Committee on the Rights of the Child, session 69 (2015)

Recommendations/observations on corporal punishment in the Committee on the Rights of the Child's concluding observations to states examined in session 69 (18 May - 5 June 2015)

Eritrea

(8 June 2015, CRC/C/ERI/CO/4 Advance Unedited Version, Concluding observations on fourth report, paras. 36, 37, 38 and 39)

"The Committee notes the information given during the dialogue that caning has been abolished as a sentence for young offenders. However, it remains seriously concerned about reports indicating that: ...

c) children in detention routinely face torture, cruel and degrading treatment, including corporal punishment, in particular children accused of attempting to avoid military service or fleeing the country.

"The Committee urges the State party to:

a) enforce the legal prohibition of all forms of violence including corporal punishment in all settings, including in military training camps, and ensure that it is no more used as a sentence for crime.... 

"The Committee, while noting the information given during the dialogue that “reasonable chastisement” is no longer an excuse for corporal punishment of children, is concerned that children are frequently subjected to violence at home and in educational institutions, including sexual abuse of girls in schools. Furthermore, the Committee notes with concern that:

a) data on violence against children, including on investigation and persecution conducted for the allegation of such violence, is not collected;

b) laws, policies or plans of action which specifically address all forms of violence against children, including child abuse and neglect, domestic and sexual violence, do not exist;

c) information is not provided on adequate complaints mechanisms for violence against children, on mechanisms of redress, rehabilitation and compensation for child victims of violence, or on assistance and protection of child witnesses and on support for their recovery and social reintegration....

"With reference to the Committee’s general comment No. 8 (2006) on corporal punishment and general comment No. 13 (2011) on the right of the child to freedom from all forms of violence, the Committee urges the State party to

continue enforcing the prohibition of violence in all settings and to prosecute perpetrators, and to furthermore:

a) establish a reliable system for the collection of statistical data on violence against children, disaggregated by age, forms of violence and the relationship between victims and perpetrators, and on the number of complaints, prosecutions, convictions and sentences imposed on perpetrators as well as on reparations provided to victims;

b) undertake a comprehensive study on violence against children, including child abuse and neglect, as well as gender-based and sexual violence, in order to identify the prevalence and root causes of the problem and effective measures to respond them;

c) adopt and implement laws, national policies or national plans of action to address all forms of violence against children, in a comprehensive manner;

d) ensure children’s effective access to justice by establishing confidential, child-friendly and gender-sensitive complaints mechanisms and legal aid programmes;

e) ensure that mediation is not given preference over criminal proceedings in domestic violence cases, including marital rape; and

f) provide capacity building on all forms of violence against children to relevant professional groups, including the military as well as religious and traditional leaders, and conduct awareness raising programmes, including campaigns, targeting children, teachers, media and the general public.

g) intensify its efforts, including with support from UNICEF, to raise awareness on alternative forms of discipline in a manner consistent with the child’s human dignity and in conformity with the Convention."

Ethiopia

(3 June 2015, CRC/C/ETH/CO/4-5 Advance Unedited Version, Concluding observations on fourth/fifth report, paras. 41 and 42)

"While welcoming the promotion of positive forms of discipline through the elaboration of awareness-raising and training programmes, targeting particularly professionals working with and for children, the Committee is concerned that the law does not expressly prohibit corporal punishment in the home and in the institutional child and day care centres where adults exercise parental authority over children. The Committee is also concerned that corporal punishment is still widely practiced and accepted in schools, the home and other settings.

"With reference 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, and general comment No. 13 (2011) on the rights of the child to freedom from all forms of violence, the Committee recommends that the State party:

a) prohibit expressly all forms of corporal punishment in all settings, including in the home and alternative care, by revising the relevant provisions of the Revised Family and Criminal Codes; and

b) further develop programmes promoting positive forms of discipline, in the home, in schools, alternative care, and other institutions, by focusing particularly on children in vulnerable situations, including children with disabilities, children in street situations, children deprived of parental care, children living in poverty, children in conflict with law."

Ghana

(9 June 2015, CRC/C/GHA/C0/3-5 Advance Unedited Version, Concluding observations on third-fifth report, paras. 7, 8, 35 and 36)

"The Committee recommends that the State party take all necessary measures to address its previous recommendations of 2006 (CRC/C/GHA/CO/2) that have not been implemented or not sufficiently implemented in particular those related to data collection, dissemination, corporal punishment , HIV/AIDS , harmful practices , child labour and juvenile justice. 

"The Committee welcomes the adoption of various child-related legislative measures. Nevertheless, the Committee reiterates its concern about their insufficient implementation and, in some instances, the evident gap between law and practice.

