UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Belgium (CRC 28-02-2019)

The Committee considered the combined fifth and sixth periodic reports of Belgium (CRC/C/BEL/5-6) at its 2358th and 2359th meetings (see CRC/C/SR.2358 and 2359), held on 24 and 25 January 2019, and adopted the present concluding observations at its 2370th meeting, held on 1 February 2019.

Concluding observations

E. Violence against children (arts. 19, 24 (3), 28 (2), 34, 37 (a) and 39)

Harmful practices

  1. The Committee notes with concern that:

(a) Child marriage and female genital mutilation, prevalent among populations with a migrant background, remain underreported;

(b) Intersex children are subjected to medically unnecessary surgeries and other procedures.

  1. With reference to joint general recommendation No. 31 of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women/general comment No. 18 of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (2014) on harmful practices, and taking into account target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Committee urges the State party:

(a) To strengthen awareness-raising campaigns and programmes on the harmful effects of child marriage and female genital mutilation on the physical and mental health and well-being of girls;

(b) To provide training for civil servants, teachers, judges, law-enforcement officers and social workers on the identification of potential victims of child marriage;

(c) To establish protection schemes and care programmes for victims of child marriage and female genital mutilation, including those who file a complaint;

(d) To allocate adequate human, financial and technical resources to prevent and combat female genital mutilation, and ensure coordination of efforts among different levels of governance.                                    

(e) To prohibit the performance of unnecessary medical or surgical treatment on intersex children where those procedures may be safely deferred until children are able to provide their informed consent; and ensure that intersex children and their families have access to adequate counselling and support and to effective remedies, including by lifting the relevant statute of limitations.


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