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Singapore Government

Obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is a treaty that comprehensively provides for the rights of children. It sets out international standards on the provisions of healthcare, education, legal and social services for children. Singapore acceded to UNCRC in October 1995, and the Inter-Ministry Commitee on the UNCRC (IMC-CRC) serves as an inter-agency platform to monitor Singapore's progress in implementing the Convention.

The Convention has four general principles:

a. Non-discrimination;

b. Best interests of the child;

c. Right to survival and development; and

d. Respect for the views of the child

Please see below for more information on Singapore's reporting to the Commitee on the Rights of the Child. Click here for publicity materials on the UNCRC.  

Initial Report and Oral Presentation to the Committee on the Rights of the Child

Singapore submitted its Initial Report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child in November 2002. The Initial Report listed the legislative, judicial, administrative and other measures adopted by Singapore to give effect to the provisions of the UNCRC.

Singapore presented its Initial Report on 26 September 2003, at the 34th Session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child. The Singapore delegation was led by then Minister of State for Community Development and Sports, Mr Chan Soo Sen, and comprised representatives from the IMC-CRC and the Singapore Children’s Society.

The report was well received by the Committee, in particular Singapore’s progress for children in the areas of education health and housing. (See the Committee’s Concluding Observations on Singapore’s Initial Report).

Second and Third Periodic Report and Oral Presentation to the Committee on the Rights of the Child

Singapore submitted its Second and Third Periodic Report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child in January 2009. The Report covered the period 2003 to 2007, and provided detailed information on Singapore’s progress in the areas of child welfare and protection, legislative enhancements and initiatives for children. 

Then-Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) organised a Consultation Forum with key stakeholders on 6 January 2011 to gather feedback on Singapore's implementation of the UNCRC. The session was attended by more than 200 participants from government agencies, Voluntary Welfare Organisations, hospitals, schools, and then-MCYS Executive Volunteer Commitees and Boards.

Singapore presented its Second and Third Periodic Report on 20 January 2011, at the 56th Session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child. The Singapore delegation was led by then Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, and comprised representatives from the IMC-CRC and the Singapore Children's Society. The Concluding Observations on Singapore's Periodic Report were released in February 2011.

Fourth and Fifth Periodic Report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child

Singapore submitted its Fourth and Fifth Periodic Report [Annex A and B, Annex C] to the Committee on the Rights of the Child on 3 November 2017. The Report covered Singapore's progress between 2009 and 2016.

The Report affirmed Singapore’s commitment to protect and promote the wellbeing of our children in line with the principles of the UNCRC. The Report also outlined Singapore's progress in enhancing the rights of children through improving the protection, care and holistic development of children. The Report emphasised the collective effort of the community and the Government in safeguarding and promoting children's rights in Singapore. It also addressed the Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child on Singapore’s Second and Third Periodic Report.

To prepare for the Report, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) invited relevant stakeholders to participate in roundtable discussions in March 2017 on pertinent child-related issues. MSF also invited members of the public to provide feedback on the draft Report through REACH.

Singapore presented its Fourth and Fifth Periodic Report on 16 and 17 May 2019, at the 81st Session of the Committee on the Rights of Child. The Singapore delegation was led by then Senior Parliamentary Secretary at MSF and Ministry of Education (MOE), Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, and comprised representatives from the IMC-CRC.

At the Oral Presentation, the Committee commended Singapore's significant progress in advancing children's right since the last review in 2011. While noting that there would always be room for improvement, the Committee welcomed many of MSF's efforts including our forthcoming amendments to raise the age limit of the Children and Young Persons Act from 16 years to 18 years to better protect our children, the use of robust screeening and reporting tools for child protection, the establishement of the Family Justice Courts, and significant investments in the Early Childhood Education sector.

The Committee's Concluding Observations were released in June 2019. In particular, the Committee noted with appreciation the legislative, institutional and policy measures Singapore adopted to implement the Convention. The Commitee also made several recommendations, including for the Government to ensure that children's views are heard and given due consideration, and to more systemically cooperate with Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs). Click here to view the Committee's Concluding Observations for Singapore.

MSF will continue to encourage an active and caring citizenry, by consulting stakeholders including children and NGOs in our efforts to better protect and promote the wellbeing of our children. In particular, NGOs such as Famly Service Centres, Child Protection Specialist Centres and Family Violent Specialist Centres, are key providers of accessible and people-centric social services. Like the Government, our NGOs are committed and dedicated to our children. Singapore would be submitting its next Periodic Report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child by 2024.

For more information on the UNCRC and children's rights, please visit www.unicef.org and https://www.ohchr.org/en/treaty-bodies/crc.

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