The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child have issued a new joint general recommendation/general comment on harmful practices, which states that corporal punishment has been recognised as a harmful practice.
The general recommendation/general comment identifies harmful practices as those which constitute a denial of the dignity and/or integrity of the individual and a violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms; constitute discrimination against women or children and result in negative consequences for them; are prescribed and/or kept in place by social norms that perpetuate male dominance and inequality of women and children; and are imposed on women and children by family, community members or society at large.
In the general recommendation/general comment, the Committees call on states to explicitly prohibit harmful practices by law. States must ensure that all legislation which condones, allows, or leads to harmful practices is repealed and that legislation which aims to effectively address and eliminate harmful practices complies with human rights standards and takes precedence over customary, traditional or religious laws which allow, condone or prescribe any harmful practice. The general recommendation/general comment states that it should be read in conjunction with the Committee on the Rights of the Child’s General Comment No. 8 (2006) on the right of the child to protection from corporal punishment and other cruel or degrading forms of punishment.