Committee Against Torture, session 50 (2013)

Recommendations/observations on corporal punishment in the Committee Against Torture's concluding observations to states examined in session 50 (6-31 May 2013)

Estonia

(17 June 2013, CAT/C/EST/CO/5, Concluding observations on fifth report, para. 21)

"While taking note that corporal punishment is unlawful in schools and in the penal system, the Committee is concerned by the absence of legislation which explicitly prohibits corporal punishment in all settings (arts. 2 and 16).

The Committee recommends that the Child Protection Act be amended to prohibit explicitly corporal punishment of children in all settings, including at home and in alternative care settings, as an offence under the law."

Guatemala

(21 June 2013, CAT/C/GTM/CO/5-6, Concluding observations on fifth/sixth report, para. 19)

"The Committee notes with concern the poor conditions, including overcrowding, in juvenile detention centres. The Committee notes with particular concern the reports about the ill-treatment of minors in detention, including corporal punishment and locking them up for long periods. It is also concerned about reports that minors are ill-treated on admission to both public and private alternative-care centres (arts. 2, 11 and 16).

The Committee recommends that the State party should: …

b) take all necessary steps to bring juvenile detention centres into line with the relevant international standards and, in particular, to reduce overcrowding and avoid locking up inmates for long periods; …

d) adopt without delay appropriate measures to prevent and punish any type of ill-treatment of minors deprived of their liberty or those in alternative-care centres…."

Japan

(28 June 2013, CAT/C/JPN/CO/2, Concluding observations on second report, para. 23)

"Noting that child abuse is prohibited under article 3 of the Act on Child Abuse Prevention, the Committee shares concern raised by the Committee on the Rights of Child (CRC/C/JPN/CO/3, para. 47) that corporal punishment in the home and in alternative care settings is not expressly prohibited by law and that the Civil Code and the Act on Child Abuse Prevention allow the use of appropriate discipline and are unclear as to the admissibility of corporal punishment in some cases (art. 16).

The State party should explicitly prohibit corporal punishment and all forms of degrading treatment of children in all settings by law."

Mauritania

(18 June 2013, CAT/C/MRT/CO/1, Concluding observations on initial report, para. 25)

"Notwithstanding the adoption of Ordinance No. 2005-015 of 5 December 2005 on the judicial protection of children, which establishes prison sentences for persons who commit acts of torture or acts of barbarity against children, the Committee is concerned that corporal punishment of children is not prohibited by law and seems to be even considered a suitable and effective method of education (art. 16).

The State party should:

a)     amend its criminal legislation, including Ordinance No. 2005-015 on the judicial protection of children, to prohibit and explicitly penalize any form of corporal punishment of children in all places and contexts, including within the family, and enforce the principle of education without violence in accordance with article 28, paragraph 2, of the Convention on the Rights of the Child;

b)     carry out programmes involving children, families, communities and religious leaders to educate, sensitize and mobilize the general public about the harmful effects of corporal punishment on the physical and psychological development of the person."

UK

(24 June 2013, CAT/C/GBR/CO/5, Concluding observations on fifth report, para. 29)

"The Committee takes note of amendments to legislation in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, which limit the application of the defence of “reasonable punishment” (or “justifiable assault” in Scotland), but remains concerned that some forms of corporal punishment are still legally permissible in the home by parents and those in loco parentis. In addition, it is concerned that some forms of corporal punishment are lawful in the home, schools and alternative care settings in almost all overseas territories and Crown dependencies.

The Committee recommends that the State party prohibits corporal punishment of children in all settings in the Metropolitan territory, Crown dependencies and overseas territories, repealing all legal defences currently in place, and further promote positive non-violent forms of discipline via public campaigns as an alternative to corporal punishment."

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