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Friday, December 28, 2007

Corporal Punishment - Ban Passed

By Dorothy M. Neddermeyer, PhD

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.
Dorothy M. Neddermeyer, PhD, author, "If I'd Only Known...Sexual Abuse in or Out of the Family: A Guide to Prevention, specializes in: Mind, Body, Spirit healing and Physical/Sexual Abuse Prevention and Recovery. As an inspirational leader, Dr. Neddermeyer empowers people to view life's challenges as an opportunity for Personal/Professional Growth and Spiritual Awakening.

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