Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Kuwait to regulate business activities in child rights

Kuwait presented its 2nd periodic report on the situation of the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The next consolidated 3rd to 6th periodic report is expected by November 2018. The Kuwaiti delegation was composed of 19 members headed by H.E. Dhara Abdul Razzak Razzooqi, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the State of Kuwait in Geneva.
IBFAN presented an alternative report on the situation of infant and young child feeding in Kuwait. The report, prepared by IBFAN Kuwait, shows that there are very low exclusive breastfeeding rates. This is due to insufficient coverage and low quality of antenatal education about breastfeeding management, weak support for the baby-friendly hospital initiative (BFHI) as well as lack of timely follow-up and competent support for mothers after hospital discharge. Concerning maternity at work, the duration of maternity leave is shorter than the ILO recommendation of 18 weeks, and women working in the informal sector do not enjoy the same rights as those in the formal sector.
Discussion on health care
The delegation of Kuwait informed the CRC Committee that particular attention was being paid to the social and health aspects of the life of the child, which has led, among other things, to reduce mortality rate. The government allocated a considerable budget to health care.
The issue of breastfeeding and infant and young child feeding has not been directly addressed in the dialogue between the CRC Committee and the government delegation.
The Kuwaiti delegation also specified that specialized centres had been established for HIV and AIDS tests and other sexually transmitted diseases. To date, there is in Kuwait a very limited number of HIV-positive cases thank to the effective programme established by the Government.
Concluding Observations

Kuwait did not receive any direct recommendations on breastfeeding in the Concluding Observations of the CRC Committee.
However, the CRC Committee has addressed to Kuwait recommendations on the impact of the business sector on child rights.
The CRC Committee recalled Kuwait the content of the General Comment no. 16 (2013) on State obligations in regard to the importance of the impact of the business sector on child rights. It recommended to Kuwait to establish and implement regulations in order to ensure that the business sector respects the international and national human rights and complies with labour, environment and specifically with children’s rights.
The CRC Committee therefore recommended Kuwait to: (a) Ensure effective implementation by companies, especially industrial companies, of international and national environment and health standards; set up effective monitoring of implementation of these standards and appropriate sanctioning and providing remedies when violations occur, as well as ensure that appropriate international certification is sought; (b) Require companies to undertake assessments, consultations, and full public disclosure of the environmental, health-related and child rights impacts of their business activities and their plans to address such impacts”.
The Committee also mentioned the importance of respecting the environment in order not to contaminate water. It urged Kuwait to: “(c) Take immediate measures to relocate all families and children subjected to pollution that endanger their life and health status; and (d)  Be guided by the United Nations “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework, accepted unanimously in 2008 by the Human Rights Council, while implementing these recommendations” (para 23-24).