Committee on the Rights of the Child, session 74 (2017)

Recommendations/observations on corporal punishment in the Committee on the Rights of the Child's concluding observations to states examined in session 74 (16 January - 3 February 2017)

Barbados

(3 March 2017, CRC/C/BRB/CO/2, Concluding observations on second report, paras. 31 and 32)

“While welcoming the promotion of positive forms of discipline through awareness-raising and training programmes, in cooperation with UNICEF, the Committee remains deeply concerned that corporal punishment is lawful and widely used in homes and schools, and legally allowed in institutions as punishment in the case of children who commit criminal offences.

“In the light of 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, the Committee urges the State party to:

(a) Explicitly prohibit in legislation corporal punishment in all settings, including at home, in schools and in the justice system, without any exception;

(b) Ensure that the prohibition of corporal punishment is adequately monitored and enforced;

(c) Continue promoting positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing and discipline, strengthen teacher training on positive discipline and ensure that behaviour management guidelines are part of teacher training programmes;

(d) Establish a complaints mechanism in schools so that children can safely and confidentially report teachers who continue to use corporal punishment;

(e) Ensure that offenders are brought before the competent administrative and judicial authorities;

(f) Conduct awareness-raising programmes, including campaigns, training sessions and other activities to promote a change in the mindset on corporal punishment in all settings.”

Central African Republic

(8 March 2017, CRC/C/CAF/CO/2, Concluding observations on second report, paras. 6, 7, 38 and 39)

“The Committee notes the draft law on the protection of the child but is concerned about some provisions not being fully aligned with the Convention.

“The Committee recommends that the State party ensure that the draft law on the protection of the child is promptly adopted and is fully aligned with the Convention and, in particular, ensure that the language is gender-sensitive; that the prohibition of discrimination encompasses all grounds; that the guiding principle regarding adoption is the best interests of the child; that corporal punishment is explicitly prohibited in all settings; that girls are not criminalized for their sexual and reproductive health choices; and that child victims have access to physical and psychological rehabilitation and health services.”

“The Committee notes the State party’s intention to prohibit corporal punishment but remains concerned that it is still not prohibited in all settings, in particular in the home, alternative care, schools and penal institutions and is very concerned at the extremely high levels of violent “disciplining” endured by children.

“In the light of 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, the Committee recommends that the State party:

(a) Prohibit corporal punishment in all settings in the draft law on the protection of the child;

(b) Review its legislation, in particular the Family Code of 1997, the Criminal Code of 2010, the Constitution of 2004, Imperial Order No. 79/077 covering protection of youth of 1979 and law No. 280 of 1961 to include prohibition of corporal punishment in child-rearing;

(c) Promote positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing and discipline.”

DR Congo

(28 February 2017, CRC/C/COD/CO/3-5, Concluding observations on third/fifth report, para. 24)

“In view of the fact that corporal punishment remains lawful under article 326 of the Family Code of 1987 as amended in July 2016 and is frequently practised in various care settings, the Committee urges the State party to enact legislation that clearly prohibits corporal punishment in all settings, including in the home, schools and other care settings. The Committee also recommends that the State party introduce sustained public education, awareness-raising and social mobilization programmes, involving children, families, communities and their leaders, on the physically and psychologically harmful effects of corporal punishment, with a view to changing the general attitude towards this practice and promoting positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing and discipline as an alternative to corporal punishment.”

Estonia

(8 March 2017, CRC/C/EST/CO/2-4, Concluding observations on second/fourth report, paras. 26 and 27)

“The Committee commends the explicit prohibition of physical punishment of children as outlined in the 2016 Child Protection Act. It is, however, concerned that favourable attitudes towards corporal punishment are still dominant in Estonian society and that parents have insufficient knowledge of non-violent and positive forms of discipline.

“In the light of its general comment No. 8 (2006) on the right of children to protection from corporal punishment and other cruel or degrading forms of punishment, the Committee recommends that the State party monitor the implementation of the Child Protection Act in this regard and strengthen public education campaigns to promote positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing and discipline in all settings.”

