UNITED NATIONS

Press Release



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COMMITTEE ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD CONSIDERS INITIAL REPORT OF GUINEA-BISSAU
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22.05.02

In Preliminary Remarks, Expert Says Government Should Use Final Conclusions as a Strategic Document to Promote and Protect Children's Rights

The Committee on the Rights of the Child today reviewed the initial report of Guinea-Bissau on how that country was implementing the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Introducing the report, Dionisio Cabi, Justice Minister of Guinea-Bissau, said that in addition to problems created by the lack of adequate funds in his country, there were other problems threatening children such as drug addiction, prostitution, worst forms of child labour and the presence of landmines. Such indicators necessitated deep reflection on the state of children in the country. The solution to those problems should be found in good governance, the respect for human rights, the fight against corruption and the implementation of measures favouring the well-being of children, he added.

In two meetings, held this morning and this afternoon, Committee Experts, among other things, expressed concern that 60 per cent of school age children were not attending school, and that the rate of school dropouts was high; adequate health services were not being made available due to the lack of funds; and 90 per cent of the health budget was received from external financing.

In preliminary conclusions, Marilia Sardenberg, a member of the Committee, said that the dialogue with the members of the delegation had been positive and the delegation deserved warm thanks for the answers it provided to the Committee. She recommended, among other things, that under the special measures for the protection of children, steps should be taken to separate young offenders from adult inmates. She also hoped that the concluding observations and recommendations which would be released by the Committee would serve the Government as a strategic document for its policy and actions towards the promotion and protection of the rights of the child, and would catalyse change in the country.

The delegation of Guinea-Bissau also included Augusto Mendes, Judge in the Supreme Court of Justice; and Joao Augusto Mendes, UNICEF Assistant Child Protection Officer.

The Committee will release its concluding observations and recommendations towards the end of its three-week session to be concluded on 7 June.

The Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 23 May, when it is scheduled to begin its consideration of the second periodic report of Belgium (CRC/C/83/Add.2).

Report of Guinea-Bissau

The initial report of Guinea-Bissau (document CRC/C/3/Add.63) states that Guinea-Bissau since its signature and ratification of the Convention has made meaningful progress on the rights of the child. Guinea-Bissau signed the Convention on 26 January 1990 and ratified it on 20 August 1990. From the date of Guinea-Bissau's adherence to the Convention, no progress was made in its application until 1997, when the People's National Assembly approved the Bill on Child and Women's Protection. The revision of the Penal Code concerning the rights of the family, the labour legislation and the statute of jurisprudential assistance to minors is still in process. These instruments will certainly give support to the application of the Convention.

The report states that notwithstanding some constraints, meaningful progress has been made at the level of maternal and infant health, especially regarding the protection of under-five children and pregnant women through immunization campaigns against major diseases which affect them. The national immunization coverage against major diseases was estimated at 37 per cent in 1986 and 60 per cent in 1993. Meaningful progress was also made at the level of the essential drugs programme, due to the regular supply of drugs to hospitals and the normal functioning of the central drug depot.

In the field of education, the report notes that little meaningful progress can be reported in this sector due to lack of information. The illiteracy rate is about 70 per cent and more than 80 per cent for women. The enrolment rate in primary school is about 40 per cent and decreasing. The secondary-level enrolment is about 4.2 per cent of the age group, and 3 per cent are girls. Only 2 per cent of children attending secondary school will complete this level. Girls, according to the practices and customs of each ethnic group, are compelled to marry while still adolescents -- 13 and 14 years old and of school age --, and even before the age allowed by law to work.

The report states that traditional practices and customs are causing serious problems for children and women. The circumcision of boys aged 9 to 13 years and female genital mutilation in girls aged between 7 and 12 years among the Fula and Mandinga ethnic groups are the most cruel and harmful practices. There are no effective measures at the national level to eliminate them.

The report also states that from the epidemiological point of view, malaria remains the most frequent cause of infant and maternal morbidity and mortality, as well as of abortions and underweight births, estimated at 12 per cent for both genders. Severe diarrhoea is the second cause of infant mortality due to malnutrition among mothers and children. The constraints identified in the implementation of the Convention are related to the economic measures imposed by the structural adjustment policy. The administration of the Ministry of Public Health fell by nearly 27.4 per cent since 1986, which represents some 8 per cent of the State general budget and 13 per cent of the total expenditures of the Ministry. This caused serious constraints, not only with regard to the functioning of the Ministry, but also with respect to the expansion of its services and made it dependent on external funds.

