Committee on the Rights of the Child, session 70 (2015)

Recommendations/observations on corporal punishment in the Committee on the Rights of the Child's concluding observations to states examined in session 70 (14 September - 2 October 2015)

Bangladesh

(2 October 2015, CRC/C/BGD/CO/5 Advance Unedited Version, Concluding observation on fifth report, paras. 38 and 39)

“The Committee notes with appreciation the information provided by the State party that the High Court Division of the Supreme Court has given a directive to ban corporal punishment of children and to enact a law to prohibit corporal punishment of children in all educational institutions and workplaces. However, the Committee remains concerned about the high number of cases of violence reported in families, schools and institutions, alternative care settings, day care and penal institutions and as a sentence for crime.

“In the light of its general comment No. 8 (2006) on corporal punishment, the Committee urges the State Party to 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. The Committee also recommends strengthening the training of officials responsible for law enforcement on children’s right.”

Brazil

(2 October 2015, CRC/C/BRA/CO/2-4, Concluding observations on second-fourth report, paras. 39 and 40)

“The Committee welcomes Act No. 13.010 (‘Boy Bernardo Act’) in 2014 prohibiting corporal punishment in all settings. However, the Committee is concerned that the law is not effectively enforced and that corporal punishment remains widely practiced and tolerated as a method of disciplining children.

“In the light of its general comment No. 8 (2006) on corporal punishment, the Committee recommends that the State party strengthen its efforts to enforce Act No. 13.010. It furthermore recommends that the State party promote positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing and discipline.”

Chile

(2 October 2015, CRC/C/CHL/CO/4-5 Advance Unedited Version, Concluding observations on fourth/fifth report, paras. 44 and 45)

“The Committee notes the proposed law to modify article 234 of the civil code intended to prohibit corporal punishment against children. However, it is concerned that the proposed amendment appears to prohibit only corporal punishment which is perceived to cause injury and that article 234, by recognizing parents’ right to correct children may allow parents to take certain corrective measures that can affect the physical and mental integrity of children.

“In the light of its general comment No. 8 (2006) on corporal punishment, and reiterating its previous recommendation (CRC/C/CHL/CO/3 para. 41), the Committee recommends that the State party adopt a comprehensive law that explicitly prohibits corporal punishment against children in all settings and includes measures to raise awareness of positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing.”

Kazakhstan

(2 October 2015, CRC/C/KAZ/CO/4 Advance Unedited Version, Concluding observations on fourth report, paras. 28 and 29)

“While noting some positive legislative changes, the Committee remains concerned that the State party’s legislation fails to explicitly prohibit corporal punishment, however light, in the home, care institutions and day care facilities. It is also concerned about violent disciplinary measures applied in families, schools and care institutions.

“In the light of its general comment No. 8 (2006) on corporal punishment, the Committee urges the State party to take immediate measures to explicitly prohibit corporal punishment in all its forms in the home, care institutions and day care facilities and ensure that those who violate the law are held accountable. The Committee also recommends that the State party take measures to foster positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing and discipline among parents, teachers, staff of care institutions and day care facilities and other professionals working with and for children.”

Poland

(2 October 2015, CRC/C/POL/CO/3-4 Advance Unedited Version, Concluding observations on third/fourth report, paras. 24 and 25)

“The Committee commends the State party for legislating a total ban on corporal punishment in all settings, yet is concerned that:

a) while there have been no official complaints filed or convictions made in relation to inhuman or degrading treatment of children in police emergency youth centers, youth shelters or reform schools in recent years, certain ill-treatments in such facilities have been identified, including extended periods of detention in a transitional facility, penalties not compliant with the regulations, constraints on correspondence and complaints and restrictions on visits; and

b) corporal punishment is still used in schools, youth centres and alternative care facilities despite its legal prohibition.

