Committee on the Rights of the Child, session 72 (2016)

Recommendations/observations on corporal punishment in the Committee on the Rights of the Child's concluding observations to states examined in session 72 (17 May - 3 June 2016)

Bulgaria

(3 June 2016, CRC/C/GBR/CO/3, Concluding observations on third report, paras. 31 and 32)

While the Committee notes as positive provisions in the Child Protection Act (Article 11 (2)) and the Family Code (Article 125 (2)) prohibiting violence in all settings, including the home, as well as the Implementing Regulation on the Public Education Act (Article 129) prohibiting violence in schools, it is concerned that corporal punishment continues to be widely accepted in society as a means of disciplining children, and is not explicitly prohibited or sanctioned in legislation. 

"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.

Gabon

(3 June 2016, CRC/C/GAB/CO/2, Concluding observations on second report, paras. 30 and 31)

"The Committee is seriously concerned that corporal punishment of children is not prohibited in all settings, namely in the home and in alternative and day care settings, and that the practice of corporal punishment to discipline children is still accepted and widespread.

"In the light of its general comment No. 8 (2006) on corporal punishment, the Committee urges the State Party to prohibit all corporal punishment of children in all settings, including the home, alternative and day care settings, and to promote positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing and discipline among parents as well as alternative and day care personnel."

Nepal

(3 June 2016, CRC/C/NPL/CO/3-5, Concluding observations on fifth report, paras. 30 and 32)

"The Committee welcomes the prohibition of corporal punishment in article 39.7 of the Constitution. However, it remains concerned that corporal punishment is not explicitly prohibited in all legislation relating to children’s rights and remains, de facto, prevalent at home, in schools, and in other institutions and forms of childcare.

"The Committee reiterates its previous recommendation (CRC/C/15/Add.261, para. 48) for the State party to:

a) expressly prohibit corporal punishment and ill-treatment of children by law in the family, schools and other institutions;

b) expedite the process of amending the relevant provision of the Children’s Act and the 1963 Muluki Ain to ensure compliance with article 19 of the Convention;

c) strengthen awareness-raising campaigns to inform parents, teachers and professionals working with children, particularly in institutions, as well as the public at large, about the negative impact of corporal punishment and ill-treatment on children and actively involve children and the media in the process; and,

d) ensure that positive, participatory, non-violent forms of discipline are administrated in a manner consistent with the child’s human dignity and in conformity with the Convention, in particular article 28 (2) as an alternative to corporal punishment at all levels of society."

Pakistan

(3 June 2016, CRC/C/PAK/CO/5, Concluding observations on fifth report, paras. 32, 33, 34, 35, 79 and 80)

"… The Committee is seriously concerned that Shariah Law allows children to be subjected to punishments for Hadood offences involving amputation, whipping, stoning and other forms of cruel and degrading punishments.

"With reference to the Committee’s general comment No. 13 (2011) on the right of the child to freedom from all forms of violence and Sustainable Development Goal 16.2, the Committee … recommends that the State party review its laws and practices and exempt all children below the age of 18 years from punishment for Hadood offences which involve amputation, whipping, stoning and other forms of torture and cruel and degrading punishment.

"The Committee notes the efforts of the State party to eradicate corporal punishment in schools through directives and establishing of hotlines. However, it is concerned about its widespread use in all settings.

"In the light of its general comment No. 8 (2006) on corporal punishment, the Committee urges the State Party to eradicate and prohibit all forms of corporal punishment. It also recommends that the State party undertake awareness raising campaigns on the harmful effect of corporal punishment with a view to changing the general attitude towards the practice and promote positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing and discipline.

"The Committee deplores the worsening situation of juvenile justice in the State party and is seriously concerned about: …

b) Sentencing to death and lengthy prison terms of children by the  judiciary mostly for terrorism related crimes or Hadood offences under the Shariah Law….

"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. In particular, the Committee urges the State party to: …

b) review its legislation with a view to prohibiting cruel and inhuman punishments of all persons below the age of 18 years, including death sentences, lengthy prison terms and sentences,

c) ensure the prevalence of the Juvenile Justice System Ordinance of 2000 over all other laws, including Shariah Law. The attention of the State party is drawn to sections 11 (penalties for children convicted of offences) and 12(a) (no death penalty for children) of the Ordinance which both apply “notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in any law for the time being in force”…."