Introduction of Guinea-Bissau's Report

DIONISIO CABI, Minister of Justice of Guinea-Bissau, said Guinea-Bissau was a small country situated in the western part of Africa, independent since 1973, with a population of 1.2 million inhabitants. The country was among the poorest nations in the world, with 55 per cent of the population under 18 years of age. It ranked 169th State among the 174 countries on the human development index. Its external debt was estimated at $ 944.5 million and that situation had created difficulties to all investments in the social sector. Although the needs and the necessities of the social sector were recognized, and those needs were identified and taken up in the programmes of the Government, they were not yet realized. The military and political conflict of 1998 and 1999 had affected and destroyed the infrastructure of the country, including schools, hospitals and roads. Mainly affected by the destruction were the most vulnerable groups: children and women.

Since the ratification of the Convention, and since the participation of Guinea-Bissau in the 1990 World Summit on Children in New York, the Government had taken institutional and legislative actions, elaborated pertinent documents, and organized and participated in meetings and consultations relating to children, the Minister said. One of the results of such consultations was the creation in 1991 of the national commission for the coordination of action plans and the implementation of the International Declaration on the Survival, Protection and Development of the Child. In 1992, the commission received a mandate to implement the decisions of the World Summit on Children and to create an inter-ministerial committee to deal with children's issues.

The inter-ministerial committee for children had elaborated a plan that was approved as Guinea-Bissau's national plan of action for the child, Mr. Cabi said. The national plan had been presented in 1992 in Dakar during the meeting relating to assistance to African children. During the same year, a ministry had been created for women's promotion that was also charged with realizing activities concerning children. The ministry had supported the creation of a committee against harmful practices, such as female circumcision. In addition, the Government had declared 16 June as a day of African children.

The Minister also said that the country's parliament had created a commission to deal with children's and women's issues. The commission also had a duty to coordinate the harmonization of national legislation for women and children. In 2000, an institute for women and children had been created to ensure coordination of policies and actions aimed at the protection of children. In 2001, the National Assembly had ratified the two Optional Protocols to the Convention, which concerned the involvement of children in armed conflict, and the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

In conclusion, the Minister said that in addition to problems created by lack of adequate funds, there were other threats against children: drug addiction, prostitution, worst forms of child labour and the presence of landmines. Such indicators necessitated deep reflection on the state of children in the country and the implementation of urgent measures in order to preserve the future and the well-being of children. It was a huge task that the Guinean society had to accomplish without delay and with limited resources. The solution to those problems should be found in good governance, the respect for human rights, the fight against corruption, and the implementation of measures favouring the well-being of children.

Questions on General Measures of Implementation of the Convention and Definition of the Child

An Expert thanked the delegation for the presentation of the report and said it was prepared in accordance with the guidelines of the Committee. She said the civil war of 1998 and 1999 had had a negative impact on the general situation in the society. After the political instability, it seemed that there was relative peace now. What measures were being taken to advance the cause of children? Guinea-Bissau had ratified a number of international human rights instruments. What general plan was being adopted to uphold human rights in the country? How was the country progressing in collecting data for the formulation of its policies? Which organ of the Government was in charge of the implementation and monitoring of the Convention in the country? How did the Government coordinate the international cooperation offered to Guinea-Bissau?

Another Expert asked about the difficulties concerning the coordination of the various activities for children. How effective was the Guinean League of Human Rights? How would the Government design its next plan of action? Would it be the same as the previous one? Did the ad hoc committee on women and children review laws? What measures were being taken to disseminate the provisions of the Convention at the grass-root level.

There were major issues that could have been rectified in a very short period after the conflict, an Expert said. The report had said it was sometimes difficult to practice some of the written laws. What measures were being taken to rectify such deficiencies? The National Commission for Women and Children had major difficulties in being operational; what measures were being taken to resolve the financial difficulties the Commission was facing?

An Expert asked about the ability of the authorities to implement the provisions of the Convention. What was the role of the various institutions concerning the rights of the child, including the National Commission for Women and Children? Were there duplications in the work of the several institutions concerning children? How did children participate in the Children's Parliament? Was it a permanent body? Were its decisions taken seriously by the authorities? Concern was expressed about the existence of a colonial customary law on early and forced marriage, which was not consistent with the Convention. Was the Government taking measures to change this situation?

