The 51 Countries That Have Banned Corporal Punishment

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Nov. 21, 2016 – Slovenia has become the latest country to ban corporal punishment in all settings, including in the home, after its parliament passed a law late last month amending its law on prevention of family violence.

This reform makes Slovenia the 51st state worldwide to fully prohibit all corporal punishment of children, the 30th Council of Europe member state, and the 21st European Union state to do so.

The new Slovenian legislation entered into force on Nov. 19.

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.”

Corporal punishment in schools is banned in 128 states but only 10 percent of children worldwide are protected by laws banning corporal punishment at home and in school.

Sweden was the world’s first country to ban corporal punishment in 1979. Besides Slovenia, two other countries – Mongolia and Paraguay – enacted legislation this year banning corporal punishment in all settings.

A full list of countries that have enacted laws prohibiting violence against children in the home and school is below, courtesy of the Global Initiative to End Corporal Punishment.

2016 - MongoliaParaguaySlovenia
2015 - BeninIrelandPeru
2014 - AndorraEstoniaNicaraguaSan MarinoArgentinaBoliviaBrazilMalta
2013 - Cabo VerdeHondurasTFYR Macedonia
2011 - South Sudan
2010 - AlbaniaCongo (Republic of)KenyaTunisiaPoland
2008 - LiechtensteinLuxembourgRepublic of MoldovaCosta Rica
2007 - TogoSpainVenezuelaUruguayPortugalNew ZealandNetherlands
2006 - Greece
2005 - Hungary
2004 - RomaniaUkraine
2003 - Iceland
2002 - Turkmenistan
2000 - GermanyIsraelBulgaria
1999 - Croatia
1998 - Latvia
1997 - Denmark
1994 - Cyprus
1989 - Austria
1987 - Norway
1983 - Finland
1979 - Sweden

Related: Ireland Becomes 47th Country to Ban Corporal Punishment

Somalia Ratifies Child Rights Convention, U.S. Sole Holdout

Oct. 1, 2015  - Somalia on Thursday became the 196th country to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child when it confirmed its commitment to the treaty at U.N. headquarters in New York on Thursday.

Mogadishu’s ratification leaves the United States as the sole U.N. member state not to have consented to the convention, which is the most ratified treaty in history.

The text was opened for signature on Nov. 20th 1989 and came into force on Sept. 2nd, 1990, after the required number of ratifications.

UN special representative for children in armed conflict, Leila Zerrougi (4th. fr. left) among invitees for deposit of Somali's ratification.

UN special representative for children in armed conflict, Leila Zerrougi (4th. fr. left), among invitees for deposit of Somali’s ratification.

Somalia announced its ratification in January this year but this was not formalized until it deposited what are known as the instruments of ratification with the United Nations treaty office, which it did on Thursday.

The child rights convention requires states to act in the best interests of children and forbids capital punishment for children. It acknowledges that every child has rights, including a right to life, to his or her own name, and to have a relationship with both parents, even if they are separated.

The United States was instrumental in drafting the convention and signed it in 1996, but has not yet ratified the text because it forbids capital punishment and life imprisonment for children.

The full text of the convention is here and the list of countries that have ratified the treaty is here.

- Denis Fitzgerald
@denisfitz