Corporal Punishment – Ban Passed

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Venezuela passed a law on December 10, 2007 banning all forms of physical and humiliating punishment of children. The law makes Venezuela the second Latin American country to pass such a law; Uruguay became the first, November 2007. Venezuela joins several countries, which bans all forms of corporal punishment in school and the home.

Worldwide Bans on Corporal Punishment: Every industrialized country in the world now prohibits school corporal punishment, except the U.S. and Australia (Outback regions only). The following list shows the trend towards the elimination of corporal punishment in schools, dating back to the 1700’s.

Year Country

Since Foundation** Iceland

1783 Poland

1820 Netherlands

1845 Luxembourg

1860 Italy

1867 Belgium

1870 Austria

1881 France

1890 Finland

1900 Japan

1917 Russia

1923 Turkey

1936 Norway

1949 China

1950 Portugal

1958 Sweden

1967 Denmark

1967 Cyprus

1970 Germany

1970 Switzerland

1982 Ireland

1983 Greece

1986 United Kingdom – England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland

1990 New Zealand

1990 Namibia

1996 South Africa

1998 England*

1998 American Samoa

1999 Zimbabwe

2000 Zambia

2000 Thailan
d

2000 Trinidad and Tobago

2001 Kenya

2002 Fiji

2003 Iceland

2004 Canada

2004 Romania

2004 Ukraine

2005 Hungary

2007 Greece

2007 Australia

2007 Uruguay

*This ban solidifies a ban imposed in 1986, extending the ban to ALL private schools.

**Iceland is the only country known to have banned corporal punishment during the country’s foundation. Hence, it has never been legal there.

The reform of the Venezuela law, which protects children and young people includes a provision for children’s right to be well treated and bans all forms of physical and humiliating punishment.

Carlos Trapani from child rights organization Cecodap, who led the advocacy campaign, said: “Corporal punishment is a violent phenomenon. It is a violation of human rights.”

The new law:

Article 32a. The right to good treatment All children and young people have a right to be treated well. This right includes a non-violent education and upbringing, based on love, affection, mutual understanding and respect, and solidarity.

Parents, representatives, guardians, relatives, and teachers should use non-violent methods of education and discipline to raise and educate their children. Consequently, all forms of physical and humiliating punishment are prohibited. The State, with the active participation of society, must ensure policies, programs and protection measures are in place to abolish all forms of physical and humiliating punishment of children and young people.

Corporal punishment is defined as the use of force, in raising or educating children, with the intention of causing any degree of physical pain or discomfort to correct, control or change the behavior of children and young people.

Humiliating punishment can be understood as any form of offensive, denigrating, devaluing, stigmatizing or mocking, treatment, carried out to raise or educate children and young people, with the aim of disciplining, controlling or changing their behavior.

Article 56. The right to be respected by teachers. All children and young people have the right to be respected by their teachers, and receive an education based on love, affection, mutual understanding, national identity, mutual respect for ideas and beliefs, and solidarity. Consequently, all forms of physical and humiliating punishment are prohibited.

Article 358. Content of the responsibility for raising children. The responsibility for raising children includes the shared duty and right, which is equal and non-derogable, of the father and mother to love, raise, train, educate, and look after their children, sustain and assist them financially, morally and emotionally, using appropriate corrective measures that do not violate their dignity, rights, guarantees or overall development. Consequently, all forms of physical punishment, psychological violence and humiliating treatment, which harm children and young people, are prohibited.

Stated purpose: A new human right – the right to be treated well – has been introduced to reinforce children and young people’s status as rights-holders, and to ensure the full recognition of their dignity and personal integrity. This right includes a non-violent upbringing and education, based on love, affection, mutual understanding and respect, and solidarity. In addition to an express ban on all forms of physical and humiliating punishment, fathers, mothers, representatives, guardians, relatives and teachers have an obligation to use non-violent methods to raise, train, educate and discipline children and young people, to ensure the implementation of this right. This new regulation is a step towards achieving abolition of all forms of abuse of children and young people, and building the legal foundations for a new and peaceful society.

Source by Dorothy M. Neddermeyer, PhD

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