Guinea-Bissau had ratified the Convention in 1990 and a bill had also been adopted on the rights of children in 1997, an Expert said, observing that there was a gap between the ratification and the adoption of the bill. How did the Government implement the Convention during that period?

It was a positive sign that the initial report was prepared in collaboration with UNICEF and non-governmental organizations, another Expert said. However, the report said nothing about the national budget and the situation of the external debt. Also, it did not mention the financial implications of the conflict. He observed that some of the written laws were not in conformity with the country's Constitution. In the penal code, sexual intercourse with anyone under 18 years was prohibited; however, the customary law had lowered that age. In addition, the infant mortality of under-five was high. The report had said that the rate of 124 per thousand had decreased, but did not precise by how much. Did the Government set in its legislation the best interest of the child? Was there a special structure for children for judicial recourse?

What mechanisms were in place to collect data, asked another Expert. The country had had a devastating time as a result of the armed conflict and now it was in the process of reconstruction. Were children who were involved in the conflict demobilized and integrated into the society? The report did not say much about the 1997 bill on Children; could the delegation provide further information on the contents of that bill? Which were the main subjects of conflict between customary and positive laws? Were community leaders involved in ironing out differences in the event of conflict between those two laws? Was the plan of action on children part of the general strategy for the eradication of poverty? What attempts were being made to create a special division for children in the envisaged national human rights institution?

Adding her voice to the previous speakers, an Expert said that the political instability that the country had suffered from and the lack of resources had been the main problems facing the Government. There was also a decline in external funding and direct foreign investment had been slowing down. What was the Government doing to empower the National Council for Children to carry out its mandate? The presence of so many ethnic groups could be a factor for instability; what measures were being taken to reconcile customary practice and the written law? Guinea-Bissau's Constitution defined a child differently from the Convention. The report revealed that NGOs were actively participating in the country but there was lack of coordination. Did the activities of the NGOs serve the Government as catalysts in its efforts to promote and protect the rights of children?

How high on the agenda were the rights of children placed, asked another Expert. Was the cause of children prioritized? Was there any policy of distribution of resources to the poor? Did the strategy on poverty eradication include children?

Country Response

The delegation of Guinea-Bissau, responding to the questions raised on general measures of implementation of the Convention and definition of the child, said there were a number of questions raised by Experts that needed responses. The plans elaborated to promote children's rights had been discarded because of lack of resources. The Institute for Women and Children had been set up at a difficult moment after the conflict. Not much had been done to make it fully operational, however, efforts were now being made to inject additional resources to allow it to function properly.

The implementation and monitoring of the Convention were being carried out by a Government body, the delegation said.

On the issue of coordination, the delegation said the Government had been endeavouring to strengthen coordination among NGOs. A body was established for that purpose. In addition, a committee had been created to increase awareness, particularly in the rural areas, about the danger of female circumcision and other harmful practices.

At the Government level, an inter-ministerial committee had recently been established to bring together all questions regarding the rights of the child, the delegation said.

Guinea-Bissau's legislation enabled the State to fully incorporate the provisions of the Convention, the delegation said, adding that international treaties became part of the domestic law in accordance to the Constitution. If a conflict arose in the application of certain provisions, the Convention prevailed over domestic law. The Constitution did not allow the distinction between women and men; however, in the rural setting, the situation was different because of the application of customary law. The Constitution mainly outlined the main rights and it was not applied in some ethnic societies. On the right to inheritance, for example, some tribes interpreted the right differently from other tribal societies. Despite an awareness-increasing campaign, such practices continued. In some villages the rate of boys in the school was higher than girls, thus boys received a better education for their future. The Government continued to fight to rectify this situation.

In the penal system, a child from the age of 16 was responsible for criminal acts he or she committed, the delegation said; that legal position was taken from the colonial period.

On the situation of human rights, the delegation said that currently there was stability and the United Nations had taken appropriate measures in that regard. The representative of the Secretary-General had come to verify the situation, as did representatives of so many other countries. Any citizen could rise up and ask for his rights, unfortunately there was no clear structural arrangement to channel complaints. The report of the Human Right League on the human rights situation had been favourably accepted by the Government.

