UN focus on child rights in El Salvador

After considering the second periodic report of El Salvador, the Committee welcomed a number of positive developments during the reporting period, including the entry into force in 1994 of the Family Court Procedure Act and the Family Code and the abrogation of the discriminatory distinction between legitimate, illegitimate, natural and incestuous children; the adoption in 2000 of the Equality of Opportunity for Persons with Disabilities Act; the ratification of International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions Nos. 138 (minimum age) and 182 (worst forms of child labour); the adoption of the Juvenile Offenders Act (1995); the ratification in 2002 of the optional protocol to the Convention on children in armed conflict; the ratification of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime on 18 March 2004; and of the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, among others.

The Committee urged the State party to speed up the process of legislative reform to bring its legislation into conformity with the Convention. It encouraged the State party to ensure that the Law on Children and Adolescents, which had been under consideration by the Legislative Assembly since May 2002, was adopted with full participation of civil society, in particular of children, and would fully harmonize national legislation with the provisions of the Convention.

Further, the Committee urged the State party to take effective measures to address the high level of crime, violence and homicide against children, within the framework of strategies based on constitutional norms and the rights of the child enshrined in the Convention. It also recommended that the State party adopt policies which aimed at addressing the causes which gave rise to the victimization of children. In light of article 8 of the Convention, the Committee recommended that the State party assume an active role in efforts to trace the children who disappeared during the armed conflict.

The Committee recommended that the State party strengthen current efforts to address the problem of domestic violence and child abuse; take all necessary measures to address all issues of discrimination, including social discrimination and discrimination against children with disabilities in rural areas; and that it provide them with equal educational opportunities;consider the best interest of the child when negotiating trade-related intellectual property rights and implementing them into national law, and conduct an assessment of the impact of international intellectual property rights agreements on the accessibility of affordable generic medicine, with a view to ensuring children’s enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health.

The Committee welcomed the improvement of primary health care, which had led to a decrease in infant mortality from 35 per thousand live births in 1998 to 25 per thousand live births in 2003. It recommended that the State party continue to strengthen its efforts in improving the health situation of children in the State party and eliminating all restrictions on the access to quality health services in all areas of the country.

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