Malta (CRC 26-06-2019)
The Committee considered the combined third to sixth periodic reports of Malta (CRC/C/MLT/3-6) at its 2376th and 2377th meetings (see CRC/C/SR.2376 and 2377), held on 15 and 16 May 2019, and adopted the present concluding observations at its 2400th meeting, held on 31 May 2019.
E. Violence against children (arts. 19, 24 (3), 28 (2), 34, 37 (a) and 39)
- While welcoming the State party’s efforts to eliminate harmful practices against children, including the amendment to article 251 of the Criminal Code that criminalizes female genital mutilation, forced sterilization and forced marriage, and the adoption of the Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act which provides for the recognition of gender identity on the basis of a person’s self-identification rather than harmful medical and surgical requirements, the Committee remains concerned:
(a) That child marriage and female genital mutilation are prevalent among migrant communities and remain underreported, and that between 39 per cent and 57 per cent of 486 girls originating from countries where female genital mutilation is practised are reported to be at risk of female genital mutilation;
(b) That there are cases of intersex children who have allegedly been subjected to surgical and other procedures, which were medically unnecessary, without their consent to such procedures, which often entail irreversible consequences and can cause severe physical and psychological suffering; and at the lack of redress and compensation in such cases.
- 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 note of target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Committee urges the State party to:
(a) Strengthen its awareness-raising programmes, including campaigns, on the harmful effects of child marriage and female genital mutilation on the physical and mental health and well-being of children;
(b) Provide systematic training for civil servants, teachers, judges, prosecutors, law enforcement officers and social workers, on the identification, and referral to adequate services, of potential victims of child marriage and female genital mutilation;
(c) Strengthen protection schemes and care programmes for actual and potential victims of child marriage and female genital mutilation;
(d) Ensure that intersex children are not subjected to unnecessary medical or surgical procedures during infancy or childhood, and guarantee the bodily integrity, autonomy and self-determination of the children concerned, and provide families with intersex children with adequate counselling and support;
(e) Investigate effectively incidents of surgical and other medical treatment of intersex children without informed consent and provide redress to victims of such treatment, including adequate compensation and rehabilitation.