Committee on the Rights of the Child, session 68 (2015)

Recommendations/observations on corporal punishment in the Committee on the Rights of the Child's concluding observations to states examined in session 68 (12-30 January 2015)

Colombia

(4 February 2015, CRC/C/COL/CO/4-5 Advance Unedited Version, Concluding observations on fourth/fifth report, paras. 27 and 28)

"The Committee is deeply concerned at the high levels of violence which children are confronted with and in particular about: ...

d) reports that corporal punishment remains widespread and that it is not yet explicitly prohibited in all settings, including in the home.... 

"In the light of its general comment No. 13 (2011) on the right of the child to freedom from all forms of violence and recalling the recommendations of the United Nations study on violence against children of 2006 (A/61/299), the Committee urges the State party to prioritize the elimination of all forms of violence against children, and in particular to: ...

e) repeal the Article 262 of the Civil Code on the “right of correction”, ensure that its legislation explicitly prohibits corporal punishment in all settings, including for indigenous children, and raise awareness on positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing...."

Dominican Republic

(4 February 2015, CRC/C/DOM/CO/3-5, Concluding observations on third-fifth report, paras. 31 and 32)

"The Committee notes the adoption of a National Roadmap for the elimination of violence against children as well as the statement made by the delegation of the State party that a special law to prohibit corporal punishment will be adopted. However, the Committee is concerned about the lack of a comprehensive law that addresses all forms of violence against children. It is also deeply concerned about: ...

b) the high prevalence of corporal punishment of children and the lack of an explicit prohibition of corporal punishment in all settings....

"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:

a) adopt a comprehensive law that addresses all forms of violence, explicitly prohibits corporal punishment in all settings and includes measures to raise awareness on positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing...."

Gambia

(4 February 2015, CRC/C/GAM/CO/2-3, Concluding observations on second-third report, paras. 41 and 42)

"The Committee welcomes the prohibition of corporal punishment in the child justice system and the provisions of the Children’s Act that those with parental authority must ensure that discipline respects the dignity of the child. The Committee also notes the actions taken by the State party to discourage corporal punishment in school and in the community. However, the Committee remains concerned about:

a) the absence of legislation explicitly prohibiting corporal punishment in the home, school and alternative care settings;

b) the existence of provisions in the common law allowing parents, guardians and others in loco parentis to “reasonably chastise” their child; and

c) frequent incidents of corporal punishment, including severe physical punishments suffered by children, especially in the home.

"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 (CRC/C/GC/8), the Committee recommends that the State party: 

a) repeal all provisions that authorize corporal punishment, including the Children’s Act provisions on the right for parents, guardians and others in loco parentis to “reasonably chastise” their child and explicitly prohibit corporal punishment of children in all settings, including within the family, schools and other institutions and childcare settings;

b) strengthen public education, awareness-raising and social mobilization programmes, involving children, families, communities and religious leaders, on the harmful effects, both physical and psychological, 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 in the family, schools, alternative care and penal institutions; and

c) ensure the involvement and participation of the whole society, including children, in the design and implementation of preventive strategies with regard to corporal punishment of children."

Iraq

(4 February 2015, CRC/C/IRQ/CO/2-4, Concluding observations on second-fourth report, paras. 38 and 39)

"The Committee is concerned that children are routinely subjected to corporal punishment in the State party and that corporal punishment remains lawful in schools, in alternative care settings, and that while it is prohibited in detention and prison facilities, it is not explicitly prohibited in other institutions accommodating children in conflict with the law, including the Surveillance Centre, the Rehabilitation School for Preadolescents, the Rehabilitation Centre for Adolescents and the Juvenile Rehabilitation Centre. The Committee furthermore notes with concern that corporal punishment remains lawful in the home and that a husband has the legal right to discipline his wife by beating according to article 41 of the Penal Code (Act No. 111 (1969)).

"With reference to general comment No. 8 (2006) on protection from corporal punishment, the Committee urges the State party to explicitly prohibit corporal punishment in all settings and to:

a) ensure that laws prohibiting corporal punishment are effectively implemented and that legal proceedings are promptly initiated and systematically conducted against those responsible of mistreating children; and

b) introduce sustained public education, awareness-raising and social mobilization programmes, involving children, families, communities and religious leaders, on both the physical and psychological harmful effects of corporal punishment with a view to changing the attitude towards this practice and promote positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing and discipline."

