Committee on the Rights of the Child: Saudi Arabia

Session 073 (2016)

(25 October 2016, CRC/C/SAU/CO/3-4, Concluding observations on third/fourth report, para. 28)

“In view of the fact that corporal punishment remains lawful in all settings in spite of the adoption of the Child Protection Act of 2014, the Committee reiterates its recommendation that the State party prohibit all forms of corporal punishment in all settings, including the family (see CRC/C/SAU/CO/2, para. 45). The Committee recommends that the State party introduce sustained public education, awareness-raising and social mobilization programmes involving children, families, communities and religious leaders on the physically and psychologically harmful effects of corporal punishment with a view to changing the general attitude towards this practice and promoting positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing and discipline as an alternative to corporal punishment.”

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Session 041 (2006)

(17 March 2006, CRC/C/SAU/CO/2, Concluding observations on second report, paras. 42, 43, 44, 45, 73, 74 and 75)

"While noting articles 2 and 13 of the Code of Criminal Procedure promulgated in Royal Decree No. M/39 of 15 October 2001 which prohibit torture or degrading treatment and the State party’s reassurance that corporal punishment is not imposed upon minors, the Committee is concerned at reports of extrajudicial and summary floggings of teenagers suspected of behaviour deemed immoral and acts of police brutality.

"The Committee urges the State party to take all necessary steps for the immediate abolition of extrajudicial and summary floggings of teenagers, and also other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading punishments imposed on persons having committed a crime when under the age of 18 years, including acts of police brutality.

"While noting with appreciation the regular circulars issued by the Ministry of Education, which prohibit the beating or ill-treatment of children during all stages of general education and prescribe penalties designed to deter teachers from committing such acts, the Committee notes with concern that corporal punishment is lawful and widely used in the home and that it is a lawful penal sanction.

"The Committee recommends that the State party take legislative measures to prohibit all forms of corporal punishment in all settings, including the family. It further recommends that the State party carry out public education campaigns about the negative consequences of corporal punishment on children and promote positive, non-violent forms of discipline as an alternative to corporal punishment.

"The Committee is encouraged by the State party’s efforts to reform its juvenile justice system, inter alia, through adoption of the new Code of Criminal Procedure and Practice for Lawyers in 2001…. As noted in paragraph 32, the Committee is deeply concerned about reports that persons are sentenced to death for crimes committed while under the age of 18, and at the fact that capital and corporal punishment can be imposed on persons having committed a crime when under 18 years of age at the discretion of the judge.

"The Committee urges the State party to ensure the full implementation of juvenile justice standards in particular articles 37, 40 and 39 of the Convention, and other relevant international standards in this area, such as the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (the Beijing Rules), the United Nations Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency (the Riyadh Guidelines), the United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of Their Liberty and the Vienna Guidelines for Action on Children in the Criminal Justice System, and take into account the recommendations adopted by the Committee on its day of general discussion on juvenile justice (CRC/C/46, paras. 203-238).

"The Committee refers to its recommendations made in paragraphs 33 on right to life and capital punishment and 43 on protection from torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and it urges the State party to:

a) critically review its legislation with a view to abolishing the imposition of capital and corporal punishment on persons having committed crimes when under 18 years of age at the sole discretion of the judge; …

c) amend the Detention and Imprisonment Regulations (1977) and the Juvenile Justice and Social Surveillance Centre Regulations to prohibit flogging or any other form of corporal punishment for persons under 18 deprived of their liberty…."

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Session 026 (2001)

(22 February 2001, CRC/C/15/Add.148, Concluding observations on initial report, paras. 33, 34, 35 and 36)

"In light of article 37 (a) of the Convention, the Committee is seriously concerned that persons under 18 may be subject while in detention to corporal punishment, such as flogging, under article 28 of the 1977 Detention and Imprisonment Regulations. It is also disturbed that persons who committed crimes when they were under 18 may be sentenced to a variety of methods of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment such as flogging, stoning and amputation, which are systematically imposed by judicial authorities. The Committee finds that application of such measures is incompatible with the Convention…

"The Committee recommends that the State party take all necessary steps to end the imposition of corporal punishment, including flogging and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment on persons who may have committed crimes when they were under 18. It also recommends that the State party take all appropriate measures to ensure that law enforcement officials respect and protect human dignity and maintain and uphold the human rights of all persons in the course of their duties. 

"In light of articles 19 and 39 of the Convention, the Committee is concerned at the incidence of ill-treatment of children in schools and within the family. It is further concerned that domestic violence is a problem in Saudi Arabia and that this has harmful consequences on children.

"The Committee recommends that the State party take legislative measures to prohibit all forms of physical and mental violence, including corporal punishment and sexual abuse, against children in the family, the schools and care institutions. The Committee recommends that these measures be accompanied by public education campaigns about the negative consequences of ill-treatment of children and the promotion of positive, non-violent forms of discipline as an alternative to corporal punishment…."

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