In September 2018, Nepal adopted the Act relating to Children 2018 which explicitly prohibits corporal punishment of children in all settings. It was certified by the President of Nepal on 18 September 2018 and has now come into effect.
Section 7(5) of the Act states (unofficial translation):
“Each child has a right to be protected against all types of physical or mental violence and punishment, neglect, inhumane behaviour, gender based or discriminatory abuse, sexual abuse and exploitation committed by his/her father, mother, other family members or guardian, teacher or any other person.”
Under section 66(2)(d), “giving physical or mental punishment or disrespectful (or inhumane) behaviour in home, school or any other setting” (unofficial translation) is criminalized as a form of violence against children, with a sanction of a fine of up to 50,000 Nepalese Rupees and up to one year of imprisonment (section 72(3)(a)).
Prior to law reform corporal punishment was lawful in the home, in alternative care and day care settings, in schools and in penal institutions. A Supreme Court judgment from 2005, which had struck down the legal defence for “scolding and minor beating” in article 7 of the previous Children Act, had at the time called on the Government “to pursue appropriate and effective measures to prevent physical punishment as well as other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment or abuse being imposed or inflicted on and likely to be imposed or inflicted on children”. A year later, at the July 2006 meeting of the South Asia Forum, the Government made a commitment to enact prohibition in all settings, including the home. This reform fulfils this commitment and makes Nepal the 54th state worldwide – and the first state in South Asia – to fully prohibit all corporal punishment of children.
The Global Initiative welcomes this development and, in the context of the wider regional commitment to prohibit all corporal punishment, calls on the rest of the region to grant children equal protection from all assault without delay.