Jamaica

(4 February 2015, CRC/C/JAM/CO/3-4 Advance Unedited Version, Concluding observations on third-fourth report, paras. 30 and 31)

"The Committee notes the significant progress in enacting legislation prohibiting corporal punishment in the penal system, alternative care settings and early childhood institutions, in particular, the Early Childhood Act, Child Care and Protection Act and the Act to Provide for the Regulation and Management of Early Childhood Institutions. The Committee, however, is concerned that corporal punishment remains lawful in the home and schools, is widely accepted in society, and continues to be practised in the State party. 

"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) amend its legislation to explicitly prohibit corporal punishment in all settings, including the family, schools and institutions, and explicitly repeal the common law right to inflict “reasonable and moderate” punishment; 

b) finalize and approve the draft National Safe Schools Policy which addresses the use of corporal punishment in schools;

c) 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

d) 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."

Mauritius

(4 February 2015, CRC/C/MUS/CO/3-5 Advance Unedited Version, Concluding observations on third-fifth report, paras. 37 and 38)

"The Committee is concerned that corporal punishment is applied in general as part of the school culture even though it is prohibited through the Education Regulations of 1957 and that corporal punishment is not explicitly prohibited by law in all settings, including in the home and alternative care settings as well as in the penal system. 

"The Committee urges the State party to ensure that its legislation including the Children’s Act explicitly prohibit corporal punishment in all settings. The Committee also urges the State party to promote positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing and discipline. The State party is also encouraged to establish a clear reporting system of incidents of corporal punishment, notably in schools."

Sweden

(4 February 2015, CRC/C/SWE/CO/4 Advance Unedited Version, Concluding observations on fourth report, paras. 25 and 26)

"The Committee is seriously concerned about the practice of solitary confinement of children in conflict with the law in remand prisons and police cells and the high number of children in the latter, as well as about the coercive and involuntary treatments infringed on children with disabilities in mental health care settings, in particular the use of straps or belts for up to two hours, and of seclusion.

"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 to 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:

a) immediately remove all children from solitary confinement, and revise its legislation to prohibit the use of solitary confinement in all circumstances;

b) fully legally ban the use of straps or belts as well as of seclusion in mental health care settings and in any other institution; 

c) ensure that children in all care institutions have access to an independent complaints mechanism, that the conditions in these institutions are regularly and effectively monitored, and that reports of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of detained children are promptly and impartially investigated ;

d) provide training to medical and non-medical staff on methods of non-violent and non-coercive care; and

e) unify the reporting mechanisms of the police concerning children detained in police cells."

Switzerland

(4 February 2015, CRC/C/CHE/CO/2-4 Advance Unedited Version, Concluding observations on second-fourth report, paras. 38 and 39)

"While noting that there have been amendments to criminal and civil legislation which strengthen the protection of children from assault, the Committee regrets that corporal punishment is still not considered as physical violence if it does not exceed the level generally accepted by society, and that it is not explicitly prohibited in all settings.

"The Committee draws the attention of the State party 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 urges the State party to explicitly prohibit all practices of corporal punishment in all settings and strengthen its efforts to promote positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing and discipline."

Turkmenistan

(4 February 2015, CRC/C/TKM/CO/2-4 Advance Unedited Version, Concluding observations on second-fourth report, paras. 34 and 35)

"While taking note of the existence of a legal ban on corporal punishment of children, the Committee is concerned that the concept of corporal punishment is not fully understood and that corporal punishment as a form of disciplining children is still practised in the home setting. 

"With reference to the Committee’s General comment No. 8 (2006) on corporal punishment the Committee recommends that the State party: 

a) take all necessary actions to implement the ban on corporal punishment on children in all settings;

b) emphasize through child rights education programmes and awareness-raising activities that corporal punishment is illegal and contrary to children’s rights and inform children about complaints mechanisms; and

c) carry out public educational campaigns, directed towards parents, about the negative consequences of ill‑treatment of children and promote positive, non-violent forms of discipline."

United Republic of Tanzania

(4 February 2015, CRC/C/TZA/CO/3-5 Advance Unedited Version, Concluding observations on third-fifth report, paras. 6, 35, 36, 71 and 72)

"The Committee recommends that the State party take all necessary measures to address its previous recommendations (CRC/C/TZA/CO/2, 2006) that have not yet been sufficiently implemented and, in particular those related to resources for children (para. 17), birth registration (para. 31), corporal punishment (para. 34), harmful practices (para. 51) and juvenile justice (para. 70).

