The prevalence of commitment to children at the highest decision making level is promising.
|Rights of the Child
Implementing the Convention
Bhutan ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on 23 May 1990 becoming one of the first countries to do so. And in doing so, the Government committed itself to providing every possible support to children in the country.
The move followed Bhutan's unconditional ratification and adoption of the numerous goals enunciated at all international summits and in all international declarations and treaties concerning children, including the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) on 31 August 1981.
These included the World Summit for Children (1990), and the World Declaration and Plan of Action for Children's Survival, Protection and Development (1991), leading to the formulation of the National Plan of Action (NPA) for children that was incorporated in the Government's Seventh Five Year Plan (1992-1997) and the current Eighth Five Year Plan (1997-2002).
Children thus receive high priority in national planning, with many of the goals translated into national policies and programmes.
Bhutan is committed to achieving the Education for All and Health for All goals, with targets relating to primary school enrolment, adult literacy, reduction of infant and child mortality, improved access to health care services, better nutrition and child care practices.
The Government has also responded to the changing times and enacted several legal instruments to safeguard the rights of children, including the amendment to the Marriage Act of 1980 in 1996 and the enactment of a Rape Act in 1993, The Regulation of Wage Rate, Recruitment agencies Workman's Compensation was also enacted in 1993 and this prohibits the employment of children.
In addition, it has drafted the Administration of Juvenile Justice Act, Psychotropic and Narcotic Act, and Immoral Traffic Act.
Bhutan presented its initial general CRC implementation measures to the CRC Committee in Geneva in April 1999. The establishment of a National CRC Committee in January 2000, with representation from various stakeholders to guide the implementation of CRC, is yet another breakthrough.
Room for further advancement, however, remains on such issues as universal school access and enrolment, especially educational parity for girls, gainful employment, access to adolescents' health care services, child labour, citizenship, and recruitment to the armed forces.
The UNICEF new rights-based approach to programming, on which its next Country Programme Cycle (2002-2006) will be built, is expected to help bring about such improvement.
< Previous | Continue >