Universal Prohibition Corporal Punishment of Children
The United Nations Study on Violence against Children
In October 2006, the Independent Expert for the Secretary-General Study on Violence against Children, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro of Brazil , presented his final report to the UN General Assembly. The Study analyses violence against children in five settings: the home and family; schools and educational settings; care and justice institutions; the work-place; and the community. The Study contains 12 over-arching recommendations and a number of setting specific recommendations that represent a comprehensive framework for follow-up action.
Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children
The Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children was launched in Geneva in 2001. It aims to act as a catalyst to encourage more action and progress towards ending all corporal punishment in all continents; to encourage governments and others to “own” the issue and work actively on it, and to support national campaigns with relevant information and assistance. The context for all its work is implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Its aims are supported by UNICEF, UNESCO, human rights institutions, and international and national NGOs.
Prohibiting corporal punishment
Corporal punishment of children breaches their fundamental human rights to respect for human dignity and physical integrity. Its legality in the majority of states worldwide – in contrast to other forms of interpersonal violence – challenges the universal right to equal protection under the law.
Countdown to universal prohibition
Global progress towards achieving prohibition of all corporal punishment of children in all settings is accelerating worldwide, particularly in the context of follow up to the UN Study on Violence Against Children. 53 states have now achieved prohibition of corporal punishment in all settings, including the home; a further 56 states are committed to achieving a complete legal ban.
Historically, special defences existed in the laws of many countries to justify corporal punishment of wives, servants, slaves and apprentices. Today, violence against women in most states is no longer defended in law, though it remains common. But the same cannot be said for children, as legislation in many countries confirms the “right” of parents and others to impose on them “reasonable chastisement” (or “moderate correction”, force for the purpose of correction”, etc). It is paradoxical and an affront to humanity that children, the smallest and most vulnerable of people, should have less protection from assault than adults. Explicitly repealing these defences for violent punishment of children is criticial in prohibiting and eliminating all corporal punishment.
For more information endcorporalpunishment.org
Prohibiting corporal punishment of girls and boys – a key element in ending gender-based violence
Submission on the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women’s draft update to General Recommendation No. 19 on accelerating elimination of gender-based violence against women