European Committee of Social Rights: Bosnia and Herzegovina

2015

(January 2016, Conclusions 2015)

“In its previous conclusion (Conclusions 2011) the Committee considered that there is no explicit prohibition of corporal punishment in the home in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Brčko District.

“The Committee notes from the Global Initiative to End Corporal Punishment that the law reform has not yet fully prohibited corporal punishment in the home throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina. Corporal punishment is unlawful in schools.

“The Committee takes note of the legislation in all entities prohibiting domestic violence against children. Nevertheless, the Committee notes that the Family Law of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Brčko District do not prohibit all forms of corporal punishment.

“As regards the Republika Srpska, the Law on Protection against Domestic Violence in RS prohibits different forms of violence, such a physical, emotional or psychological violence. Physical violence is interpreted as behaviour involving physical force intended to cause certain, even smallest pain and/or discomfort, which leads to real or potential harm to the child.

“The Committee considers that corporal punishment is not explicitly prohibited in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Brčko District in the home. Therefore, the situation is not in conformity with the Charter.

“The Committee asks whether corporal punishment is prohibited in all entities in childcare institutions.”

“The Committee concludes that the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina is not in conformity with Article 17§1 of the Charter on the ground that all forms of corporal punishment are not prohibited in the home in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Brčko District.”

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2011

(January 2012, Conclusions 2011)

"The Committee recalls that under Article 17 of the Charter 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. There will be no sufficient prohibition in law unless a state can demonstrate that legislation is interpreted as prohibiting corporal punishment and effectively applied as such.

"The Committee notes from another source that corporal punishment is unlawful in the home in the Republic of Srpska (RS) but lawful in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) and the District of Brcko (BD). In the Republic of Srpska, Article 97(1) of the RS Family Law (2002, amended in 2008) states: 'Parents and other family members shall not subject a child to degrading treatments, mental and physical punishment nor abuse….' In the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the FBH Criminal Code (2003), the FBH Law on Protection from Domestic Violence (2005) and the FBH Family Law (2005) prohibit violence in the family but do not explicitly prohibit all corporal punishment in childrearing. Similarly, the BD Criminal Code (2004) and the BD Family Law (2007) prohibit domestic violence but do not explicitly prohibit all corporal punishment of children.

"According to the same source, there is no explicit prohibition of corporal punishment in alternative care settings. Preschool provision is governed by the Framework Law on Preschool Upbringing and Education (2007) which states the primacy of the child’s right to 'upbringing and education and proper care for the benefit of their physical and mental health and safety' (Article 7) but does not prohibit corporal punishment.

"The Committee considers that there is no explicit prohibition of corporal punishment in the home in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the District of Brcko. Corporal punishment is not explicitly prohibited in schools and in institutions and therefore the situation is not in conformity with the Charter.

"The Committee concludes that the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina is not in conformity with Article 17§1 of the Charter on the ground that corporal punishment is not prohibited in the home, neither in schools nor in institutions."

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