Samoa

(3 June 2016, CRC/C/WSM/CO/2-4, Concluding observations on second-fourth report, paras. 30 and 31)

"The Committee notes with appreciation that the Education Act of 2009 prohibits corporal punishment in the schools. It also notes a number of measures, including the National Violence-Free School Policy, the Minimum Service Standards for primary and secondary schools and training for teachers on the ban of the corporal punishment. However, the Committee is seriously concerned that corporal punishment: 

a) despite being outlawed in schools and in early childhood settings, is not prohibited in other settings such as family, alternative care and private schools; 

b) is reportedly still widely used in schools and by caregivers due to the traditional believes and attitudes on disciplinary measures;

c) is not clearly prohibited under the Crimes Act 2013 and Family Safety Act 2013, which do not explicitly repeal the “right to administer reasonable punishment” in the Infants Ordinance 1961.

"The Committee recommends that the State party:

a) revise its existing legislation and ensure that the Child Care and Protection Bill explicitly prohibit all forms of corporal punishment in all settings, including at home, in the community, at schools and justice system without any exception;

b) explicitly repeal clauses related to the “right to administer reasonable punishment” in the Infants Ordinance 1961 as a matter of priority;

c) immediately and effectively implement the Education Act 2009 prohibiting corporal punishment in schools and the National Violence-Free School Policy, and in this regard, strengthen teacher training on positive discipline and ensure that the Behaviour Management Guidelines are part of the teacher service training programmes;

d) strengthen complaints mechanism in schools so that children can safely and confidentially report teachers who continue to use 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 on the community level."

Slovakia

(3 June 2016, CRC/C/SVK/CO/3-5, Concluding observations on third-fifth report, paras. 26 and 27)

"The Committee deeply regrets that the 2005 Family Code, despite the amendments made in June 2015, still tolerates the use of “reasonable physical punishment” in the raising of children in families.

"In the light of its general comment No. 8 (2006) on corporal punishment and its previous recommendations (CRC/C/SVK/CO/2, para. 37), the Committee urges the State party to explicitly prohibit corporal punishment within the home without further delay."

UK

(3 June 2016, CRC/C/GBR/CO/5, Concluding observations on fifth report, paras. 38, 39 and 40)

"The Committee is concerned about: …

c) the use of physical restraint on children to maintain good order and discipline in Young Offenders’ Institutions and the use of pain-inducing techniques on children in institutional settings in England, Wales and Scotland, and the lack of a comprehensive review of the use of restraint in institutional settings in Northern Ireland;

d) The use of restraint and seclusion on children with psycho-social disabilities, including children with autism, in schools.

"With reference to the Committee’s general comment No. 13 (2011) on the right of the child to freedom from all forms of violence and Sustainable Development Goal 16, Target 16.2, the Committee urges the State party to:

a) prohibit the use of electrical discharge weapons, such as Taser guns, AEPs (Northern Ireland) and any other harmful devices on children and systematically collect and publish age disaggregated data on their use in order to monitor the implementation of such prohibition;

b) abolish all methods of restraint against children for disciplinary purposes in all institutional settings, both residential and non-residential, and ban the use of any technique designed to inflict pain on children;

c) ensure that restraint is used against children exclusively to prevent harm to the child or others and only as a last resort;

d) systematically and regularly collect and publish disaggregated data on the use of restraint and other restrictive interventions on children in order to monitor the appropriateness of discipline and behaviour management for children in all settings, including in education, custody, mental health, welfare and immigration settings.

"With reference to its general comment No. 8 and its previous recommendations, the Committee urges the State party, in all devolved administrations, Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies, to:

a) prohibit as a matter of priority all corporal punishment in the family, including through the repeal of all legal defences, such as “reasonable chastisement”;

b) ensure that corporal punishment is explicitly prohibited in all schools and educational institutions and all other institutions and forms of alternative care;

c) strengthen its efforts to promote positive and non-violent forms of discipline and respect for children’s equal right to human dignity and physical integrity, with a view to eliminating the general acceptance of the use of corporal punishment in child-rearing."

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