Committee on the Rights of the Child, session 57 (2011)

Recommendations/observations on corporal punishment in the Committee on the Rights of the Child's concluding observations to states examined in the 57th session

Bahrain

(3 August 2011, CRC/C/BHR/CO/2-3, Concluding observations on second/third report paras. 44, 45 and 46)

"The Committee remains concerned that little or no action has been taken, or is planned for, prohibiting corporal punishment in all settings, including the home.

"The Committee urges the State party to ensure the prohibition of corporal punishment in all settings, including in the home. The Committee further strongly recommends that the State party conduct awareness-raising programmes to ensure that alternative forms of discipline are used, in a manner consistent with the dignity of the child, drawing the State party’s attention to general comment No. 8 (2006) on the right of the child to protection from corporal punishment and other cruel or degrading forms of punishment and general comment No. 13 (2011) on the right of the child to freedom from all forms of violence, and to seek assistance from religious and community leaders in this respect.

"With reference to the United Nations Study on Violence against Children (A/61/299), the Committee recommends that the State party:

a) take all necessary measures for the implementation of the recommendations contained in the report of the independent expert for the United Nations Study on Violence against Children, while taking into account the outcome and recommendations of the regional consultation for the Middle East and North Africa held in 2005, paying particular attention to gender, and:

(i) prohibit all forms of violence against children in all settings, including all corporal punishment…."

Cambodia

(3 August 2011, CRC/C/KHM/CO/2-3, Concluding observations on second/third report, paras. 38, 39, 40 and 41)

"The Committee expresses deep concern about allegations that children and adolescents addicted to drugs, children with mental disabilities and children in street situations have been subjected to torture and ill-treatment, including widespread beatings, whippings and administration of electric shock in drug rehabilitation and youth centres where some of them had been forcibly placed.

"The Committee urges the State party to:

a) ensure that children in any form of arbitrary detention, whether in drug treatment and rehabilitation, social rehabilitation or any other type of Government run centre are released without delay;

b) ensure prompt investigation into allegations of ill treatment and torture of children in those centres and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice;

c) set up an independent child-sensitive mechanism to receive complaints against law enforcement officers and to provide victims with redress as already recommended by the Committee against Torture (CAT/C/KHM/CO/2, para. 20).

"While noting that the State party has adopted various legislation to prohibit corporal punishment, the Committee is however concerned that article 1045 of the Civil Code allows a “parental power holder to personally discipline the child to the extent necessary” and that article 8 of the Law on the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Protection of the Victims implicitly authorizes corporal punishment of children for disciplinary purposes. The Committee expresses concern that physical punishment is frequently viewed as a culturally acceptable form of discipline by parents and teachers and widely practiced in the State party.

"The Committee urges the State party to:

a) repeal article 1045 of the Civil Code and provisions of the Law on the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Protection of the Victims authorizing corporal punishment of children;

b) enact legislation to explicitly prohibit corporal punishment of children in all settings, including within the family;

c) ensure that laws prohibiting corporal punishment are effectively implemented and that legal proceedings are systematically initiated against those responsible for violence against children;

d) introduce public education, awareness-raising and social mobilization campaigns on the harmful effects of corporal punishment with a view to changing the general attitude towards this practice and promote positive, non-violent, participatory forms of child-rearing and education as an alternative to corporal punishment;

e) refer to the Committee’s general comment No. 8 (2006) on the right of the child to protection from corporal punishment and other cruel or degrading forms of punishment."

Costa Rica

(5 August 2011, CRC/C/CRI/CO/4, Concluding observations on fourth report, paras. 4, 43, 44, 45 and 46)

"The Committee welcomes as positive steps the adoption of the following legislative measures: ...

c) Act No. 8654 on the rights of children and adolescents to be disciplined without physical punishment or degrading treatment, in 2008; ...

"The Committee notes that the National Plan for the Prevention of Violence and the Promotion of Peace (2007) is being evaluated and that a new plan is being drafted to include drug trafficking and consumption. It also welcomes the programme Windows of Peace 2010-2014 including the proclamation of “child-friendly” cantons. However, the Committee notes with concern:

a) tendencies in the media and in the legislature promoting zero tolerance or mano dura policies to prevent delinquency among children and adolescents in vulnerable situations, in particular children in street situations; and

b) continued allegations of ill-treatment of juveniles in detention and in penal institutions, despite the fact that Act No. 8654 (2008) on the rights of children and adolescents to be disciplined without physical punishment or degrading treatment and Act No. 8649 (2008) on the application of juvenile criminal penalties prohibit the use of corporal punishment and degrading treatment by the staff of juvenile detention centres and penal institutions.

"The Committee urges the State party to ensure that plans to prevent violence and promote peace are adequately implemented and evaluated so that they discourage repressive and retrogressive actions against children and adolescents, in particular those in vulnerable situations. It also urges the State party to investigate and prosecute all cases of ill-treatment of children by police officers and prison guards, and bring perpetrators to justice.

