The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, in its General Comment No. 8 (2006), defines corporal or physical punishment as “any punishment in which physical force is used and intended to cause some degree of pain or discomfort, however light”. According to the Committee, this mostly involves hitting (“smacking”, “slapping”, “spanking”) children with the hand or with an implement (a whip, stick, belt, shoe, wooden spoon, or similar) but it can also involve, for example, kicking, shaking or throwing children, scratching, pinching, biting, pulling hair or boxing ears, forcing children to stay in uncomfortable positions, burning, scalding or forced ingestion (for example, washing children’s mouths out with soap or forcing them to swallow hot spices). Non-physical forms of punishment that are cruel and degrading and thus incompatible with the Convention include, for example, punishment which belittles, humiliates, denigrates, scapegoats, threatens, scares or ridicules the child.

Quick Global Facts 

Corporal punishment has been prohibited in:

2021 - Republic of Korea

2020 - JapanSeychelles, Guinea

2019 - GeorgiaSouth AfricaFranceRepublic of Kosovo

2018 - Nepal

2017 - Lithuania

2016 - MongoliaMontenegroParaguay

Slovenia

2015 - BeninIrelandPeru

2014 - AndorraEstoniaNicaraguaSan MarinoArgentinaBoliviaBrazilMalta

2013 - Cabo VerdeHondurasNorth Macedonia

2011 - South Sudan

2010 - AlbaniaCongoKenyaTunisiaPoland

2008 - LiechtensteinLuxembourgRepublic of MoldovaCosta Rica

2007 - TogoSpainVenezuelaUruguay

PortugalNew 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

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