Committee on the Rights of the Child: Brunei Darussalam

Session 071 (2016)

(29 January 2016, CRC/C/BRN/CO/2-3 Advance Unedited Version, Concluding observations on second/third report, paras. 6, 9, 10, 39, 40, 69 and 70)

“The Committee recommends that the State party take all measures necessary to address its previous recommendations of 2003 (CRC/C/15/Add.219) which have not been implemented or not sufficiently implemented and, in particular, those related to independent monitoring structures (para.17), data collection (para.19), definition of the child (para.23), birth registration (para.34), nationality (para.36), corporal punishment (para.38), and children in conflict with the law (para.56).

“The Committee is deeply concerned about the State party’s restrictive interpretation of Sharia law and about the adverse impact on human rights in general, and on children’s rights in particular, of the recently adopted Syariah Penal Code Order 2013, which under its second and third phases of implementation will impose capital punishment, hand cutting and whipping of children for several crimes.

“The Committee urges the State party to:

a) review without delay the new Syariah Penal Code Order 2013 with a view to repealing its direct and indirect discriminatory provisions affecting children;

b) compile information on best practices of States parties with similar legal systems and cultural and religious backgrounds, where more progressive interpretations of Islamic law have been codified in legislative reforms;

c) undertake law reform to eliminate all discrimination against children, including through partnerships and collaboration with Islamic legal research institutions, children’s non-governmental organizations and community leaders;

d) allocate sufficient human, technical and financial resources for the full dissemination of child-related laws and develop institutional capacity for their effective implementation.

“The Committee notes the information provided by the State party that corporal punishment of children has been prohibited in schools. However, the Committee remains concerned about the persistence of this practice in families, schools and institutions, in particular by school headmasters and principles, in alternative care settings and penal institutions and as a sentence for crime.

“In the light of its general comment No. 8 (2006) on the right of the child to protection from corporal punishment, in which the Committee underlined that all forms of violence against children, however light, are unacceptable and that the prerogatives of parents should in no way undermine the rights of children to be protected from corporal punishment, the Committee urges the State party to:

a) explicitly prohibit corporal punishment in all settings;

b) ensure that laws prohibiting corporal punishment in schools are implemented effectively and that legal proceedings are systematically initiated against those who inflict corporal punishment;

c) introduce sustained public education, awareness-raising and social mobilization programmes, involving children, families, communities and religious leaders, on the harmful physical and psychological effects of corporal punishment with a view to changing the general attitude towards that practice, and promote positive, non-violent and participatory forms of children rearing and discipline as an alternative to corporal punishment;

d) ensure the involvement and participation of the whole society, including children, in the design and implementation of preventive strategies with regard to corporal punishment of children.

“The Committee reiterates its previous concern (CRC/C/15/Add.219, para.56) that the minimum age of criminal responsibility is very low (7 years). The Committee also remains deeply concerned that no progress has been made towards the abolishment of the sentence of whipping of boys. The Committee is further concerned at the lack of adequate training to probation officers working with children.

“In the light of its general comment No. 10 (2007) on children’s rights in juvenile justice, the Committee urges the State party to bring its juvenile justice system fully into line with the Convention and other relevant standards. In particular, the Committee urges the State party to:

a) raise without delay the minimum age of criminal responsibility to an internationally acceptable standard;

b) abolish the sentence of whipping/flogging for boys;

c) ensure that staff working with children, in particular probation officers, specialized judges, legal representatives and social workers, are provided with appropriate training;

d) make use of the technical assistance tools developed by the Interagency Panel on Juvenile Justice and its members, including the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, UNICEF, OHCHR and NGOs, and seek technical assistance in the area of juvenile justice from the members of the Panel.”

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Session 034 (2003)

(27 October 2003, CRC/C/15/Add.219, Concluding observations on initial report, paras. 37, 38, 43, 44, 55 and 56)

"The Committee is concerned that corporal punishment is not prohibited at home, in schools or institutions and remains acceptable in the society. The Committee also notes that the new book of discipline for schools does not specifically prohibit corporal punishment nor does it even refer to it as a form of discipline.

"The Committee strongly recommends that the State party prohibit corporal punishment at home, in schools and institutions and undertake education campaigns to educate families on alternative forms of discipline.

"The Committee notes the adoption of the Children’s Order 2000 and welcomes the special unit of the police established in 1997 to deal with child victims of abuse and violence, but remains concerned that there is insufficient information and awareness in the State party of the ill-treatment and abuse of children within the family and institutions.

"The Committee recommends that the State party: ...

b) take legislative measures to prohibit all forms of physical and mental violence, including corporal punishment and sexual abuse of children, in the family and in institutions;

c) carry out public education campaigns about the negative consequences of ill-treatment of children, and promote positive, non-violent forms of discipline as an alternative to corporal punishment….

"The Committee is concerned that the minimum age of criminal responsibility is set at 7 years, which is far too low. The Committee is further concerned that there is no juvenile justice system although it is foreseen in law, that children are detained with adults and that whipping is used as a form of punishment for boys.

"The Committee recommends that the State party: ...

g) abolish the sentence of whipping for boys…."

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