June 5, 2014 – The UN envoy for child rights is calling for other countries to follow Brazil’s example after the South American country’s senate on Thursday passed a law banning all forms of corporal punishment against children.
Brazil is the 38th country to ban physical punishment of children in homes and schools and the second this year after Malta’s ban which was passed in March. Sweden was the world’s first country to ban corporal punishment in 1979.
“With this historic decision, Brazilian children can grow up in safety and in a protective environment, and violence can be made part of a distant past,” Maria Santos Pais said in a statement.
“With the enactment of this legislation, the percentage of the world’s children protected by a legal ban on all forms of violence will increase from 5 percent to 8 percent,” she stated.
The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child defines corporal punishment as “any punishment in which physical force is used and intended to cause some degree of pain or discomfort, however slight,” and it calls physical punishment “invariably degrading.”
– Denis Fitzgerald
On Twitter @denisfitz