During its June session, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, which monitors states’ implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, released its concluding observations on Nigeria’s compliance with its international obligations to respect, protect, and fulfill the rights of the child.
The Center for Reproductive Rights and our Nigerian partner, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC), had submitted a shadow letter to highlight violations of the sexual and reproductive health and rights of adolescents. Taking into account this information, the Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations highlighted the following key reproductive rights concerns:
- Improving access to key reproductive healthcare services by providing these services free of charge, including maternal healthcare,
- Reducing unsafe abortion by amending the restrictive abortion law,
- Providing comprehensive sexuality education and free and easily accessible contraceptives to adolescents,
- Eliminating harmful traditional practices, including early marriage and female genital mutilation,
- Preventing sexual violence in schools.
In addition, the Committee recommended that the government amend the Constitution to ensure it guarantees “the right of the child to the best attainable state of physical and mental health as a constitutionally protected right.”
The Center and WARDC welcome the Committee’s concluding observations and strongly urge the Nigerian government to implement these recommendations to improve the sexual and reproductive health and rights of adolescents.