European Committee of Social Rights, 2007

Observations/decisions on corporal punishment in the European Committee of Social Rights' conclusions on states examined in 2007

Armenia

(2007, Conclusions XVIII-1, vol.1)

"Article 9 of the Children’s Rights Act states that every child has the right to be protected from any form of violence, including physical, mental and other forms and that all persons, including parents and legal representatives are prohibited from subjecting children to violence or degrading treatment or punishment. The Criminal Code prohibits torture (Article 110), abuse of guardian’s rights (Article 126) and humiliation of dignity and honour (Article 132) and provides for severe penalties for offences against minors. Article 68 of the Marriage and Family Code stipulates that parents may forfeit their parental rights for abuse of these rights or cruelty towards their children.

"The Committee notes from another source that whereas corporal punishment is unlawful in schools as well as in penal institutions or as a sentence for a crime, there is no explicit prohibition of corporal punishment within the family nor within, other institutions or forms of child care. In addition, it observes from a further source that the aforementioned provision of the Children’s Rights Act is not interpreted as prohibiting corporal punishment in the home. The Committee recalls that Article 17 of the Revised Charter requires a prohibition in legislation against any form of violence against children, whether at school, in other institutions, in their home or elsewhere. It considers that this prohibition must be combined with adequate sanctions in penal or civil law. Therefore, it considers that since there is no prohibition in legislation of corporal punishment within the family or other forms of child care and institutions other than penal institutions, the situation is not in conformity with Article 17 of the Revised Charter. As regards the prohibition of corporal punishment in schools and penal institutions, the Committee asks how observance of such prohibition is ensured in practice....

"The Committee concludes that the situation in Armenia is not in conformity with Article 17§1 of the Revised Charter on the ground that corporal punishment of children within the family and alternative child care is not prohibited."

Belgium

(2007, Conclusions XVIII-1, vol.1)

"The Committee recalls that the situation, which was found not to be in conformity with the Charter in both the previous conclusion and in its decision on the merits of the World Organisation against Torture (OMCT) v Belgium (complaint No. 21/2003 decision on the merit, 7 September 2004), has not changed. Since then the Committee clarified that in order ‘to comply with Article 17, states’ domestic law must prohibit and penalise all forms of violence against children, that is acts or behaviour likely to affect the physical integrity, dignity, development or psychological well being of children. The relevant provisions must be sufficiently clear, binding and precise, so as to preclude the courts from refusing to apply them to violence against children. Moreover, states must act with due diligence to ensure that such violence is eliminated in practice’ (World Organisation against Torture (OMCT) v Portugal, complaint No. 34/2006, decision on the merits of 5 December 2006, §§19-21). The Committee concludes that Belgium is not in conformity with Article 17 on the ground that domestic law does not fulfill the conditions set above as far as corporal punishment of children is concerned....

"The Committee concludes that the situation in Belgium is not in conformity with Article 17§1 of the Revised Charter on the ground that domestic law does not penalize all form of violence against children in the family."

Finland

(2007, Conclusions XVIII-1, vol.1)

"The Committee recalls that the situation, which was found to be in conformity with the charter, has not changed. The Child Custody and Right of Access Act (No. 361/1983) provides that a child must not be subdued, corporally punished or otherwise humiliated."

Italy

(2007, Conclusions XVIII-1, vol. 2)

"The Committee recalls that the situation was found to be in conformity with the Charter in both the previous conclusion and in its decision on the merits of World Organisation against Torture (OMCT) v Italy (complaint No. 19/2003, decision on the merits of 8 December 2004). Italy prohibits corporal punishment of children within the family through a combination of legislation and case law (Decision No. 4909 of 16 May 1996 of the Court of Cassation). Since then, the Committee affirmed that in order ‘to comply with Article 17, states’ domestic law must prohibit and penalise all forms of violence against children, that is acts or behaviour likely to affect the physical integrity, dignity, development or psychological well being of children. The relevant provisions must be sufficiently clear, binding and precise, so as to preclude the courts from refusing to apply them to violence against children. Moreover, states must act with due diligence to ensure that such violence is eliminated in practice’ (World Organisation against Torture (OMCT) v Portugal, complaint No. 34/2006, Decision on the Merits of 5 December 2006, §§19-21).

"The Committee asks that the next report explain whether this ruling is still good law."

Latvia

(2007, Conclusions XVIII-2, vol.1)

"The Committee noted in its previous conclusion on Article 17 that Latvian legislation prohibits cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of children. Persons responsible for violence against a child, for prompting or forcing it to participate in sexual activities, for abuse of a child or for involving it in prostitution are guilty of a criminal offence (Section 51 of the Act on the Protection of the Rights of the Child). The Committee further observed that the Law on the Protection of the Rights of the Child provides for an explicit prohibition on corporal punishment of children including punishment within the family."

In this session

This is an automatic translation service. Extracts from laws, treaty body recommendations and Universal Periodic Review outcomes are unofficial translations.