic and social rights of children and families not legally resident in the State party. The Committee, noting the significant increase in the number of children of migrant families in the State party, further regrets that financing for the Fund for the Social Inclusion of Immigrants was cut in 2008 and 2009. The Committee also notes with serious concern reports that children of families not legally resident in the State party may be held in identification and expulsion centres and that domestic law does not regulate the presence of children in such centres.
The Committee reminds the State party that the rights stipulated in the Convention should not be limited to children who are citizens of a State party but must extend to all children irrespective of their immigration status, and recommends that the State party:
(a)Review the Immigration Actwith a view to ensure migrant children equal rights to education, health and other social services, in line with the Constitutional Court ruling of July 2010;
(b)Ensure in law and practice that the best interests of the child will always be of paramount consideration in deciding on residence permits forforeigners.
Children in armed conflict
70.The Committee is concerned that the State party has not implemented its previous recommendations: (a) to expressly criminalize in domestic legislation the recruitment and use in hostilities of persons under the age of 15 by the armed forces and armed groups (CRC/C/OPAC/ITA/CO/1, para. 12); and (b) to define “direct participation” in domestic legislation (CRC/C/OPAC/ITA/CO/1, para. 11), in line with articles 1 to 4 of the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict.
71.While appreciating its alignment with article 29 of the Convention, the Committee regrets that the curriculum of the four military schools operating in the State party does not specifically include teaching on human rights, the Convention and the Optional Protocol. The Committee further regrets that its previous recommendation to introduce into domestic legislation the prohibition and criminalization of the sale of small arms and light weapons to countries where children are involved in armed conflict (CRC/C/OPAC/ITA/CO/1, para. 17) has not been implemented by the State party. The Committee also regrets the lack of information in the State party report on rehabilitation and social reintegration of child victims of the crimes in the Optional Protocol.
.The Committee, recalling its earlier recommendations, urges the State party to intensify its efforts to implement the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict, and:
(a)Amend its declaration under the Optional Protocol on the minimum age for recruitment to conform with national legislation of a minimum age of 18 years;
(b)To amend the Criminal Code to expressly prohibit and criminalize the recruitment and use in hostilities of persons under the age of 18by the armed forces and armed groups;
(c)To prohibit and criminalize in domestic legislation the sale of small arms and light weapons to countries where children are involved in armed conflict;
(d)To include the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict as a ground for refugee status in domestic legislation;
(e)To ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
73.The Committee welcomes the creation of the Observatory for the Fight against Paedophilia and Child Pornography, the National Centre for Combating Child Pornography on the Internet, and the Observatory on Prostitution and Related Crimes, and notes as positive the adoption of Act No. 11/2009, which makes sexual acts perpetrated against children an aggravating circumstance. The Committee is concerned, however, at the lack of resources and a plan to coordinate and fund their activities. In this regard, and noting the increase of street prostitution in major cities in the State party, the limited data on and activities focusing on eliminating child prostitution is of considerable concern to the Committee. While further noting as positive the strengthening of domestic legislation against sexual exploitation, child pornography and child prostitution (Act No. 38/2006), the Committee regrets that it still does not define child pornography as required under the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.
74.The Committee is concerned that funding for the implementation of the Optional Protocol has been reduced by half since 2000, and that the focus is primarily on trafficking. The Committee is further concerned at the limited number of programmes aimed at the prevention of sexual abuse and exploitation of particularly vulnerable groups of children, and at difficulties in the identification of victims of child pornography and child prostitution.
The Committee strongly recommends that the State party:
(a)Fully harmonize national legislation with the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, in particular by introducing a definition of child pornography into its Criminal Code;
(b)Develop and implement a strategy for the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse, focusing on vulnerable groups of children, including Roma children;
(c)Identifyand protect victims, including by providing specialist training for and enhanced resources to the Specialist Unit for the Analysis of Child Pornographic Material;
(d)Ensure the effective functioning of the Observatory for the Fight against Paedophilia and Child Pornography, including appointing its members, and operationalize the database to monitor this crime;
(e)Reinstitute the Observatory on Prostitution and Related Crimes or entrust its mandate and activities to an existing body, with a view to ensure monitoring of child prostitution and abuse.
Administration of juvenile justice
76.The Committee notes as positive the emphasis on alternative measures and reintegration in the juvenile justice system of the State party. The Committee is nevertheless concerned that the bill on the juvenile prison system aimed at further diversifying the response by the juvenile justice system has not been adopted yet, and at financial cuts threatening the current system. In this regard, the Committee is concerned at reports on the excessive use of detention, at prolonged pretrial detention of children and at inadequate access to education and training for children deprived of their liberty in juvenile correctional institutions (IPMs).
77.The Committee expresses deep concern over reports that foreign children have been placed in juvenile correctional institutions and reception centers solely because they lack documents. The increase in the number of foreign and Roma children stopped by judicial authorities during the reporting period is a further matter of concern, as is the observation that such children, as compared to Italian children, benefit to a much lesser extent from diversion and other alternative measures provided for by the law.
