Committee on the Rights of the Child: Malaysia

Session 044 (2007)

(25 June 2007, CRC/C/MYS/CO/1, Concluding observations on initial report, paras. 48, 49, 57, 58, 77 and 78)

"The Committee, while welcoming the State party’s statement that it will amend the provisions of the Child Act 2001 (Act 611) which provide for caning of male children, expresses its deep concern that caning is still a lawful penal sanction provided by the Child Act and that it is also used as a disciplinary measure in penal institutions.

"The Committee urges the State party to immediately abolish all forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading punishments, including caning and other forms of corporal punishment imposed on persons having committed a crime when under the age of 18 and as a disciplinary measure in penal institutions, taking into account the Committee’s General Comment No. 8 (2006) on the right of the child to protection from corporal punishment and other cruel or degrading forms of punishment (CRC/C/GC/8).

"The Committee notes with appreciation that violence against children, such as physical, sexual, mental and emotional violence, as well as abandonment and neglect, are addressed in the Child Act 2001 (Act 611), and that since August 2002 incest has been criminalized by the Penal Code (Act 574). It also notes with appreciation that the Domestic Violence Act 1994 (Act 521) protects the child against violence within the family. It also notes with appreciation the State party’s willingness to establish a toll-free helpline for children. However, despite the measures taken to provide protection against violence, abuse and neglect, the Committee notes with grave concern that domestic violence, including violence against children in the family, remains a serious human rights problem in the State party. The Committee notes with concern that, owing to the strong social and cultural taboos, victims and witnesses rarely report these cases, although there exist established mechanisms to receive reports on child abuse and neglect, including a tollfree helpline “Teledera” which is, however, limited to reporting on child-abuse cases. It also notes with concern that corporal punishment in the home is lawful.

"In the light of article 19 and other relevant provisions of the Convention, and taking into account the recommendations of the Committee adopted on its Day of general discussion on violence against children within the family and in schools held on 28 September 2001 (CRC/C/111, paras. 701-745), the Committee urges the State party to: …

c) prohibit by law all forms of corporal punishment in the home and conduct a comprehensive study to assess the nature and extent of this phenomenon;

d) continue to sensitize and educate parents, guardians and professionals working with and for children by carrying out public education campaigns about the harmful impact of violent forms of ‘discipline’ and promote positive, non-violent, participatory methods of child-rearing….

"In this respect, the Committee recommends that the State party seek cooperation with, among others, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and UNICEF, to further improve the education sector.

"The Committee notes with concern that the corporal punishment of boys is still a lawful disciplinary measure and used in secondary schools."

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