Radio dissemination of the rights of the child had been helpful, the delegation said. For example, families used to "lend" their children to other families for financial gain, but now there was a tendency not to do that. The mistreatment of children was also starting to be seen as a violation of the rights of the child. Even neighbours were involved whenever there was incidents of ill-treatment of children by their own parents.

On the principle of priority, the delegation said the Government was doing all it could to give priority to the promotion and protection of children.

There were legal mechanisms that protected the rights of women in their work and guaranteed they were not discriminated against, the delegation said. In the event of a violation of the rights of women, court procedures could be initiated by the person claiming to be a victim.

Tribunals were not everywhere in the country, the delegation said, adding that in some places the police could act as a judge.

Asked how the Government was dealing with decentralization up to the village level, the delegation said the Government was still in the process of implementing decentralization which was started in 1997 and which was interrupted by the military conflict. However, there was no law enacted on the issue since 1997.

With respect to the Children's Parliament, the delegation said that although it was in place, it was not functional. The Parliament was composed of 150 child-deputies from 8 administrative regions. Financial difficulties were among the factors for the non-functioning of the Children's Parliament. A number of NGOs and UNICEF were working to promote the rights of the child and to make people conscious of the rights relating to children. In a recent survey, 70 per cent of those who were asked responded that they were aware of the rights of the child.

Questions on General Principles and Civil Rights and Freedoms

An Expert said that there was no official translation of the Convention in the country. She wanted to know if there were plans to translate it into Creole, the local vernacular. What was the situation of albino and twin children? Had the Government taken any action to launch birth registration? The report had recognized that children's opinions were not taken into consideration; had the Government taken any initiative in that regard? Another Expert joined the previous Expert in asking about the special circumstances in which albinos and twins lived.

Another Expert asked about the conditions in which disabled children were murdered. Were there any measures being taken against infanticide? Were children protected from harmful videos and films which were imported? Was the practice of the separation of children from their parents widespread in the rural areas? Was the practice of informal adoption a common practice? Was inter-country adoption regulated by law?

An Expert said she was concerned about the situation of children involved in armed conflict; and the fate of unregistered children in the birth registry, because of the illiteracy of their parents. Why were persons who abused children not brought to justice?

Poverty made discrimination against children and regions much worse, an Expert said. She invited Guinea-Bissau to draw a plan of action on education in collaboration with international organizations. A well-structured campaign against female circumcision could resolve that problem.

An Expert asked what the Government was doing about children born out of wedlock; about corporal punishment in schools and child abuse in the family; and the role of the extended family with regard to children.

Country Response

In response to the questions raised on general principles and civil rights and freedoms, the delegation of Guinea-Bissau said that the 38 sectoral regions were run by sectoral administers. Each State service was also represented, such as the health and education services. The chief administrators were instructed to implement the guidelines of the central Government. The sectoral regions carried out other tasks such as dissemination of awareness-increasing campaigns against harmful practices.

The delegation said the Government was making efforts to translate the Convention into Creole. So far, the Convention had been translated into Portuguese.

Concerning twins, families used to choose the strongest twin and to reject the weakest twin, the delegation said. That practice had persisted as a tradition until the colonial rule prohibited it and made it punishable by capital punishment. The prohibition was maintained at the present time.

With regard to children with disabilities, the delegation said there was a superstitious belief that children with disabilities might change into serpents and disappear in the sea. So these children were rejected from the beginning. Now, thanks to a campaign carried out by the Government, the situation had changed and children with disabilities were accepted.

There were only few albinos -- four in number -- and they were all well-known in the society, the delegation said. One was a businessman, one worked in a court and another worked in the transportation system. There was no problem with regard to albinos and they were not morally affected because of the society's tolerance of their situation.

With respect to child soldiers, it was true that when there were two parts of the army fighting against each other, children were involved in the fight that took place in 1998 and 1999, the delegation said. Both sides used children in their ranks, however, their number was not known to the Government. Only 119 children were demobilized and registered as former combatants. The Government had asked the help of UNICEF to implement a programme of anti-trauma for former child soldiers. In addition, the fathers of former combatants had been receiving assistance on behalf of the children, an assistance which was meagre.

Asked about the age of voluntary conscription, the delegation said that during the armed conflict the situation had been different; however, in 1992 when the Government enlisted 200 persons for police and 2,000 for the army, their age had been 20 years and above.