"The Committee welcomes the adoption of Act No. 8654 (2008) on the rights of children and adolescents to be disciplined without physical punishment or degrading treatment, prohibiting corporal punishment and degrading treatment of children or adolescents by parents, guardians, alternative caregivers and the staff of educational, health and day-care centres and juvenile detention centres. However, it remains concerned that: corporal punishment is still perceived as sometimes necessary by a large percentage of the population; the Office of the Ombudsman has received a high number of complaints and queries from children and adolescents regarding mistreatment by teachers; and perpetrators are only being held criminally responsible when the corporal punishment has resulted in physical injuries.

"In light of article 28, paragraph 2, of the Convention and General Comment No. 8 (2006) on the right of the child to protection from corporal punishment and other cruel or degrading forms of punishment, the Committee recommends that the State party:

a) ensure the full implementation of Act No. 8654 prohibiting corporal punishment and ensure that all cases of corporal punishment are effectively investigated and prosecuted and that perpetrators, including teachers, are being held criminally responsible, irrespective of whether or not such punishment has resulted in physical injuries of the child;

b) continue to take appropriate measures to raise the awareness of the general public, including children, on the unlawfulness and the negative consequences of corporal punishment and other forms of violence in the upbringing of children; and

c) sensitize parents, teachers and others working with and for children about alternative, non-violent forms of discipline."

Czech Republic

(4 August 2011, CRC/C/CZE/CO/3-4, Concluding observations on third/fourth report, paras. 39, 40 and 41)

"While noting that the corporal punishment of children is prohibited in public care, the Committee notes with concern there that is still no legislation which explicitly prohibits corporal punishment of children in all settings, including in the family. The Committee is also concerned at the fact that according to surveys undertaken by the State party, the vast majority of Czech citizens expressed acceptance of corporal punishment in a child’s upbringing.

"The Committee urges the State party to address the widespread tolerance of corporal punishment by, inter alia, conducting awareness-raising and public education programmes with a view to encouraging the use of alternative disciplinary measures in accordance with the inherent dignity of the child, and in doing so, ensure that corporal punishment is prohibited in all settings including the family.

"The Committee welcomes the State party’s participation in the initiatives of the Council of Europe and the United Nations to prevent and ban the corporal punishment of children and the drawing up of a National Strategy of Preventing Violence against Children (2008-2018) as well as its accompanying National Action Plan (2009-2010)."

Egypt

(15 July 2011, CRC/C/EGY/CO/3-4, Concluding observations on third/fourth report, paras. 57 and 59)

"The Committee is alarmed at the high levels of corporal punishment of children in schools and in the home, and at reports of an unacceptably high number of children aged 2-14 who experience physical or mental violence (92 per cent in 2006). While noting as positive the right of the child to be protected against all forms of violence in article 3 (a) of the Child Law (2008) and that, as indicated by the delegation, the Penal Code criminalizes domestic violence and provides double punishment if a parent causes bodily harm, the Committee is gravely concerned that all forms of violence against children are still not prohibited in domestic legislation. It remains seriously concerned that corporal punishment remains lawful in the home and that, despite a ministerial decision of 1999 prohibiting the use of violence and beating in all schools, corporal punishment remains common practice in educational institutions. It further notes with particular concern information in the State party’s report (CRC/C/EGY/3-4, para. 147) that domestic law allows fathers to use “reasonable corporal punishment” without being held responsible. The Committee is further deeply concerned at reports of the use of corporal punishment, including flogging, and of verbal abuse to “discipline” children, in childcare institutions.

"The Committee, drawing the State party’s attention to its general comment no. 13 (2011) on the right of the child to freedom from all forms of violence, reiterates its previous recommendation (CRC/C/15/Add.145, para. 38) and urges the State party to:

a) ensure that domestic legislation explicitly prohibits all forms of physical and mental violence against children in all settings; 

b) undertake a national awareness-raising campaign on the prohibition and unacceptability of all forms of violence against children as well as to make available complaints mechanisms widely accessible to children;

c) create a child protection system which is publicly supported and which has social workers at the municipal level who are specifically trained to receive reports on violence, abuse and neglect against children and to deal with and follow-up such cases by providing the child with the necessary support, treatment and protection. This should include providing the family with supportive measures to prevent ill-treatment from reoccurring as well as by referring complaints to Specialized Child Prosecution Offices for prompt and impartial investigations."

Finland

(3 August 2011, CRC/C/FIN/CO/4, Concluding observations on fourth report, paras. 5, 35 and 36)

"The Committee also welcomes the adoption of policies and programmes, including:

a) the National Action Plan to reduce corporal punishment of children for the period of 2010-2015; ...

"The Committee welcomes the National Action Plan to eliminate corporal punishment of children for the period of 2010–2015. However it remains concerned that corporal punishment continues to be tolerated and used, particularly in the home.

"The Committee recommends that the State party ensure full implementation of the laws prohibiting corporal punishment in all settings through, inter alia, systematic awareness-raising among adults and children, promotion of appropriate positive, nonviolent forms of discipline and continuous monitoring – paying particular attention to parents of children requiring special support and parents having difficulties in their child-rearing practices."

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