European Committee of Social Rights: Serbia


(January 2016, Conclusions 2015)

“The Committee recalls that under Article 17 of the Charter, the prohibition of any form of corporal punishment of children is an important measure that avoids discussions and concerns as to where the borderline would be between what might be acceptable form of corporal punishment and what is not (General Introduction to Conclusions XV-2 (2001)). The Committee recalls its interpretation of Article 17 of the Charter as regards the corporal punishment of children laid down most recently in its decision in World Organisation against Torture (OMCT) v. Portugal (Complaint No. 34/2006, decision on the merits of 5 December 2006; §§19-21):

“To comply with Article 17, states’ domestic law must prohibit and penalize 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.”

“The Committee has noted that there is now a wide consensus at both the European and international level among human rights bodies that the corporal punishment of children should be expressly and comprehensively prohibited in law. The Committee refers, in particular, in this respect to the General Comments Nos. 8 and 13 of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (Complaint No 93/2013 Association for the Protection of All Children (APPROACH) v. Ireland , decision on the merits of 2 December 2014, §§45-47).

“The Committee notes form the Global Initiative to End Corporal Punishment of Children that prohibition is still to be achieved in the home and in institutions.

“Corporal punishment is lawful in the home. Provisions against violence and abuse in the Criminal Code 2005, the Misdemeanours Act 2007 and the Constitution 2006 are not interpreted as prohibiting all corporal punishment in childrearing. Section 72 of the Family Law 2005 states that parents may not subject the child to humiliating actions and punishments which insult the child’s human dignity and have the duty to protect the child from such actions taken by other persons. However, there is no explicit prohibition of all corporal punishment.

“There is no explicit prohibition of corporal punishment in alternative care settings, where it is lawful as for parents.

“As regards schools, corporal punishment was first explicitly prohibited in schools in Section 67 of the Law on Public Schools 1929. It is now unlawful under the Law on Secondary Schools 1992 and the Law on the Foundations of Education and Upbringing 2003/2009.

“The Committee considers that the situation is not in conformity with the Charter as corporal punishment is not prohibited in the home and in institutions.”

“The Committee concludes that the situation in Serbia is not in conformity with Article 17§1 of the Charter on the ground that corporal punishment is not prohibited in the home and in institutions.”

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