With regard to registration of child birth, the idea of mobile brigades would be expensive to operate, the delegation said. However, the Government had implemented a fine of 2,500 Guinean Francs (15 Euros) to those who failed to register new births after the time limit. With the help of UNICEF, the Government had launched a free registration campaign to reduce the number of unregistered births.

There was no office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Guinea Bissau, the delegation said, adding that with the armed conflict in the northern part of the country, a considerable number of people were seeking sanctuary in Guinea-Bissau. In addition, there were a number of Sierra Leoneans who sought refuge in the country. The problem should be shared with the international agencies. The Foreign Ministry had already sought an explanation from UNHCR concerning its absence from the country.

Concerning children born out of wedlock, the Government had passed a law in 1996 prohibiting discrimination against such children, and they were equally treated with those born to married parents.

International cooperation would be necessary to alleviate the problem of children with disabilities, the delegation said, adding that their access to public transportation and buildings was a matter of concern to the Government.

Access to discos was regulated by strict observance of the age limit of the child, the delegation said.

People had the right to question children on the streets after 10 o'clock in the evening, the delegation said. The parents of those children could also be questioned.

Adopting parents should be able to carry out their responsibilities if they adopted a child, the official delegation said. Their economic and marital status was also taken into consideration before the process of adoption started. There were rarely cases of inter-country adoption taking place in the country.

What could be done for single parents left alone by their partners to bring up their children was an interesting issue, the delegation said. There were cases in which fathers abandoned their five or six children to the mothers and disappeared without leaving a trace. If the person was a Government employee, the judicial authorities could resolve the problem in bringing the culprit to justice and oblige him to help his children. In other cases, the situation was not always easy.

There were some specific cases in which the Government participated in helping people to go abroad for medical treatment, the delegation said.

With regards to corporal punishment, it was prohibited, even in Koranic schools, the delegation said. Anyone inflicting corporal punishment was criminally held responsible for his or her acts.

With regard to HIV/AIDS, the Government, in collaboration with the international agencies, had undertaken an awareness campaign on the disease and free distribution of condoms had been effected, the delegation said. Other preventive measures were also undertaken by the authorities to fight the rampant situation of the disease.

Women normally preferred to say nothing about domestic violence, the delegation said. If a case was brought to light, and if the victim lodged complaints, the courts were seized to rule on the issue. However, people were used to hiding violence in the house. It was found that the tendency to hide victimization was anchored in illiteracy. Any reform against this situation had already met with resistance. In domestic violence, it was always the women who were victims.

Discussion on Preservation and Protection of the Family Environment; Health and Well-Being; Education, Recreation and Cultural Activities; and Special Measures for the Protection of Children

An Expert asked about the leisure activities for children when they were not at school. Were children given any sex education in schools or in the family, another Expert asked. What preventive measures were being taken against teenage pregnancy? Did the Government encourage breastfeeding? What measures were being undertaken to alleviate the problem concerning the shortage of drinking water? With regard to health, it was reported that the Government received 90 per cent of its health budget from external funds; where did those funds go? Concerning education, half of school age children were out of school; the rate of dropout and class repetition was high; and the information on education provided by the report was not very complete.

Parents had lost confidence in schools and that was the reason that they did not send their children to schools, another Expert said, asking the delegation if the Government had undertaken an awareness-increasing campaign together with UNICEF to alter such attitudes.

What assistance was being provided to working children who were being exploited, an Expert asked. The report indicated that the rate of prostitution involving children was high and it said that the law was less practicable in that regard; what efforts were undertaken to give effect to the law prohibiting prostitution and to tackle the problem? What measures were being taken against the belief that having sex with a child would prolong one's lives?

Children had been affected by landmines after the armed conflict, an Expert said, asking if the Government had taken preventive measures to stop children from becoming victims. She asked why persons attacked by certain diseases were considered as disabled, including epilepsy and tuberculosis. What percentage of disabled children went to regular schools? The Netherlands had been giving a lot of funds to disabled persons; what other means did the Government find to help disabled persons.

An Expert asked if the Government of Guinea-Bissau had considered a priority policy on early age education in kindergartens. Parents should be encouraged to take their children to institutions where early age education was provided. Turning to the issue of children in conflict with the law, the Expert wondered if judges and police were trained to deal with such a category of delinquents. What was the pretrial detention period for children?

The Government had taken measures to reduce the rate of illiteracy, which was a positive aspect, an Expert said. However, the illiteracy rate for women was 76 per cent, which necessitated further action from the part of the Government.

