Committee on the Rights of the Child, session 77 (2018)

Recommendations/observations on corporal punishment in the Committee on the Rights of the Child's concluding observations to states examined in session 77 (15 January - 2 February 2018)

Guatemala

(2 February 2018, CRC/C/GTM/CO/5-6 Advance unedited version, Concluding observations on fifth/sixth report, paras. 20 and 23)

“The Committee is seriously concerned about:

(a) The deplorable living conditions, maltreatment, and reports of disappearances, trafficking, violence and abuse against children in public care centres, mainly affecting girls and children with disabilities;

(b) The death of 41 girls and serious injuries caused on 21 girls as a consequence of a fire in the State care centre “Hogar Seguro Virgen de la Asuncion” (HSVA), the absence of remedies and psychosocial redress for victims and the transfer of survivors to other care institutions, where they continue to be exposed to risks of violence, including corporal punishment, abuse, and overcrowding conditions;

(c) The overcrowding and deficient living conditions in juvenile detention facilities and prisons, which can amount to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of children, as well as the incidents of violence and riots;

(d) The high levels of impunity and low level of prosecutions and convictions of perpetrators of violence against children in public care institutions and detention centres; and

(e) The lack of information on remedies and redress for child victims of violence, abuse and neglect in State care.”

“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 expedite the adoption of the draft law No. 5184 on the Use of Corporal Punishment and Other Cruel Forms of Punishment as a Correctional or Disciplinary measure for Children and Adolescents, which criminalizes corporal punishment in all settings, including the home. The State party should promote positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing and discipline.”

Marshall Islands

(2 February 2018, CRC/C/MHL/CO/3-4 Advance unedited version, Concluding observations on third/fourth report, paras. 4, 18 and 19)

“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 draws the State party’s attention to the recommendations concerning the following areas, in respect of which urgent measures must be taken: violence against children, in particular corporal punishment (para. 20)…”

“The Committee notes the prohibition of corporal punishment in penal institutions and the provisions of the Child Rights Protection Act and the Public School System Act prohibiting corporal punishment in schools. However, it remains concerned that:

(a) Despite recent law reforms, corporal punishment continues to be widely practiced and accepted in society as a means of disciplining children and is not explicitly prohibited in the home, in alternative care and day-care settings;

(b) Article 3.08 of the Criminal Code (amended in 2011) may be construed as a justification for the use of corporal punishment in child-rearing as it provides for the right to use force for “prevention or punishment of the minor’s misconduct” and for the maintenance of “reasonable discipline”.

“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) Amend the Child Rights Protection Act and the Domestic Violence Prevention and Protection Act (2011) to explicitly prohibit corporal punishment in all settings;

(b) Repeal article 3.08 of the Criminal Code;

(c) Immediately and effectively implement provisions of the Child Rights Protection Act and the Public School System Act prohibiting corporal punishment in schools;

(d) Establish reporting mechanisms for the use of corporal punishment in all settings and ensure that investigations and administrative and legal proceedings are initiated promptly and systematically in relation to any case of corporal punishment, and that data on cases and their resolution are collected and disaggregated;

(e) Conduct awareness-raising and training programmes for parents, teachers, the police and professionals who work with and for children to encourage the use of alternative non-violent and participatory forms of discipline.”

Palau

(2 February 2018, CRC/C/PLW/CO/2-3 Advance unedited version, Concluding observations on second/third report, paras. 26 and 27)

“The Committee notes that schools have policies that include a ban on corporal punishment. However, the Committee is seriously concerned that the law does not explicitly prohibit the use of corporal punishment and that the Palau National Code and the Penal Code allows the use of force in disciplining children.

“With the reference to its general comment No. 8 (2006) on corporal punishment, the Committee urges the State party to:

(a) Amend existing legislation, in particular the Palau National Code and the Penal Code, to explicitly prohibit corporal punishment in all settings;

(b) Strengthen teacher training on alternative non-violent forms of discipline and ensure it is part of their pre- and in-service training programmes;

(c) Provide programmes for parents and all other professionals that work with and for children to encourage the use of alternative non-violent forms of discipline;

(d) Effectively enforce the prohibition against corporal punishment and provide children, especially in schools, with a complaints mechanism so that they can safely and confidentially report cases of corporal punishment;

(e) Strengthen awareness raising programmes, trainings and other activities to promote the change of mind set with regard to corporal punishment, particularly in schools, family and at the community level.”

Panama

(2 February 2018, CRC/C/PAN/CO/5-6 Advance unedited version, Concluding observations on fifth/sixth report, para. 21)

“The Committee is concerned at indications in the State party report that 44.9 per cent of children under 14 years of age have experienced some form of violent discipline in the months before 2013 and urges the State party, 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, to its previous concluding observations (CRC/C/PAN/CO/3-4, para. 46), as well as to the State party’s commitments under both cycles of the Universal Periodic Review, to:

(a) Revise articles 319 and 443 of the Family Code and 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 juvenile detention centres;

(b) Reinforce measures to raise the awareness of parents, professionals working with children and the public in general on 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.”

