Committee on the Rights of the Child, session 61 (2012)

Recommendations/observations on corporal punishment in the Committee on the Rights of the Child's concluding observations to states examined in the 61st session

Albania

(7 December 2012, CRC/C/ALB/CO/2-4, Concluding observations on second-fourth report, paras. 41 and 42)

"While welcoming that corporal punishment is explicitly prohibited in all settings, the Committee is concerned that various forms of corporal punishment are widely practiced at home, in schools and in institutions. Furthermore, the Committee, while noting that the Law on Pre-University Education prohibits corporal punishment, regrets that it does not specify the necessary legal mechanisms for prevention of violence and protection of children in the school premises, nor does it provide for sanctions against teachers who use violence, or for procedures to identify and report violence. 

"In the light of its general comment No. 8 (CRC/C/GC/8, 2006), the Committee urges the State party to: 

a) ensure that laws prohibiting corporal punishment are effectively implemented and that legal proceedings are systematically initiated against persons subjecting children to corporal punishment; 

b) improve the law on Pre-University Education, especially by introducing legal mechanisms for prevention of violence and protection of children in the school premises, sanctions against teachers who use violence and procedures to identify and report violence; 

c) introduce continuous public education, awareness-raising and social mobilization programmes, involving children and their families, community leaders and the media in the process, on harmful physical and psychological effects of corporal punishment, with a view to changing the general attitude towards this practice; and 

d) promote positive non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing, and alternative forms of discipline and education."

Andorra

(30 November 2012, CRC/C/AND/CO/2, Concluding observations on second report, paras. 7, 8, 30 and 31)

"The Committee, while welcoming the State party’s efforts to implement the Committee’s concluding observations of 2002 on the State party’s initial report (CRC/C/61/Add.3), notes with regret that some of the recommendations contained therein have not been fully addressed. 

"The Committee urges the State party to take all necessary measures to address those recommendations from the concluding observations on the initial report under the Convention that have not been implemented or sufficiently implemented, particularly those related to a national plan of action, coordination, data collection, definition of the child and violence against children, including corporal punishment. 

"The Committee notes that the State party accepted the recommendation to prohibit all corporal punishment of children during the universal periodic review in 2010, and the amendment of the Criminal Code by Law 91/2010 to include a specific provision regarding maltreatment at home. However, the Committee is concerned that the amended provision does not specifically refer to corporal punishment or explicitly prohibit such forms of punishment in all settings, such as private or public educational or alternative care institutions or the penal system.

"In light of its general comment No. 8 (2007), the Committee recalls its previous recommendation (CRC/C/15/Add.176, para. 40), and urges the State party to:

a) enact legislation that explicitly prohibits all forms of corporal punishment in the family, schools and alternative care settings and penal institutions;

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

c) introduce sustained public education, awareness-raising and social mobilization programmes, involving children and families, on the harmful effects, both physical and psychological, of corporal punishment, with a view to changing the attitude towards this practice, and to promote positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing and discipline; 

d) ensure the involvement and participation of the whole society, including children, in the design and implementation of preventive strategies against violence and other forms of abuse."

Austria

(3 December 2012, CRC/C/AUT/CO/3-4, Concluding observations on third-fourth report, paras. 33 and 34)

"The Committee notes that the State party has taken measures to raise awareness about non-violent forms of child-rearing, including financial support to institutions that are educating parents on such forms of child-rearing. However, it remains concerned by the continued use of corporal punishment by many parents and by the fact that parts of the population are still unaware of the prohibition of all forms of corporal punishment in the State party. 

"The Committee recommends that the State party strengthen and expand awareness-raising programmes and education campaigns in order to promote positive and alternative forms of discipline and respect for children's rights, with the involvement of children, in line with its general comment No. 8 (2006) . It also recommends that the State party continue educating teachers and parents on the immediate and long-term negative impact, including the psychological and physical impact, of corporal punishment on children."

Bosnia and Herzegovina

(29 November 2012, CRC/C/BIH/CO/2-4, Concluding observations on second-fourth report, paras. 39 and 40)

"While noting as positive that corporal punishment is unlawful in schools and as a sentence for crime and disciplinary measure in penal institutions throughout the State party and in the home since the adoption of the 2005 Law on Protection from Domestic Violence, the Committee expresses serious concern that corporal punishment in the home remains widespread in the State party. Furthermore, the Committee is concerned at the wide acceptance of a certain degree of violence in ‘disciplining’ children.

"The Committee recommends that the State party take all appropriate measures to explicitly prohibit corporal punishment in all settings, including the domestic context, throughout its territory. Furthermore, it recommends that the State party strengthen and expand awareness-raising and education programmes, including campaigns, in order to promote positive and alternative forms of discipline and respect for children’s rights with the involvement of children, while raising awareness about the adverse consequences of corporal punishment."