Were there affirmative actions or special measures to encourage girls' education in Guinea-Bissau, an Expert asked. The mechanism to cover girls needed a policy that could involve NGOs and other actors.

Response of Guinea-Bissau

Responding to the last round of questions on preservation and protection of the family environment, health and well-being, education, recreation and cultural activities, and special measures for the protection of children, the delegation said there was an ongoing health programme in cooperation with UNICEF and WHO. Female genital mutilation existed outside of the cities and the awareness-raising campaign was continuing. A large number of children suffered from malnutrition; recreation activities were lacking and international cooperation was needed to increase them.

Sexual education was given by biology teachers, including information on how to behave; wells had been dug to alleviate problems of drinking water but not all people were profiting from such projects. Public hospitals distributed drugs and private enterprises also did the same but their prices were higher than that of public hospitals.

There was an awareness-increasing campaign to keep students in schools and to reduce dropouts; and some NGOs provided lunch to children to incite them to stay in the schools. Basic education was free of charge. The delegation agreed on the need to increase the awareness-raising campaign against domestic violence. A culture of peace and non-violence had to prevail. The United Nations had organized seminars on the culture of peace after the end of the armed conflict; and further efforts had to be made along that vein.

The delegation did not agree with an Expert's comment that parents had lost confidence in schools; the process of schooling continued and parents were encouraged more than ever to educate their children. The problem of unpaid salaries for teachers had also touched other State sectors, and the Government was attempting to solve it gradually.

The law prohibited children from entering into any remunerative labour, the delegation said. However, it was difficult to estimate the age of children working in agricultural sectors, which at times involved children as young as 7 years of age. Legislation still prohibited any form of child labour.

Asked about the fate of the 60 per cent of children who were not attending school, the delegation said that what they were doing with their time depended from case to case. In the villages, some children were working in agricultural fields, at times for the whole day. It was also the customary law that impeded children from pursuing their education to make them self-sufficient financially.

Sexual relationships with a minor was totally prohibited, the delegation said. The law of Guinea-Bissau was careful in protecting the rights of children. With regard to the beliefs concerning having sexual intercourse with minors, they were indeed one of the causes for the spread of HIV/AIDS.

The delegation said that there was a severe problem of juvenile delinquency and the Government was committed to resolving the problem. The fact that young offenders were kept in the same prisons as adults had created further problems and the attention of the Government had been drawn to that.

Preliminary Concluding Remarks

MARILIA SARDENBERG, Committee Expert, made preliminary concluding remarks, recommending that under the special measures for the protection of children, steps should be taken to separate young offenders from adult inmates. She said the dialogue with the members of the delegation had been positive and the delegation deserved warm thanks for the answers it had provided to the Committee during the morning and afternoon meetings. She wished to emphasize some of the positive factors, such as the fact that the State had ratified the two Optional Protocols to the Convention, the campaign for birth registration and the suspension of the fine for non-registration of new births.

The Expert said that although the Committee members had focused on the many problems facing Guinea-Bissau, the report had said that its presentation was proof of the determination of the Government to implement the provisions of the Convention. The lack of indicators on education and health was a problem as indicated by the delegation. She hoped that the concluding observations and recommendations which would be released by the Committee would serve the Government as a strategic document for its policy and actions towards the promotion and protection of the rights of the child, and would catalyse change in the country through implementation of the Convention. The delegation had mentioned the problem of changing mentalities, and she wished to highlight that awareness-raising campaigns on the Convention and training of personnel working with children on its provisions would give the Government the opportunity to implement the treaty. She recommended that the Government finish its revision of legislation concerning children which had been started, and that it should work on the problem of coordination of Government activities. It should pay special attention to the general provisions of the Convention, especially concerning the best interest of the child. There were so many problems affecting young people in Guinea-Bissau, and the delegation had said that there was no document as a basic guidance to working with young people. So maybe the Government could work on that. And finally, with regard to the work and cooperation with the NGOs, the Government should maybe elaborate a new law on how to cooperate with these organizations.

Final Remarks by Delegation

In his concluding remark, Dionisio Cabi, the Minister of Justice of Guinea-Bissau, said the presence of his delegation before the Committee had been advantageous and beneficial. His Government would take the recommendations of the Committee seriously and would move beyond customary laws.


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