the Committee on the Rights of the Child latest report on Switzerland
The latest report on Switzerland by the United Nations Committee on the Right of the Child confirms long standing and ongoing structural wrongdoing by the Swiss state. An overview.
The report underlines Switzerland's:
- Cantons are problematic and responsible for violating children's rights;
- data collection and access is virtually non existent, harming transparency and Human Rights;
- ongoing refusal to have a government watchdog capable of receiving and examining complaints from the public;
- discrimination is part of its DNA, and Swiss law does not provide to condemn it;
- incorrect interpreting what is “the good of the child”;
- improper dealing with violence against children and their protection in law and in praxis, because its child protection professionals, including judges and psychologists, lack competence;
- as one of the wealthiest countries in the world unwillingness to tackle widespread child poverty within its borders;
- violating one of the most basic human rights, access to justice, also for children;
- inaction in the field of child sexual abuse;
- disrespect for other Human Rights instruments, and has to learn working with the CoE.
The CRC line-up of Swiss problems have many documented examples, from personal experience, already published on the blog. It is interesting to see that Switzerland is not, as people may claim and believe, a civilised and human rights respecting country. The United Nations CRC evaluating and reviewing Switzerland over years confirms Switzerland is problematic at best.
For those interested, what follows is a copy-paste of various items from the report in more detail.
Swiss Cantons are problematic and responsible for violating children's rights:
The Committee recommends that the State party ensure the compatibility of cantonal legislation with the Convention, and develop a child-rights impact assessment procedure for national legislation and policies relevant to children. Ensure that such a policy provides guidance for cantons on implementing the Convention, and includes a special focus on groups of children in vulnerable situations, including ... migrant children and children without a regular residence status.
Swiss data collection and access is virtually non existent, harming transparency and Human Rights:
The Committee remains seriously concerned that the collection and analysis of data on the situation of children is fragmented and inconsistent across cantons, and that there is no centralized system of disaggregated data collection or data on certain groups of children in disadvantaged situations. Ensure that data is also collected and analysed on violence against children, including ... domestic and intercountry adoptions; missing children; and the situation of children in disadvantaged situations, including children in alternative care, ... migrant children, children without a regular residence status and children of incarcerated parents.
Switzerland's ongoing refusal to have a government watchdog capable of receiving and examining complaints from the public:
The Committee ... regrets that the office will not have a mandate to receive and investigate complaints from children. The Committee reiterates its previous recommendations and further recommends that the State party: (a) Expeditiously establish the ombudsman for children’s rights with a mandate to regularly monitor and evaluate progress at both the federal and cantonal levels in the fulfilment of children’s rights under the Convention and to receive, investigate and address complaints from children in a child-friendly manner; (b) Ensure that independent mechanisms for human rights monitoring have adequate human, technical and financial resources to implement and monitor the application of the Convention; © Ensure full compliance with the principles relating to the status of national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights (the Paris Principles).
Discrimination is part of its DNA, and Swiss law does not provide to condemn it:
the Committee is concerned about de facto discrimination against children in disadvantaged situations, ... and that discrimination on all explicit grounds covered under the Convention, including sex, disability or socioeconomic or other status, is not prohibited under article 261 bis of the Criminal Code. The Committee recommends that the State party: (a) Ensure that all forms of discrimination, including on the basis of sex, disability and socioeconomic, residence or other status, are prohibited by law; (b) Ensure the full implementation of relevant laws prohibiting discrimination, including ... adequately sanctioning perpetrators, and removing procedural barriers that prevent child victims of discrimination from accessing justice and receiving remedies; (d) ... addressing the root causes of de facto discrimination, with a view to eliminating discrimination against children in disadvantaged situations, including ... migrant children ... and socioeconomically disadvantaged children.