"The Committee welcomes measures to review the Education Act (Mainland) so as to remove corporal punishment in school settings and move towards abolishment. Nevertheless, the Committee reiterates with concern that corporal punishment, including caning, remains widely practiced. In particular, the Committee notes with serious concern provisions in legislation that condone corporal punishment “for justifiable correction” in schools, provided that it is carried out by the head teacher, or for parents to “discipline provided it does not lead to injury”.

"With reference to the Committee’s general comment No. 13 (2011) on the right of the child to freedom from all forms of violence, the Committee reiterates its previous recommendations (CRC/C/TZA/CO/2, para. 34) and urges the State party to: 

a) repeal or amend, as needed, all legislation to explicitly prohibit corporal punishment as “justifiable” correction or discipline, including provisions contained in the Law of the Child Act (2009) the Children’s Act (2011), the National Education Act (Mainland, 1978), the Zanzibar Education Act (1982), the Corporal Punishment Ordinance 1930, the Minimum Sentences Act 1963, the Sexual Offences (Special Provisions) Act 1998, the Penal Code 1981, and the Criminal Procedure Code 1985 to explicitly prohibit all forms of corporal/physical punishment in all settings; 

b) sensitize and educate parents, guardians and professionals working with and for children, particularly teachers, by carrying out educational campaigns and awareness raising about the harmful impact of corporal punishment; and

c) promote positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing and discipline in all settings, including through providing training to teachers and parents on alternative discipline measures. 

"The Committee welcomes the State party’s commitment for the reform of the juvenile justice system, and the establishment of the Zanzibar Children’s Court and the Mainland Juvenile Court. The Committee, however, remains concerned that children and their parents/guardians are often unaware of their rights and how to engage in court proceedings. In particular, the Committee is concerned about:  ...

e) the use of corporal punishment as a judicial sanction....

"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. The Committee encourages the State party to: ...

f) abolish corporal punishment as a judicial sanction...."

Uruguay

(4 February 2015, CRC/C/URY/CO/3-5 Advance Unedited Version, Concluding observations on third-fifth report, paras. 4, 30, 31 and 32)

"The Committee welcomes the adoption of the following legislative measures: ...

e) the Personal integrity of children and adolescents Act, against degrading corporal punishment of 20 November 2007. 

"The Committee is seriously concerned about : 

a) allegations of ill-treatment and torture in police stations of adolescents suspected of having committed crimes and of children in street situations; 

b) reports of excessive use of force and collective punishments in detention facilities, children and adolescents being locked up in their cells up to 22 hours per day and about the administration of anti-anxiety medication to juvenile detainees, as a mean of restraint, as pointed out by the Committee against Torture  (CAT/C/URY/CO/3) and the Special Rapporteur on Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of punishment (A/HRC/13/39/Add.2);

c) information about overcrowded and extremely poor conditions in detentions centres for children and adolescents;  

d) lack of a systematic inspection mechanism to investigate and evaluate actual conditions as well as violations to existing regulations. 

"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, the Committee urges the State party to:

a) take all necessary measures to prevent, prohibit and protect children detained from all forms of torture or other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, including by the police;

b) establish an independent complaints mechanism accessible for all children deprived of their liberty;

c) ensure prompt, independent and effective investigation of all alleged cases of torture or ill-treatment of children and, as appropriate, prosecute offenders;

e) ensure that conditions of detention in penitentiaries comply with international minimum sanitary and hygienic standards; and

f) provide independent investigations of the alleged irregularities in the administration of medication to juvenile detainees and provide care, recovery, compensation and rehabilitation for victims.

"While noting that corporal punishment is prohibited in all settings, the Committee is concerned that the legislation does not provide for a specific sanction for those inflicting corporal punishment. The Committee is also concerned that violence against children remains a serious problem in the State party and that the measures adopted to identify and protect children victims of violence, including domestic violence remain inadequate. 

"The Committee recommends that the State party:

a) ensure that laws prohibiting corporal punishment are effectively implemented, including through the imposition of commensurate sanctions to those responsible for ill-treating children; 

b) formulate a comprehensive strategy for preventing and combating child abuse, including awareness-raising and education programmes, involving children, former victims, volunteers and community members;

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

d) ensure the effective dissemination and implementation of the SIPIAV by all actors and throughout the country; and

Cooperate with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on violence against children and other relevant United Nations institutions."

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