The Committee on the Rights of the Child today considered the combined second to fourth periodic reports of Eswatini on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, with Committee Experts welcoming legislative progress, and asking about child health related issues, such as age determination and nutrition, also raising the issue of corporal punishment.
Presenting the report, Themba Nhlanganiso Masuku, Deputy Prime Minister of Eswatini and head of the delegation, noted that children made up almost half the country’s population, adding that their education, social protection and health was a priority for the Government. However, challenges to the welfare of Eswatini’s children included the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which had closed schools for over a year, as well as global warming and climate change. Rainfall was becoming unpredictable and unreliable, affecting subsistence agriculture, which negatively affected food security and child nutrition.
In the dialogue, Committee experts focused on issues related to the legislative progress that Eswatini had already made through amending its current laws and relevant regulations. The Committee asked the delegation to elaborate on issues related to the health system in the country, especially in the light of mental health, children with disabilities, and Eswatini’s process for issuing birth certificates. The Committee Experts also enquired on how different financial aid was distributed timely and efficiently in Eswatini. They also asked about the situation of Swazi prisons and refugee camps.
The delegation, in its responses, explained the many grants and aids available to children in Eswatini, including for instance electricity aid and water aid for children in rural areas. Food was distributed to children in need, as well as to their caregivers if they did not have sufficient resources or access to nutrition. When it came to age determination for children without birth certificates, the law made provisions around determining their estimated age, but neighbours from the village the child was from would assist the professionals in determining the age of the child, the delegation explained.
The delegation of Eswatini was comprised of representatives of the Eswatini Government, including its Deputy Prime Minister, Principal Secretary, Acting Director, Principal Crown Counsel, Coordinator, Senior Planner, and Protocol Officer.
The Committee will issue the concluding observations and recommendations on its review of Eswatini at the end of its 88th session, which concludes on 24 September. Those, and other documents relating to the Committee’s work, including reports submitted by States parties, will be available on the session’s webpage. The webcast of the Committee’s public meetings can be accessed at http://webtv.un.org/.
The Committee will next meet in public at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 16 to hold the first of two segments of an online Day of General Discussion.Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).