Prohibition of all corporal punishment in Andorra (2014)
When the Andorran Government reported to the Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2012, it stated that corporal punishment was prohibited in the home under article 114 of the Criminal Code 2005 as amended in 2010. The Government had also claimed that the law prohibited corporal punishment during the Universal Periodic Review of Andorra in 2010 in its national report to the European Committee of Social Rights (2011). However, article 114 of the Criminal Code as amended by Law 91/2010 does not refer to corporal/physical punishment. Rather, it punishes physical and psychological violence. There was no clear prohibition of corporal punishment in the Code.
In December 2014, article 476 of the Code was amended to clarify that it applies to corporal punishment, so that it now states (unofficial translation):
Whoever corporally mistreats mildly or harm physically, a person, shall be punished by imprisonment or a fine up to 6.000 euros. If the mistreatment consists of a corporal punishment, a sentence of imprisonment shall be imposed.”
The amendment was included in Qualified Act No. 40/2014 of 11 December, on the modification of the Qualified Act No. 2005 of 21 February, of the Andorran Criminal Code, and was published in the Andorran Official Journal No. 2 of 14 January 2015. In a letter to Mr Paulo Sergio Pinheiro - the Independent Expert who led the UN Study on Violence against Children and Representative of the Panel to promote global progress for children - the Government stated:
“Although Andorra firmly believe that the Andorran Criminal Code (ACC) clearly prohibited ‘all types of corporal mistreatment’ as provided in articles 113, 114, 476 and 478 of the ACC, and as it was clearly stated in different forums such as the Universal Periodic Review, the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Andorran Government, following the recommendations from different monitoring mechanism bodies, decided to amend the ACC in order to introduce the word ‘punishment’ in article 476.1 and thus, explicitly prohibit corporal punishment….
“With this reform, the legislator has aimed at … introducing the word ‘punishment’ together with the word ‘corporal’, thus eliminating any shadow of doubt about the criminalisation of corporal punishment in Andorra….”
Before the law reform, corporal punishment of children in Andorra was not clearly prohibited by law in the home, in alterative care settings (with the exception of the La Gavernera children’s centre) and in day care settings (early childhood care and day care for older children). It was considered unlawful in schools and penal institutions, but again there was no explicit prohibition in legislation. With the achievement of prohibition, Andorra became the 28th European state to fully protect its children from all corporal punishment.