Committee on the Rights of the Child: Sri Lanka

Session 055 (2010)

(19 October 2010, CRC/C/LKA/CO/3-4, Concluding observations on third/fourth report, paras. 40 and 41)

"While commending the abrogation of the Corporal Punishment Ordinance of 1889 and the issuance by the Ministry of Education on 11 May 2005 of Circular No. 2005/17, which prohibits physical assault or corporal punishment in the school system by any adult on a child, the Committee expresses concern that the Education Ordinance of 1939 permitting corporal punishment in schools has not been abrogated and that corporal punishment therefore remains lawful in schools as well as in the home and in alternative care settings.

“The Committee, recalling its previous recommendation (CRC/C/15/Add.207, para. 29), draws the attention of the State party to its general comment No. 8 (2006) on the right of the child to protection from corporal punishment and other cruel or degrading forms of punishment and urges that it:

a) prohibit unequivocally by law and without any further delay corporal punishment in the family, schools and alternative care institutions;

b) ensure that laws prohibiting corporal punishment are effectively implemented and that legal proceedings are systematically initiated against those responsible of mistreating children;

c) introduce sustained public education, awareness-raising and social mobilization programmes, involving children, families, community and religious leaders, on the harmful effects of corporal punishment with a view to changing the general attitude towards this practice and promote positive, non-violent, participatory forms of child-rearing and discipline as an alternative to corporal punishment."

Read more from Session 055 (2010)

Session 033 (2003)

(2 July 2003, CRC/C/15/Add.207, Concluding observations on second report, paras. 28 and 29)

"The Committee is deeply concerned that male child offenders can be sentenced to whipping or caning under the Corporal Punishment Ordinance of 1889, and that the Education Ordinance of 1939 permits corporal punishment to be used as a disciplinary measure for boys and girls in schools and that many teachers and principals consider corporal punishment to be an acceptable form of discipline.

"The Committee reiterates its previous recommendation that the State party repeal the Corporal Punishment Ordinance of 1889 and amend the Education Ordinance of 1939 to prohibit all forms of corporal punishment. Furthermore, the Committee recommends that the State party undertake well-targeted public awareness campaigns on the negative impact corporal punishment has on children, and provide teacher training on non-violent forms of discipline as an alternative to corporal punishment."

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Session 009 (1995)

(21 June 1995, CRC/C/15/Add.40, Concluding observations on initial report, paras. 15 and 32)

"With respect to child abuse, including sexual abuse, the Committee is seriously alarmed by the prevalence of this type of abuse. The Committee is worried about the fact that no specific rehabilitation measures exist for abused children and that they are treated like delinquents. Corporal punishment also persists in Sri Lankan society and is accepted in schools.

"The Committee recommends that the State party take measures to combat violence and abuse of children, including sexual abuse and corporal punishment. During the process of reviewing its laws on child abuse, the State party should carefully take into account all the provisions guaranteed by article 19 of the Convention. It further suggests that professional groups, including teachers, law enforcement personnel, social workers and the military, be trained with respect to the provisions on the Convention. International technical assistance could be requested by the authorities in relation to this matter."

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