Committee on the Rights of the Child: Costa Rica

Session 057 (2011)

(5 August 2011, CRC/C/CRI/CO/4, Concluding observations on fourth report, paras. 4, 43, 44, 45 and 46)

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

c) Act No. 8654 on the rights of children and adolescents to be disciplined without physical punishment or degrading treatment, in 2008; ...

"The Committee notes that the National Plan for the Prevention of Violence and the Promotion of Peace (2007) is being evaluated and that a new plan is being drafted to include drug trafficking and consumption. It also welcomes the programme Windows of Peace 2010-2014 including the proclamation of “child-friendly” cantons. However, the Committee notes with concern:

a) tendencies in the media and in the legislature promoting zero tolerance or mano dura policies to prevent delinquency among children and adolescents in vulnerable situations, in particular children in street situations; and

b) continued allegations of ill-treatment of juveniles in detention and in penal institutions, despite the fact that Act No. 8654 (2008) on the rights of children and adolescents to be disciplined without physical punishment or degrading treatment and Act No. 8649 (2008) on the application of juvenile criminal penalties prohibit the use of corporal punishment and degrading treatment by the staff of juvenile detention centres and penal institutions.

"The Committee urges the State party to ensure that plans to prevent violence and promote peace are adequately implemented and evaluated so that they discourage repressive and retrogressive actions against children and adolescents, in particular those in vulnerable situations. It also urges the State party to investigate and prosecute all cases of ill-treatment of children by police officers and prison guards, and bring perpetrators to justice.

"The Committee welcomes the adoption of Act No. 8654 (2008) on the rights of children and adolescents to be disciplined without physical punishment or degrading treatment, prohibiting corporal punishment and degrading treatment of children or adolescents by parents, guardians, alternative caregivers and the staff of educational, health and day-care centres and juvenile detention centres. However, it remains concerned that: corporal punishment is still perceived as sometimes necessary by a large percentage of the population; the Office of the Ombudsman has received a high number of complaints and queries from children and adolescents regarding mistreatment by teachers; and perpetrators are only being held criminally responsible when the corporal punishment has resulted in physical injuries.

"In light of article 28, paragraph 2, of the Convention and 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) ensure the full implementation of Act No. 8654 prohibiting corporal punishment and ensure that all cases of corporal punishment are effectively investigated and prosecuted and that perpetrators, including teachers, are being held criminally responsible, irrespective of whether or not such punishment has resulted in physical injuries of the child;

b) continue to take appropriate measures to raise the awareness of the general public, including children, on the unlawfulness and the negative consequences of corporal punishment and other forms of violence in the upbringing of children; and

c) sensitize parents, teachers and others working with and for children about alternative, non-violent forms of discipline."

Read more from Session 057 (2011)

Session 039 (2005)

(21 September 2005, CRC/C/15/Add.266, Concluding observations on third report, paras. 31 and 32)

"The Committee welcomes the efforts made by the State party to sensitize the different actors involved on the need to eradicate corporal punishment in the family, in school and in other institutions, and the fact that the Legislative Assembly is examining a bill prohibiting corporal punishment. The Committee remains however concerned at the fact that corporal punishment is still not explicitly prohibited in domestic law, as recommended by the Committee in its previous concluding observations, and still perceived as ‘sometimes necessary’ by a large portion of the population (CRC/C/15/Add.117, para. 17).

"The Committee reiterates its recommendation that the State party should incorporate the prohibition of corporal punishment in its legislation and continue to take appropriate measures to raise the awareness of the general public on the negative consequences of corporal punishment and other forms of violence in the upbringing of children, and to sensitize parents, teachers and others working with and for children about the alternative, non-violent means of discipline in the light of article 28 (2) of the Convention."

Read more from Session 039 (2005)

Session 023 (2000)

(24 February 2000, CRC/C/15/Add.117, Concluding observations on second report, para. 17)

"The Committee expresses its concern about the inadequate enforcement of the prohibition on the use of corporal punishment in schools and other institutions and in the penal system. In addition, the Committee expresses its concern that the practice of physical punishment of children in the home is not expressly prohibited by law and remains regarded as socially acceptable. The Committee recommends that the State party prohibit the use of corporal punishment in the home and take effective measures to enforce the legal prohibition of corporal punishment in schools and other institutions and in the penal system. The Committee further recommends that the State party undertake educational campaigns for the development of alternative disciplinary measures for children at home, in schools and other institutions."

Read more from Session 023 (2000)
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