European Committee of Social Rights: Czech Republic

2015

(January 2016, Conclusions 2015)

“In its previous conclusion (Conclusions XIX-4 (2011)) the Committee found that the situation was not in conformity with the Charter as there was no explicit prohibition in legislation of corporal punishment in the home and in institutions.

“In its decision on the merits of 12 December 2014 of Complaint No. 96/2013, Association for the Protection of All Children (APPROACH) v. the Czech Republic (§§ 49-51), the Committee noted that the provisions of the domestic law referred to in the context of this complaint prohibit serious acts of violence against children, and that national courts will sanction corporal punishment provided it reaches a specific threshold of gravity. However none of the legislation referred to by the Government sets out an express and comprehensive prohibition on all forms of corporal punishment of children that is likely to affect their physical integrity, dignity, development or psychological well-being.

“Furthermore, there is no clear and precise case-law prohibiting the practice of corporal punishment in comprehensive terms. The Committee observed in particular that also the revised legal provisions (Act No. 303/2013 Coll.) may be read as separating all forms of corporal punishment from the notion of permitted “educational measures”.

“The Committee likewise took note of the domestic case-law on corporal punishment (§ 34). It noted that there was nothing in the legislation that would allow it to conclude that all corporal punishment would be automatically prohibited. The Government did not contest this. On the contrary, it stated that bodily harm needed to attain a specific threshold of gravity before it amounted to corporal punishment, and that physical punishment was allowed as long as it did not reach the prohibited level of intensity.

“The report refers to Act No. 303/2013 Coll., amending certain acts in connection with the adoption of private-law recodification and provides that any person who uses inadequate educational means or restrictions against a child commits an offence, punishable in the form of a fine of up to CZK 50,000 (€ 1 821).

“The Committee considers that the situation which it has previously held to be in violation with the Charter has not changed. It reiterates its previous finding of non-conformity on the ground that all forms of corporal punishment are not prohibited in the home and in institutions.”

“The Committee concludes that the situation in the Czech Republic is not in conformity with Article 17 of the 1961 Charter on the ground that all forms of corporal punishment are not prohibited in the home and in institutions.”

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2011

(January 2012, Conclusions 2011)

"In its previous conclusion the Committee held that the situation was not in conformity with the Charter as there was no explicit prohibition in legislation of corporal punishment in the home and in institutions.

"The Committee notes from the report of the Governmental Committee to the Committee of Ministers (TS-G (2005) 24 § 200) that Amendment to Act (No. 109/2002) on Institutional Care signed by the President on 2 September 2005 states exactly the extent of correctional means, which can be used and corporal punishment is not among them and therefore it cannot be used in these institutions. The Committee further notes from the report that the Czech law does not provide for a general prohibition of corporal punishment, but nevertheless parents are only allowed to exercise their parental authority in a way that does not affect the child's dignity and in no way jeopardises the health of the child and his/her physical, emotional, intellectual and moral development. Parents cannot resort to inappropriate means of education and this prohibition applies to the use of excessive corporal punishment. Such acts are punishable under Section 59 Paragraph 1.h of the Act on Socio-Legal Protection of Children.

"The Committee notes from another source that there that is still no legislation which explicitly prohibits corporal punishment of children in all settings, including in the family. The UN CRC urges the Czech Republic to address the widespread tolerance of corporal punishment by, inter alia, conducting awareness-raising and public education programmes with a view to encouraging the use of alternative disciplinary measures in accordance with the inherent dignity of the child, and in doing so, to ensure that corporal punishment is prohibited in all settings including the family. 

"The Committee notes from another source that corporal punishment is lawful in the home. Section 31(2) of the Family Act (1963) states that in caring for children, parents ‘may use adequate upbringing measures so that the child’s dignity is not violated and his or her health, emotional, intellectual and moral development are not endangered’, but neither this nor provisions against violence and abuse in the Act on Social and Legal Protection of Children (amended 2002), the Charter on Fundamental Rights and Freedoms (1992), the Act on Misdemeanours (1990), the Criminal Code (2009), the Constitution (1992) and the Domestic Violence Law (2006) are interpreted as prohibiting all corporal punishment in childrearing. Corporal punishment is lawful in alternative care settings. There is no provision for it in the Act on execution of institutional upbringing or protective upbringing at school facilities and on preventive upbringing care at school facilities, but it is not explicitly prohibited.

"The Committee holds that the situation which it has previously found not to be in conformity with the Charter has not changed. Therefore, it reiterates its previous finding of non-conformity on this ground.…

“The Committee concludes that the situation is not in conformity with Article 17 of the Charter of 1961 as corporal punishment of children is not explicitly prohibited in the home and in institutions."

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2005

(July 2005, Conclusions XVII-2)

"The Committee recalls that Article 17 of the 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 in legislation must be combined with adequate sanctions in penal or civil law.

"The report states that under the amended Families Act (1998), parents have the right to use reasonable correctional means that do not affect the child’s dignity nor endanger the child’s health, or his physical, emotional, intellectual, and moral development. The Committee notes that this provision does not explicitly prohibit the corporal punishment of children within the family. It notes from another source that there is no legislation explicitly prohibiting corporal punishment, and that it is practised in the family, in schools and in other public institutions, including alternative care contexts. The Committee therefore considers that since there is no explicit prohibition in legislation of corporal punishment in the home, in schools and in other institutions, the situation cannot be considered to be in conformity with Article 17 of the Charter on this point.

"The Committee furthermore notes from the report that the Notification of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport No. 291/1991 Coll., on elementary school, regulates the correctional and educational measures which the school may use, i.e. praise and other rewards and measures to improve discipline (warnings and reprimands). It asks what other legislative and administrative measures, as well as public education initiatives are used to end the use of corporal punishment.

"The Committee concludes that the situation in the Czech Republic is not in conformity with Article 17 of the Charter on the ground that there is no explicit prohibition in legislation of corporal punishment in the home, in schools and in other institutions."

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2003

(2003, Conclusions XVI-2, page 173)

"As regards the corporal punishment of children the Committee wishes to know whether legislation prohibits the corporal punishment of children in schools, in institutions, in the home, or elsewhere….

"Pending receipt of the information requested the Committee defers its conclusion."

Read more from 2003
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