Switzerland incorrectly interprets what is “the good of the child”:
The Committee remains concerned that the concept of “the good of the child” in the Constitution does not correspond to the principle of the best interests of the child enshrined in the Convention, and has contributed to the insufficient implementation of the principle of the best interests of the child in decisions affecting children. Recalling its previous recommendations, the Committee recommends that the State party: (a) Ensure that the principle of the best interests of the child is consistently applied in programmes and administrative and judicial proceedings, including in relation to parental custody, placement in alternative care, and migration and asylum procedures; Develop operational procedures or protocols for professionals working with and for children to ensure that due weight is given to the views of children in all proceedings.
Switzerland improperly deals with violence against children and their protection in law and in praxis, because its child protection professionals, including judges and psychologists, lack competence:
The Committee ... notes that the training provided to relevant professional groups is not systematic and that knowledge of children’s rights among such professionals remains insufficient. The Committee recommends, in line with its previous recommendations, that the State party: (b) Ensure systematic training on children’s rights and the Convention and the Optional Protocols thereto, including through the allocation of sufficient resources, for all professionals working for and with children, in particular those working in the areas of education, health, child protection, social protection, alternative care, justice and asylum. Ensure that laws on access to information and the digital environment, including the federal data protection law, ensure respect for children’s right to privacy, protect children from harmful content and materials and online risks, and provide for mechanisms to prosecute violations; © Enhance the digital literacy and skills of children, teachers and families, and protect children from information and material harmful to their well-being. Strengthen coordination among cantonal authorities and child protection specialists to implement multisectoral measures for the prevention and intervention of violence against children, and adopt indicators to monitor progress achieved in the prevention of violence and in combating factors underpinning violence against children at home, in school, in alternative care settings and within a child’s circle of trust; Strengthen efforts, including through increased human, technical and financial resources, to train professionals concerned to identify and adequately respond to cases of violence and child abuse, including psychological abuse, and establish reporting guidelines. Allocate adequate financial, technical and human resources for mental- health services and programmes to ensure that the number of qualified medical professionals, including child psychologists and psychiatrists, is sufficient to meet children’s mental-health needs in all cantons; (b) Strengthen measures to support health authorities to better diagnose mental-health problems among children
As one of the wealthiest countries in the world Switzerland is unwilling to tackle widespread child poverty within its borders:
The Committee notes that the Federal Council is responsible for regular poverty monitoring but is concerned that the overall level of children living in poverty remains high, a situation that could be further exacerbated by the coronavirus disease (COVID- 19) pandemic, and that some children without a regular residence status or Swiss citizenship do not apply for social assistance as it may negatively affect their residence permit status. Taking note of target 1.2 of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Committee recommends that the State party: (a) Further strengthen its policies to ensure that all children have an adequate standard of living throughout its territory; The Committee is concerned about the disparities between Swiss-born children and asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant children in completing upper secondary education, disparities between cantons regarding access to education, and the high rate of children who have experienced bullying in schools. Drawing attention to targets 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5 and 4.a of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Committee recommends that the State party
Switzerland violates one of the most basic human rights, access to justice, also for children:
(b) Ensure the full implementation of relevant laws prohibiting discrimination, including ... adequately sanctioning perpetrators, and removing procedural barriers that prevent child victims of discrimination from accessing justice and receiving remedies; Broaden the conditions under which an official legal defence may be appointed for children facing criminal charges, with a view to ensuring that effective legal representation is provided, free of charge, to all children who need it;
Switzerland is inactive in the field of child sexual abuse:
Adopt a comprehensive policy and strategy to implement the Optional Protocol, including measures aimed at strengthening cooperation among responsible authorities and ensuring early identification, recovery and social reintegration of child victims of sexual exploitation;
Switzerland disrespects other Human Rights instruments, and has to learn to work with the CoE:
The Committee recommends that the State party continue to cooperate with the Council of Europe on the implementation of the Convention and other human rights instruments, both in the State party and in other Council of Europe member States.
A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on. This blog gets the proverbial pants on!
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