“In the light of its 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 recommends that the State party:

a) fully investigate all allegations of ill-treatment of children and ensure that such acts are given an appropriate response through judicial processes, in order to avoid impunity for perpetrators;

b) review existing complaints mechanisms and ensure that all children deprived of liberty, including in the course of criminal or corrective procedure, have access to a safe and child-friendly mechanism  for complaints related to their deprivation of liberty, conditions of detention/internment and treatment;

c) ensure that child victims of ill-treatment are provided with care and rehabilitation programmes;

d) ensure that the prohibition of corporal punishment is adequately monitored and enforced in all settings;

e) strengthen capacity-building programmes for teachers and staff members of child care facilities, in order to promote positive and alternative forms of discipline and respect for children’s rights and to raise awareness about the adverse consequences of corporal punishment on children;

f) further strengthen collaboration with the Ombudsman for Children and the Human Rights Defender in this regard.”

Timor-Leste

(2 October 2015, CRC/C/TLS/CO/2-3, Advance Unedited Version, Concluding observations on second/third report, paras. 32 and 33)

“The Committee notes that the draft Children’s Code prohibits corporal punishment in schools and also provides for mandatory reporting obligations with respect to child abuse within or outside the school.  The Committee welcomes the information in the report of the State party about measures taken by the Ministry of Education to investigate complaints of corporal punishment in schools. The Committee, however, is concerned that corporal punishment is widely accepted in society as a way for disciplining children and remains lawful until now in schools, as well as in the home and residential institutions. It is also concerned about the lack of data on the number of incidents of corporal punishment in all settings.

“In line with its general comment No. 8 (2006) on the right of the child to protection from corporal punishment, and general comment No. 13 (2011) on the right of the child to freedom from all forms of violence, the Committee recommends that the State party:

a) adopt the Children’s Code and amend its legislation to explicitly prohibit corporal punishment in all settings, including the family, schools and institutions;

b) promote positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing and discipline as an alternative to corporal punishment, and expand parenting education programmes and training for principals, teachers, and other professionals working with and for children; and

c) strengthen and expand its efforts through awareness-raising campaigns to inform the public in general about the negative impact of corporal punishment on children and actively involve children and the media in the process.”

United Arab Emirates

(2 October 2015, CRC/C/ARE/CO/2 Advance Unedited Version, Concluding observations on second report, paras. 37, 38, 39 and 40)

“The Committee, while noting that a new policy has been formulated for the investigation of cases of abuse and neglect of children, remains particularly concerned that:

a) the existing legislation of the State party does not specifically criminalize all forms of violence against children;

b) article 53 (1) of the Penal Code authorizes men to use violence against their wives and children within the limits prescribed by Sharia or by law and provides that perpetrators of crimes can escape punishment if ‘performed in good faith’;

c) in 2010, the State party’s Federal Supreme Court issued a ruling indicating that beating and other forms of punishment or coercion by husbands on their wives were allowed provided they do not leave physical marks;

d) whereas corporal punishment of children is prohibited in school, it is lawful in the home and as a sentence for crime.

“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 establish a comprehensive national framework to protect children and families from violence, provide rehabilitation measures to child victims of violence and prosecute perpetrators of abuse. The Committee further recommends 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 in particular:

a) repeal without delay all laws that allow, condone or excuse gender-based violence and violence against children, especially articles 53 and 56 of the Penal Code, and ensure accountability for all forms of violence against children;

b) adopt a comprehensive law that 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;

c) ensure children’s access to justice, including by making the reporting of violence mandatory and by providing legal support and making available child-friendly and confidential complaint mechanisms in institutions, schools, detention centres, hospitals and other relevant settings;

d) 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.

“The Committee is seriously concerned that in spite of its previous recommendation (CRC/C/15/Add.183 para. 33), inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment can still be imposed on children as judicial sanctions. The Committee is particularly concerned that the Law on Juvenile Offenders provides that whipping may be imposed for a child over 16 years for murder, assault and battery as well as alcohol-related offences, theft or illicit sexual intercourse outside marriage.

“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 immediately abolish legislation which provides for the imposition of flogging and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment on children.”

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