Paraguay becomes 50th state worldwide to prohibit all corporal punishment of children

On 17 August 2016, the Paraguayan National Congress approved the Law on Promotion of Good Treatment, Positive Parenting and Protection of Children and Adolescents against Corporal Punishment or Any Type of Violence as a Method of Correction or Discipline (Ley de Promoción del Buen Trato, Crianza Positiva y de Protección a Niñas, Niños y Adolescentes Contra el Castigo Físico o Cualquier Tipo de Violencia Como Método de Corrección o Disciplina), which was enacted by the Executive on 2 September 2016.

This reform makes Paraguay the 10th Latin American state to achieve this fundamental reform for children. Globally, Paraguay is the 50th state to prohibit corporal punishment in all settings, including the home.

Article 1 of the new law confirms the right of the child and adolescent to good treatment and the prohibition of corporal punishment and humiliating treatment (unofficial translation):

All children and adolescents have the right to good treatment and for their physical, psychological and emotional integrity to be respected. This right includes the protection of their image, their identity, their autonomy, their thoughts, their feelings, their dignity and their values.

Corporal punishment and humiliating treatment of children and adolescents is prohibited as a form of correction or discipline, especially when it is imparted by parents, tutors, guardians or anyone responsible for their education, care, guidance, or treatment of any kind.

Children and adolescents are especially entitled to receive guidance, education, care and discipline by implementing guidelines for positive parenting.

The new law puts an emphasis on prevention of corporal punishment and measures to ensure implementation of the law (article 5). It also requires the Ministry of Education and Culture to provide and allocate the necessary means and resources to effectively implement prohibition of corporal punishment in the formal and non-formal education field (article 6) and, together with the Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare, to establish accessible complaints mechanisms (article 8).

Prior to this reform, corporal punishment was prohibited in shelter homes, in penal institutions and as a sentence for crime in Paraguay, but it was not explicitly prohibited in the home, other alternative care settings, day care and schools.

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