Date: July 2008

Costa Rica achieves full prohibition

Costa Rica has joined the list of countries explicitly prohibiting all corporal punishment of children, in the family home and all other settings. Following a long and sustained campaign involving government ministries and non-government organisations and with the support of the Office of the Ombudsperson, two major amendments were made to the law.

A new article was added to the Code of Children and Adolescents, under Chapter II ("The Rights of Personality"). Article 24 bis – entitled "The right to discipline free from corporal punishment and other degrading forms of treatment" – states:

"Children and adolescents have a right to receive counselling, education, care and discipline from their mother, father or tutor, as well as from their caretakers or the personnel from educational and health centres, shelters, youth detention or any other type of centres, that in no way represents an authorisation of any sort to these parties for the use of corporal punishment or degrading treatment.

The Patronato Nacional de la Infancia shall coordinate with the institutions conforming to the National Integral Protection System and NGOs, for the implementation of educational campaigns and programmes directed to parents and other adults in custodial or caring roles."

The Family Code was also amended, so that the provision (article 143) which had allowed "moderate correction" of children by those with parental authority now states:

"Parental authority confers the rights and imposes the duties to orient, educate, care, supervise and discipline the children, which in no case authorises the use of corporal punishment or any other form of degrading treatment against the minors."

For further information, see the "states prohibiting" pages and the detailed country report on Costa Rica.


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