Table 2: Children’s Health and the Right to Non-Discrimination

Examples of Human Rights Violations

  • Discrimination against Roma children, indigenous children, and children of other minority communities with regard to access to health care, education and housing.
  • A lack of culturally appropriate services, including social and health services and education, resulting in the discrimination against minority children.
  • Disparities in health outcomes of children on the basis of ethnic, racial, religious or geographic lines. 
Human Rights Standards Treaty Body Interpretation
CRC 2(1): States Parties shall respect and ensure the rights set forth in the present Convention to each child within their jurisdiction without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child’s or his or her parent’s or legal guardian’s race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status. CRC, General Comment 5(12): This non-discrimination obligation requires States actively to identify individual children and groups of children the recognition and realization of whose rights may demand special measures . . . Addressing discrimination may require changes in legislation, administration and resource allocation, as well as educational measures to change attitudes. CRC/GC/2003/5 (November 27, 2003).

CRC Committee: Noting persistent discrimination against Roma children in Bulgaria, Serbia, and Italy, in particular with regard to access to education, health care and housing. CRC/C/SR.1318 (CRC, 2008), para. 24, CRC/C/SRB/CO/1 (CRC, 2008) para. 25, CRC/C/ITA/CO/3-4 (CRC, 2012) para. 24.

CRC Committee: Noting that the social exclusion and structural discrimination of the Roma population in Finland leads to an increase in substance abuse and mental health problems, and a poor standard of living for Roma children. CRC/C/FIN/CO/4 (CRC, 2011), para. 25.

CRC Committee: Recommending that Panama take all necessary steps to address and prevent the marginalization and discrimination of indigenous and Afro-Panamanian girls and boys; that they receive health services and education adapted to their culture, history and languages; and that they enjoy an adequate standard of living. CRC/C/PAN/CO/3-4 (CRC, 2011) para. 81.

CRC Committee: Expressing concern that Batwa children in Burundi suffer from discrimination in relation to the enjoyment of their rights, including the rights to health care, food, survival and development. CRC/C/BDI/CO/2 (CRC, 2010), para. 78.

CRC Committee: Expressing concern that there are growing disparities affecting indigenous children in Costa Rica with regard to access to health care, especially in rural and coastal areas. Child mortality of indigenous children is twice as high as the national average. CRC/C/CRI/CO/4 (CRC, 2011), para. 29.

CRC Committee: Calling on Syria to repeal legal provisions that discriminate against girls, and take all the necessary measures to eliminate societal discrimination against them through public educational programs, including campaigns organized in cooperation with opinion leaders, families and the media to combat the stereotyping of gender roles. CRC/C/SYR/CO/3-4 (CRC, 2012) para. 32.

CRC Committee: Recommending that Norway “make every effort to ensure that children from ethnic minority backgrounds and indigenous children have equal access to all children’s rights, including access to welfare, health services and schools …” CRC/C/NOR/CO/4 (CRC, 2010).

CRC Committee: Recommending that the Philippines “implement policies and programmes in order to ensure equal access for indigenous and minority children to culturally appropriate services, including social and health services and education.” CRC/C/PHL/CO/3-4 (CRC, 2009).

Human Rights Standards Treaty Body Interpretation
ICERD 2: States Parties condemn racial discrimination and undertake to pursue by all appropriate means and without delay a policy of eliminating racial discrimination in all its forms and promoting understanding among all races.

ICERD 5: In compliance with the fundamental obligations laid down in article 2 of this Convention, States Parties undertake to prohibit and to eliminate racial discrimination in all its forms and to guarantee the right of everyone, without distinction as to race, colour, or national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law, notably in the enjoyment of the following rights: (e)(iv) The right to public health, medical care, social security and social services.

CERD: Recommending that Costa Rica make strenuous efforts to combat child mortality in the indigenous communities (art. 5 (iv)). A/62/18 (CERD, 2007).

CERD: Expressing concern that discrepancies still remaining in Israel between infant mortality rates and life expectancy rates of Jewish and non-Jewish populations, and fact that minority women and girl children are often most disadvantaged. CERD/C/ISR/CO/13 (CERD, 2007).

CERD: Expressing concern that the Roma community in Romania continue to be the targets of racial stereotyping and racial discrimination in access to education and in the quality of education — including through segregation of Roma children — as well as in access to housing, care, health services, social services and employment. CERD/C/ROU/CO/16-19 (CERD, 2010).

CERD: Expressing concern that children from indigenous or tribal groups in Suriname continue to experience discrimination in, inter alia, access to education, health and public services. CERD/C/SUR/CO/12 (CERD, 2009).

CEDAW 2: States Parties condemn discrimination against women in all its forms, agree to pursue by all appropriate means and without delay a policy of eliminating discrimination against women. CEDAW Committee: Noting the multiple forms of discrimination faced by Roma women and girls in Romania, who remain marginalized with regard to their education, health, housing, employment, and participation in political and public life. CEDAW/C/ROM/CO/6 (CEDAW, 2006), para. 26.
ICESCR 2(2): The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to guarantee the rights enunciated in the present Covenant shall be exercised without discrimination of any kind as to race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, birth or other status. CESCR: Recommending that Benin consider amending the Personal and Family Code with a view to guaranteeing full equality between children born in and out of wedlock and remove the phrase “legitimate children” from legal language. E/C.12/BEN/CO/2 (CESCR, 2008).

CESCR: Expressing concern that despite legislative changes designed to ensure equal treatment of children, de facto discrimination against children born out of wedlock is widespread in Uruguay. E/C.12/URY/CO/3-4 (CESCR, 2010).