93rd session of Committee on the Right of the Child – France
The Committee on the Rights of the Child is composed of independent experts who monitor the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by its States parties. It also monitors the implementation of the Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict, and on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. All states parties are required to report to the committee on how the rights are being met.
On May 9 and 10, 2023, during the 93rd session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the French delegation presented its sixth and seventh report under the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The delegation was composed of various experts and was led by Ms. Charlotte Caubel, State Secretary for Children under the Prime Minister.
Ms. Caubel noted the first major measures in favor of children’s rights, namely the creation of a secretariat dedicated solely to children. The Secretariat held their first inter-ministerial committee for children led by the Prime Minister in November 2022. She then outlined the actions taken in response to the committee’s previous advice An interdepartmental strategy for the fight against violence against children was launched in late 2019. Two laws were enacted to improve child protection arrangements by reforming child protection policies.
The secretariat has focused their attention on education for all and enacting family focused policies. Children with disabilities are better taken care of thanks to policies that bring together specialized and regular schools. The French government has also initiated an extension of the right to education, mainly by lowering the minimum age of compulsory education to three years and raising the minimum school-leaving age to 18 years, as well as raising teachers’ salaries. Attention is given to the education of children in overseas territories so that they can be exposed to their local cultures and learn their language in addition to the French language and culture.
The first thousand days plan has been initiated to support children from birth and help single-parent families. They have also reformed the juvenile criminal justice system as of September 30, 2021 where the tenants of the application of justice for the youngest were reformed with a goal to better integrate education and adaptability in criminal proceedings. They also want to provide youth with more opportunities to participate in decisions that affect them, including through the creation of councils.
Commissions have been set up to combat sexual violence against children, such as CIASE for sexual violence in the Catholic Church and CIIVISE for victims of incest. The law also establishes a new framework to protect against violence by law enforcement officials.
The Delegation provided examples of France’s compliance with the Convention. The delegation recalled the support provided to psychiatric medicine to further protect the mental health of children and measures for data protection related to medical confidentiality were mentioned. They spoke of the efforts made to provide better schooling and support for children with disabilities. Aid for housing and access to health care for poor families and migrant children has been established put in place.
The delegation recalled France’s commitment to the repatriation of children in Syria, the plan launched to eradicate female mutilation, the problems linked to international adoption and surrogacy and the policies put in place to fight against child pornography and other abuses on the Internet.