Seychelles

(2 February 2018, CRC/C/SYC/CO/5-6 Unedited advance version, Concluding observations on fifth/sixth report, paras. 4, 22 and 23)

“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: to ensure greater visibility to children’s rights in the new national action plan on families 2018-2022 (para. 8); the rights to a name and nationality, to know and be cared for by their parents, and to identity (para. 21); all forms of violence against children, including corporal punishment (para. 23); sexual exploitation and abuse (para. 25); and juvenile justice, in particular as regards the minimum age of criminal responsibility (para. 39).”

“The Committee welcomes that the Education (Amendment) Bill 2017 has been passed by the National Assembly in December 2017, prohibiting corporal punishment in schools. However, the Committee is concerned that its other relevant previous recommendations have not been implemented, namely explicitly prohibiting corporal punishment in all settings.

“Reiterating its concluding observations (CRC/C/15/Add.189, paras. 32 and 33, and CRC/C/SYC/CO/2-4, para. 43), and, with reference to its general comment No. 13 (2011) on the right of the child to freedom from all forms of violence, and 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) Expedite the amendments to the Children Act to repeal article 70 (7) allowing for corporal punishment and to explicitly prohibit it at all settings, including at home, in alternative care settings, day care institutions and penal institutions; (b) Strengthen public education and awareness-raising and social mobilization programmes involving children, families and communities on the harmful effects of corporal punishment with a view to changing attitudes and promoting alternative, positive and non-violent forms of child-rearing and discipline.”

Solomon Islands

(2 February 2018, CRC/C/SLB/CO/2-3 Advance unedited version, Concluding observations on second/third report, paras. 24 and 25)

“The Committee notes that corporal punishment is prohibited in schools only by a policy and is seriously concerned that the Penal Code still recognises the right of any parent, teacher or other person having the lawful control of a child to administer “reasonable punishment” and that corporal punishment of children is still used.

“With reference to its general comment No. 8 (2006) on corporal punishment, the Committee recalls its previous recommendation (para. 31) and urges the State party to:

(a) Explicitly prohibit in law corporal punishment in all settings and repeal the right to administer “reasonable punishment” on children;

(b) Strengthen teacher training on alternative non-violent forms of discipline and ensure it is part of pre- and in-service training programmes;

(c) Provide programmes for parents and all professionals that work with and for children to encourage the use of alternative non-violent forms of discipline;

(d) Effectively enforce the prohibition against corporal punishment and provide children, especially in schools, with a complaints mechanism so that they can safely and confidentially report teachers and others that continue to use corporal punishment;

(e) Strengthen awareness raising programmes, trainings and other activities to promote attitudinal change with regard to corporal punishment, particularly in schools, family and at the community level.”

Spain

(2 February 2018, CRC/C/ESP/CO/5-6 Advance unedited version, Concluding observations on fifth/sixth report, para. 21)

“While noting with appreciation that corporal punishment is prohibited in all settings, the Committee notes with concern that corporal punishment, particularly in the home, persists. Recalling its previous recommendation (CRC/C/ESP/CO/3-4, para. 35) the Committee draws the State party’s attention 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 and recommends that the State party:

(a) Continue to raise awareness about the unlawfulness of corporal punishment and its negative effects on child development and to promote positive, nonviolent and participatory forms of child-rearing and discipline;

(b) Adequately monitor and enforce the prohibition of corporal punishment.”

Sri Lanka

(2 February 2018, CRC/C/LKA/CO/5-6 Advance unedited version, Concluding observations on fifth/sixth report, paras. 4, 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: violence, including corporal punishment (para. 21), sexual exploitation and abuse (para. 23), economic exploitation, including child labour (para. 41), administration of juvenile justice (para. 45), and reconciliation, truth and justice (para. 47).”

“The Committee, while noting with appreciation that the State party has accepted a recommendation issued in the course of the Universal Periodic Review in November 2017 to prohibit corporal punishment in all settings, is deeply concerned that high numbers of children are subjected to abuse and violence, including corporal punishment and that corporal punishment remains legal in the home, in alternative care settings, in penal institutions, as well as in schools.

“The Committee, recalling its previous recommendations (CRC/C/LKA/5-6, para. 41 as well as CRC/C/15/Add.207, para. 29), and 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, its general comment 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, urges the State party to prioritize the elimination of all forms of violence against children and to:

(a) Prohibit unequivocally by law and without any further delay corporal punishment, however light, in all settings, repeal any legal defence, and ensure that these laws are effectively implemented and that legal proceedings are systematically initiated upon their breach;

(b) Increase the capacity of relevant professional groups, in particular law enforcement, health personnel, social workers and the judiciary, including Quazis, to handle cases of violence against children, including the capacity to bring cases of domestic child abuse under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act;

(c) Introduce sustained public education, awareness-raising and social mobilization programmes, involving children, families, communities and religious leaders, on the harmful effects of corporal punishment with a view to changing the general attitude towards this practice, ensure children’s involvement in the design of prevention strategies, and promote positive, non-violent, participatory forms of childrearing and discipline as an alternative to corporal punishment;

(d) Regularly monitor the situation of children in all places of detention, install closed complaint boxes in prisons, police stations and remand homes to enable children to confidentially complain about torture or ill treatment when in detention, and ensure unimpeded access by the NHRC to police stations and detention facilities;

(e) Allocate all necessary resources to implement the National Plan of Action on Prevention on Child Abuse (2016 onwards), and to ensure efficient followup measures when child abuse is reported via the helplines.”

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