Committee on the Rights of the Child: Syrian Arab Republic

Session 058 (2011)

(8 February 2012, CRC/C/SYR/CO/3-4, Concluding observations on third/fourth report, paras. 53, 54, 71 and 72)

"While welcoming the circulars issued by the Ministry of Education to prohibit the use of physical and verbal violence in schools, the Committee remains concerned that corporal punishment by teachers and parents is explicitly authorized by the Penal Code and article 170 of the Personal Status Code and widely used in the family, schools and alternative care settings. The Committee is also concerned that there is no explicit prohibition of corporal punishment as a disciplinary measure in alternative care settings and in penal institutions.

"In the light of 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, recalls its previous recommendation (CRC/C/15/Add.212, para. 37), and urges the State party:

a) to repeal article 170 of the Personal Status Code and the provisions of the Penal Code that authorize corporal punishment;

b) to prohibit unequivocally by law and without any further delay corporal punishment in the family, schools and alternative care settings and penal institutions;

c) to ensure that laws prohibiting corporal punishment are effectively implemented and that legal proceedings are systematically initiated against those responsible for ill-treating children; 

d) to introduce sustained 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 to promote positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing and discipline as an alternative to corporal punishment;

e) to ensure the involvement and participation of the whole society, including children, in the design and implementation of preventive strategies against violence and other forms of abuse.

"The Committee commends the State party for the significant progress achieved over the years in the areas of school enrolment, literacy and gender parity in primary education. The Committee also welcomes the incentive given to teachers working in remote areas, the institution of mobile schools to reach children in remote and desert areas, and the measures taken to grant access to education to and vocational training for a high number of refugee children. The Committee is however concerned about: …

d) corporal punishment and psychological violence, which are still considered as a tool for childhood discipline, and teachers and administrators who are not sufficiently trained in the use of alternatives forms of discipline.

"In the light of its general comment No. 1 (2001) on the aims of education, the Committee recommends that the State party: …

e) take all the necessary measures to eliminate corporal punishment in schools and ensure, through appropriate public education and professional training, positive, participatory and non-violent forms of discipline…."

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Session 033 (2003)

(10 July 2003, CRC/C/15/Add.212, Concluding observations on second report, paras. 36 and 37)

"The Committee regrets that little progress has been made in the State party in studying and raising awareness of ill-treatment of children within the family, as well as domestic violence and its impact on children. Moreover, it is concerned that corporal punishment in schools is not prohibited by law.

"The Committee recommends that the State party:

a) conduct a comprehensive study to assess the nature and extent of ill-treatment and abuse of children, as well as domestic violence, and that it uses the results of the study to design policies and programmes to address this issue;

b) take the necessary measures to prevent child abuse and neglect (e.g. educational public campaigns about the negative consequences of ill-treatment of children, parenting classes) and promote positive, non-violent forms of discipline as an alternative to corporal punishment;

c) take legislative measures to prohibit all forms of violence, including corporal punishment and sexual abuse of children in the family, schools and other institutions...."

Read more from Session 033 (2003)

Session 014 (1997)

(24 January 1997, CRC/C/15/Add.70, Concluding observations on initial report, paras. 17 and 28)

"The Committee is concerned at the lack of appropriate measures to combat and prevent ill-treatment and abuse within the family and to provide physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration to children victims of such ill-treatment and abuse, and at the lack of information provided on this matter. The Committee also notes with concern that disciplinary measures in schools often consist of corporal punishment although it is prohibited by law.

"The Committee recommends that special attention be paid by the authorities to the problem of ill-treatment and abuse of children within the family and of corporal punishment in schools. In this regard, the Committee stresses the need for information and education campaigns to prevent and combat the use of any form of physical or mental punishment within the family or in schools, as well as for the establishment of a complaint mechanism intended to benefit children victims of such ill-treatment or abuse."

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