"The Committee welcomes the number of measures undertaken by the State party to address domestic violence and eliminate corporal punishment against children, particularly through the Child and Family Welfare Policy and the setting up of complaints procedures. However, the Committee expresses its deep concern about:

a) the high incidence of domestic violence, gender-based violence, and child abuse and neglect, including sexual abuse and incest, mainly in the family, schools and care institutions, mostly affecting girls;

b) corporal punishment being still widely practised in society, its acceptance as a form of discipline and the Children’s Act still allowing for a degree of “reasonable” and “justifiable” punishment. 

"Recalling the recommendations of the United Nations study on violence against children of 2006 (A/61/299), the Committee recommends that the State party prioritize the elimination of all forms of violence against children. While recommending that the State party take into account general comment No. 13 (2011) on the right of the child to freedom from all forms of violence, and general comment No. 8 (2006) on corporal punishment and other cruel or degrading forms of punishment, the Committee reiterates its previous recommendation (para. 37) and in particular requests the State party to:

a) amend all legislation in order to explicitly prohibit corporal punishment as “reasonable” and “justifiable” correction or discipline, particularly in the Children’s Act (1998) and the Juvenile Justice Act (2003);

b) pay particular attention to and address the gender dimension of violence;

c) further strengthen awareness-raising and education programmes — including campaigns — with the involvement of children, in order to formulate a comprehensive strategy for preventing and combating child abuse and corporal punishment;

d) establish a national database on all cases of domestic violence against children and child abuse, and undertake a comprehensive assessment of the extent, causes and nature of such violence;

e) ensure the allocation of adequate human, technical and financial resources to all domestic violence and child abuse related entities to enable them to implement long-term programmes for addressing the root causes of violence and abuse;

f) encourage community-based programmes aimed at preventing and tackling domestic violence, child abuse and neglect and corporal punishment, including by involving former victims, volunteers and community members, and providing training support to them.

g) ensure the availability and quality of prevention, protection, access to justice, rehabilitation and reintegration programmes, including health services and psychosocial support, free helplines and adequate shelters for victims;

h) ensure children’s access to justice, including by providing legal support and making available child-friendly and confidential complaint mechanisms in institutions, schools, detention centres, hospitals and any other relevant setting."

Honduras

(8 June 2015, CRC/C/HND/CO/4-5 Advance Unedited Version, Concluding observations on fourth/fifth report, paras. 41 and 42)

"The Committee welcomes the amendment of article 191 of the Family Code, which prohibits all forms of corporal punishment of children in all settings, including in the family environment. However, the Committee remains concerned about the high number of cases of abuse reported in families, schools and institutions, concern compounded by the lack of consolidated, detailed and disaggregated information, in particular for girls and children in vulnerable situations.

"In the light of its General Comment No. 8 (2006) on the right of the child to protection from corporal punishment, the Committee recommends that the State party promote positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing and discipline, conduct awareness-raising programmes on this prohibition and create mechanisms for its fulfilment."

Mexico

(8 June 2015, CRC/C/MEX/CO/4-5 Advance Unedited Version, Concluding observations on fourth/fifth report, paras. 31 and 32)

"While welcoming the GARCA provisions providing for the adoption of legislation and policy, at federal and state levels, to prevent, address and sanction violence against children, the Committee is concerned about the effective implementation of these provisions and that extensive impunity prevails for violence against children. It is also particularly concerned about:

a) the prevalence of torture and other cruel or degrading treatment or punishment of children, particularly migrant children, children in street situations, children in police custody and detention;

b) the high incidence of corporal punishment of children, domestic violence and gender-based violence and the lack of access to justice for child victims....

"In the light of its general comments No. 8 (2006) on the right of the child to protection from corporal punishment and other cruel or degrading forms of punishment and No. 13 (2011) on the right of the child to freedom from all forms of violence, the Committee urges the State party to adopt, at federal and state level, comprehensive laws and policies to prevent and sanction all forms of violence and protect and assist child victims. The State party should also: ...

b) ensure that corporal punishment in all settings is explicitly prohibited at federal and state level and the 'right to correct' repealed from the federal and state civil codes. The State party should also raise awareness of positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing...."

Netherlands

(8 June 2015, CRC/C/NDL/CO/4 Advance Unedited Version, Concluding observations on fourth report, paras. 36 and 37)

"The Committee welcomes the State party’s efforts aimed at combatting child violence and abuse, but is concerned about: ...

e) absence of legal provisions expressly prohibiting corporal punishment in all settings, including at home, in Aruba; and

f) absence of legal provisions prohibiting corporal punishment of children in the home, alternative care settings, day care and schools in the Caribbean Netherlands.

"In the light of its General comments No. 8 (2006) on the right of the child to protection from corporal punishment and other cruel or degrading forms of punishment and No. 13 (2011) on the right of the child to freedom from all forms of violence, the Committee recommends that the State party: ...

e) ensure that the State party’s legislation addresses all forms of violence, explicitly prohibits corporal punishment in all settings and includes measures to raise awareness of positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing throughout the Kingdom, in particular in Aruba as well as in the Caribbean Netherlands."

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