States committed to law reform
What does it mean to be committed to law reform?
This means that a state has clearly and publicly committed to enacting legislation to explicitly prohibit all forms of corporal punishment of children, however light, in all settings including the home, without delay. A commitment to achieving prohibition in a specific setting, for example in schools, is certainly welcome, but it is not enough to meet states’ human rights obligations and to guarantee children the protection from violence they deserve.
How we do assess commitment?
A state’s commitment is assessed on an individualised basis, taking into account the wider national context. Some of the criteria taken into consideration are:
- Introducing and/or actively supporting a Bill to prohibit all corporal punishment of children;
- Expressing clear support for recommendations to prohibit all corporal punishment made during the state’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR);
- Making a public expression of commitment on a global, regional or national stage, including becoming a Pathfinding state with the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children;
- Expressing or confirming commitment to prohibition in a communication to the Global Initiative, etc.
Actions speak louder than words! A state’s committed status may be revoked due to inaction over time or if a state backtracks on its commitment, including by:
- Claiming law reform is not necessary despite a lack of prohibition in legislation,
- Defending the use of so-called ‘reasonable’ punishment,
- Opposing or not facilitating the passage of a Bill to prohibit all corporal punishment,
- “Noting” or rejecting UPR recommendations to prohibit,
- Not reporting on progress towards prohibition on relevant platforms, etc.
Ongoing review of commitment
We are still calling on governments that have not yet achieved prohibition to publicly commit to reforming their laws, without delay, but we also need your help!
In 2019, we conducted an in-depth review of states committed to law reform, welcoming input from national human rights institutions, civil society organisations and concerned individuals on the issue and consolidating all of this data to revise the list above. The review was undertaken to make our ways of working more transparent and to reflect more accurately the situation on the ground. Read more about the 2019 review here.
Several states which continue to express commitment to law reform (by supporting Universal Periodic Review recommendations to do so, most often) have lost committed status following our 2019 review, because of their lack of action on these commitments. As always, we welcome any new evidence of commitment on those and any other states: please send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.