Georgia

(9 March 2017, CRC/C/GEO/CO/4, Concluding observations on fourth report, paras. 5, 21 and 22)

“The Committee reminds the State party of the indivisibility and interdependence of all the rights enshrined in the Convention and emphasizes the importance of all the recommendations contained in the present concluding observations. The Committee would like to draw the State party’s attention to the recommendations concerning the following areas, in respect of which urgent measures must be taken: corporal punishment and child abuse (paras. 21-22), sexual exploitation and abuse (paras. 23-24), family environment (paras. 26-27), children with disabilities (paras. 29-30), health and health services (paras. 31-32) and internally displaced children (paras. 38-39).”

“While welcoming the efforts made by the State party to combat domestic violence, including amendments to the law on combating domestic violence and the new child protection referral mechanism adopted in 2016, the programme on the identification and prevention of violent and behavioural disorder, piloted from 2016 onwards, and the standing programme on violence against children and the redirection procedures in case of the need for child protection, implemented since 2015, the Committee is strongly concerned by:

(a)The prevalence of corporal punishment in the home as well as schools and institutions;

(b)The lack of legislation criminalizing corporal punishment and of awareness-raising activities to combat that practice...

“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 and taking note of target 16.2 of the Sustainable Development Goals on ending abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children, the Committee urges the State party to:

(a) Adopt legislation explicitly prohibiting all forms of corporal punishment of children in all settings, including educational institutions, alternative care institutions and the home;

(b) Further strengthen programmes and policies combating violence against children, including community-based programmes and campaigns aimed at preventing and tackling domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, and involve children, former child victims, volunteers and community members in their implementation so as to promote positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing and discipline…”

Malawi

(6 March 2017, CRC/C/MWI/CO/3-5, Concluding observations on third/fifth report, para. 19)

“In the light of 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, the Committee urges the State party to:

(a) Review the Constitution and legislation to include an express prohibition of corporal punishment in non-State settings, including at home and in all alternative care and day-care settings;

(b) Strengthen its awareness-raising programmes, including campaigns among parents and relevant professional groups, to promote positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing and discipline;

(c) Enlist the assistance of community, cultural and traditional leaders for these purposes.”

Serbia

(7 March 2017, CRC/C/SRB/CO/2-3, Concluding observations on second-third report, paras. 36 and 37)

“While the Committee welcomes the information provided by the State party during the dialogue that amendments to the Family Law would ban corporal punishment in all settings by June 2017, it remains concerned that the practice is currently permitted in the home, continues to be widely accepted in society as a means of disciplining children and is not explicitly prohibited in legislation to date.

“In the light of 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 urges the State party to:

(a) Explicitly prohibit corporal punishment in legislation;

(b) Ensure that the prohibition of corporal punishment is adequately monitored and enforced in all settings;

(c) Promote positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing and discipline through awareness campaigns;

(d) Ensure that offenders are brought before the competent administrative and judicial authorities.”

St Vincent and the Grenadines

(13 March 2017, CRC/C/VCT/CO/2-3, Concluding observations on second-third report, paras. 32, 33, 64 and 65)

“The Committee remains deeply concerned that corporal punishment is legally permitted and widely practised in all settings.

“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, the Committee urges the State party to:

(a) Explicitly prohibit, through legislative and administrative provisions, the use of corporal punishment in all settings, namely in schools, childcare institutions, including early childhood care institutions, alternative care settings, in the home and in the administration of justice;

(b) Raise the awareness of parents, professionals working with children and the public in general to the harm caused by corporal punishment and promote positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing and discipline;

(c) Seek technical assistance from UNICEF in that regard, including on the child-friendly school programme.”

“The Committee notes that laws on the administration of juvenile justice are currently being revised and that such revision is expected to be completed in 2018. The Committee is nonetheless concerned that:

(c)The Corporal Punishment of Juveniles Act has not been amended and allows the caning of children who have been found guilty of a crime”

“In the light of its general comment No. 10 (2007) on children’s rights in juvenile justice, the Committee urges the State party to bring its juvenile justice system fully into line with the Convention and other relevant standards through the ongoing harmonization process. In particular, the Committee urges the State party to:

(a) Facilitate the adoption by Parliament of the Child Justice Bill (a model bill of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States), which defines children as persons under 18 years of age and sets the minimum age for criminal responsibility at 12 years;

(b) Enact legislation explicitly prohibiting life imprisonment without release or parole and corporal punishment as a sentence for any offence committed while the offender was under 18 years of age and regularly review the sentences imposed on children under 18 years of age for early release”

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