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 February 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 the conduction of 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, as well as 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 corporal punishment, the Committee urges the State party to:

(a) Explicitly prohibit in legislation corporal punishment in all settings, including at home, at 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 the teacher service 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

(3 February 2017, CRC/C/CAF/CO/2, Concluding observations on second report, Advance unedited version, 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 language is gender-sensitive; the prohibition of discrimination encompasses all grounds; the guiding principle regarding adoption is the best interests of the child; corporal punishment is explicitly prohibited in all settings; girls are not criminalised 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 corporal 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 Penal Code of 2010, the Constitution of 2004, the Imperial Order No. 79/077 covering protection of youth of 1979, and law No. 280 of 1961 to include prohibition of corporal punishment in childrearing;

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

DR Congo

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

“In view of the fact that corporal punishment remains lawful under article 326 (4) 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 which 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 physical and psychological harmful effects of corporal punishment with a view to changing the general attitude towards this practice and promote positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing and discipline as an alternative to corporal punishment.”

Estonia

(3 February 2017, CRC/C/EST/CO/2-4, Concluding observations on second/fourth report, Advance unedited version, 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 corporal 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

(3 February 2017, CRC/C/GEO/CO/4, Concluding observations on fourth report, Advance unedited version, paras. 21 and 22)

“While welcoming 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 program “Identification and prevention of violent and behavioural disorder”, piloted from 2016 on, and the standing program “Violence against children, redirection procedures in case of the need for child protection”, implemented since 2015, the Committee is strongly concerned by the:

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

(b) Lack of legislation criminalizing corporal punishment and of awareness raising activities to combat this practice; …

“In the light of its general comments No. 8 (2006) on corporal 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 combatting violence against children — including community-based programmes and campaigns aimed at CRC/C/GEO/CO/4 8 preventing and tackling domestic violence, child abuse and neglect — and involve children, former child victims, volunteers and community members in their implementation to promote positive, non-violent and participatory forms of childrearing and discipline…”

Malawi

(3 February 2017, CRC/C/MWI/CO/3-5, Concluding observations on third/fifth report, Advance unedited version, 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

(3 February 2017, CRC/C/SRB/CO/2-3, Concluding observations on second-third report, Advance unedited version, paras. 36 and 37)

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

“In light of its general comment No. 8 (2006) on corporal 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

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

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

“With reference to its general comment No. 8 (2006) on corporal 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, child care institutions, including early childhood care institutions, alternative care settings, in the home and in the administration of justice;

(b) Sensitize 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 this regard, including on the Child Friendly School programming.

“The Committee notes that laws on administration of juvenile justice are currently under revision which is expected to be completed in 2018. The Committee is 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 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 process of the ongoing harmonization process. In particular, the Committee urges the State party to:

(a) Facilitate the adoption by the Parliament of the Child Justice Bill (OECS Model Bill) which defines children as those under 18 years of age and sets the minimum age for criminal responsibility at 12 years of age;

(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 upon children under 18 years of age for early release”

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