Canada

(6 December 2012, CRC/C/CAN/CO/3-4, Concluding observations on third-fourth report, paras. 7, 8, 44 and 45)

"While welcoming the State party’s efforts to implement the Committee’s concluding observations of 2003 on the State party’s initial report (CRC/C/15/Add.215, 2003), the Committee notes with regret that some of the recommendations contained therein have not been fully addressed.

"The Committee urges the State party to take all necessary measures to address those recommendations from the concluding observations on the second periodic report under the Convention that have not been implemented or sufficiently implemented, particularly those related to … corporal punishment…. 

"The Committee is gravely concerned that corporal punishment is condoned by law in the State party under Section 43 of the Criminal Code. Furthermore, the Committee notes with regret that the 2004 Supreme Court decision Canadian Foundation for Children, Youth and the Law v. Canada, while stipulating that corporal punishment is only justified in cases of 'minor corrective force of a transitory and trifling nature,' upheld the law. Furthermore, the Committee is concerned that the legalization of corporal punishment can lead to other forms of violence.

"The Committee urges the State party to repeal Section 43 of the Criminal Code to remove existing authorization of the use of 'reasonable force' in disciplining children and explicitly prohibit all forms of violence against all age groups of children, however light, within the family, in schools and in other institutions where children may be placed. Additionally, the Committee recommends that the State party:

a) strengthen and expand awareness-raising for parents, the public, children, and professionals on alternative forms of discipline and promote respect for children’s rights, with the involvement of children, while raising awareness about the adverse consequences of corporal punishment; 

b) ensure the training of all professionals working with children, including judges, law enforcement, health, social and child welfare, and education professionals to promptly identity, address and report all cases of violence against children."

Liberia

(11 December 2012, CRC/C/LBR/CO/2-4, Concluding observations on second-fourth report, paras. 44 and 45)

"While welcoming the incorporation of the legal prohibition of corporal punishment in correctional facilities in article IX, section 3.5, of the Children’s Law, the Committee is concerned that corporal punishment remains lawful in schools, in the home and in alternative care settings. It is highly alarmed by the frequent incidence of corporal punishment, including extreme physical violence suffered by children at school and in the home. The Committee is also concerned about the lack of awareness among parents, persons working with and for children, and the general public of the negative impact corporal punishment has on children.

"With reference to its general comment No. 8 (2006) on the right of the child to protection from corporal punishment and other cruel or degrading forms of punishment (CRC/C/GC/8), the Committee urges the State party to explicitly prohibit by law corporal punishment in all settings, including in the family, schools and other institutions and childcare settings. Furthermore, it urges the State party to step up its efforts in carrying out awareness-raising programmes through the Ministry of Gender and Development, together with civil society and community leaders, aimed at fostering a culture of non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing and alternative forms of discipline to corporal punishment. In this endeavour the State party should introduce public education on the harmful effects of corporal punishment on children and establish a confidential reporting system in schools and childcare settings for children who are victims of corporal punishment."

Namibia

(16 October 2012, CRC/C/NAM/CO/2-3, Concluding observations on second-third report, paras. 18, 19, 38 and 39)

"… The Committee also regrets the lack of information on the cases of violence against children, including corporal punishment….

"The Committee … recommends that the State party collect systematic data on cases of violence against children, in particular sexual violence and corporal punishment, including by requiring all schools, alternative care institutions and state structures to report all instances of violence against children.

"The Committee notes that the Education Act (Act No. 16 of 2001) prohibits corporal punishment in schools, and that the Supreme Court ruling of 1991 ruled that corporal punishment is unlawful in school and as a sentence for crime. However, the Committee is gravely concerned about the information provided by the State party that: 

a) the practice of corporal punishment remains widespread in all settings, including in schools;

b) certain new legislation, such as the Combating of Domestic Violence Act (Act No. 4 of 2003), and laws prohibiting corporal punishment in schools are not fully enforced in practice; 

c) there is an absence of legislation that explicitly prohibits corporal punishment in the home, penal system and alternative care settings. In addition, the Committee deplores the fact that “reasonable chastisement” of a child is a common law defence to the crimes of corporal punishment.

"The Committee strongly calls upon the State party: 

a) to pass, as a matter of priority, the Child Care and Protection Bill with a view to prohibiting corporal punishment under civil and customary law and in all settings, including in the home, in school and in alternative care settings; 

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

c) to immediately repeal all provisions authorising corporal punishment;

d) to introduce sustained public education, awareness-raising and social mobilization programmes, involving children, families, communities and religious leaders, on the harmful effects, both physical and psychological, of corporal punishment, with a view to changing the general attitude towards this practice, and to promote positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing and discipline as an alternative to corporal punishment;

e) to ensure that all school teachers and personnel complete mandatory trainings on the rights of child and on the harmful effects, both physical and psychological, of corporal punishment and encourage positive behavioural support and alternative forms of discipline."

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