Mauritania - Alternative Report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child 2017

This report is in advance of the Committee on the Rights of the Child’s (‘the Committee’) Pre-Session Working Group in February 2018.

The report focuses on the State party’s efforts to improve the birth registration rate, the treatment of refugee children and risk of recruitment of children on the borders of Mauritania and Mali by armed groups, the application of the anti-terrorism law to children associated with armed groups, and the age of recruitment to state armed forces. This report is based on desk research.

Recommendations 

The party should:

• Continue the positive trend on birth registration rates by prioritising efforts to strengthen and further develop measures, in particular in relation to awareness-raising, to ensure that all children born within the national territory are registered; to create institutional structures at all levels that are compulsory, accessible and free, in order to implement effective birth registration, e.g. by introducing mobile units, especially in rural and remote areas and in internally displaced persons and refugee camps; and to seek technical assistance from UNICEF for the implementation of these recommendations.1
• Take all measures to comply with international human rights and refugee law, specifically to ensure that unaccompanied children receive protection, access to health care and education.
• Collaborate with UNHCR, UNICEF and other agencies and NGOs to increase opportunities for school-age refugees and asylum seekers in education, training or other productive activities in fulfilment of their rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child and in other international human rights or humanitarian instruments to which the State is party.
• Collaborate with UNHCR, UNICEF and other agencies NGOs to identify all individuals recruited as children by armed groups and develop effective reintegration programmes for them, ensuring that they receive age and gender-appropriate recovery and reintegration assistance which promotes their physical and psychological recovery, and social reintegration in an environment which fosters the health, self-respect and dignity of the individual.
• Revise its anti-terrorism law (Loi n°2010-035) to ensure that it meets international standards, and in particular, that children who have been associated with armed forces or armed groups are not prosecuted or punished, or threatened with prosecution or punishment, solely for their membership of those forces or groups, and that children who are accused of crimes under international law after being unlawfully recruited by armed forces or armed groups are considered primarily as victims of violations of international law and not only as alleged perpetrators.
• Raise the age of criminal responsibility to a minimum of 12 years old, with a view to raising the age further in accordance with the Committee’s general comment No. 10
• Ensure that children detained are not subject to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and that juvenile justice standards are fully implemented.
• Revise Loi 62132 of 29 June 1962 to raise the minimum age of military recruitment to 18 years old in all circumstances, in accordance with the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.
• Ratify and implement the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict.
• Ratify and implement the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
• Endorse and implement the Safe Schools Declaration.

Download the report here for our full set of questions and recommendations.