The Committee recommends that the State party bring its juvenile justice system fully into line with the Convention, in particular articles 37, 39 and 40, and with other relevant standards, including 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 (the Havana Rules), the Guidelines for Action on Children in the Criminal Justice System; and the Committee’s general comment No. 10 (2007) on the rights of the child in juvenile justice. In particular, the Committee urges the State party to:
(a)Adopt the bill on the juvenile prison system without undue delay;
(b)Allocate adequate human, technical and financial resources to the juvenile justice system to ensure continuedfocus on diversion and other alternative measures to deprivation of liberty, as recommended by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (A/HRC/10/21/Add.5, paras. 116 and 122);
(c)Conducta thorough analysis of the overrepresentation of foreign and Roma children in the juvenile justice system;
(d)Establish an independent monitoring mechanism to undertake regular visits to places where children are deprived of their liberty.
Children belonging to minority groups
79.The Committee is seriously concerned about the poor health of Roma children, as manifested in higher infant mortality rates, a higher incidence of chronic and infectiousdiseases, and low vaccination rates, and that limited access to health care and other social services is, to a certain extent, considered to be self-imposed. The Committee is further concerned at the very limited number of Roma children enrolled in primary and especially secondary school. Noting the deplorable economic situation and social exclusion of the Roma community, the Committee is alarmed that the State party is addressing their situation primarily through security measures (Security Pacts of 2006, emergency decree of 2008) rather than concerted social inclusion measures based on participation. In this respect, the Committee is deeply concerned that the living conditions of Roma have further deteriorated pursuant to measures taken under the emergency decrees, exacerbating de facto segregation through the construction of “temporary housing containers”. The Committee notes with utmost concern the death of six children in the past year in “illegal” Roma camps with very poor conditions, as well as evictions, deportations, and government efforts to remove Roma children from their parents for their protection. The Committee also expresses its concern at the increase in begging, particularly among Roma children, and at the nexus between child begging and organized crime. The Committee is further concerned at reports of the prevalence of early marriage among Roma in Italy and at the limited information from the State party on measures to address this.
The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a)Discontinue the state of emergency in relation to settlements of nomad communities and the Ordinances of 30 May 2008;
(b)Develop and adopt, with the participation of affected communities, a national plan of action for the genuine social integration of Roma in Italian society, taking due consideration of the vulnerable situation of Roma children, in particular in relation to health and education;
(c)Allocate adequate human, technical and financial resources to ensure sustainable improvement in the socio-economic conditions of Roma children;
(d)Adopt measures to address harmful practices such as early marriage;
(e)Develop relevant guidelines and provide training for government officials to enhance understanding of Roma culture and prevent discriminatory and stereotypical perceptions of Roma children;
(f)Ratify the European Charter for Regional orMinority Languages.
H.Ratification of international human rights instruments
The Committee recommends that the State party ratify the core United Nations human rights treaties and the Optional Protocols thereto to which it is not yet a party, namely, the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.
I.Cooperation with regional and international bodies
The Committee recommends that the State party cooperate with the Council of Europe towards the implementation of the Convention and other human rights instruments, both in the State party and in other Council of Europe member States.
J.Follow-up and dissemination
The Committee recommends that the State party take all appropriate measures to ensure that the present recommendations are fully implemented by, inter alia, transmitting them to the Head of State, Parliament, relevant ministries, the Supreme Court, and regional and local authorities for appropriate consideration and further action.
The Committee further recommends that the combined third and fourth periodic report and written replies by the State party and the related recommendations (concluding observations) be made widely available in the languages of the country, including (but not exclusively) through the Internet, to the public at large, civil society organizations, media, youth groups, professional groups and children, in order to generate debateand awareness of the Convention and theOptional Protocols thereto and of their implementation and monitoring.
The Committee invites the State party to submit its combined fifth and sixth periodic report by 4April 2017 and to include in it information on the implementation of the present concluding observations. The Committee draws attention to its harmonized treaty-specific reporting guidelines adopted on 1 October 2010 (CRC/C/58/Rev.2 and Corr. 1) and reminds the State party that future reports should be in compliance with the guidelines and not exceed 60 pages. The Committee urges the State party to submit its report in accordance with the guidelines. In the event a report exceeding the page limitations is submitted, the State party will be asked to review and resubmit the report in accordance with the above-mentioned guidelines. The Committee reminds the State party that if it is not in a position to review and resubmit the report, translation of the report for purposes of examination bythe treaty body cannot be guaranteed.
The Committee also invites the State party to submit an updated core document in accordance with the requirements of the common core document in the harmonized guidelines on reporting, approved by the fifth Inter-Committee Meeting of the human rights treaty bodies in June 2006 (HRI/MC/2006/3).