Essay: Corporal Punishment UN Convention

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corporal punishment UN Convention

CORPORAL PUNISHMENT (UN CONVENTION)

The work of Johnny (2005) entitled: "UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: A Rationale for Implementing Participatory Rights in Schools" reported in regards to child rights in the Canadian Context as follows: "Despite its international recognition the Convention has been met with great opposition from conservative groups who claim that the participatory principle threatens the rights of adults by providing children with excessive autonomy. This logic has largely dissuaded the United States from ratifying the Convention and has also sparked debate in Canada where the government has been sluggish in their attempts to fully implement this international document into domestic policy and law. Correspondingly, this has thwarted the participation of youth in institutions such as schools where educational policy does always reflect international commitments." (Johnny, 2005) the following research in this present study and reported in this work in writing is of the nature that specifically investigates the obligations of Canada and Canada's record in regards to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in relation to corporal punishment.

II. RESEARCH QUESTIONS

The questions addressed in this research are the question of:

What are the obligations of Canada in regards to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in relation to corporal punishment:

What progress has Canada made toward banning corporal punishment in schools and homes?

What are the requirements for successively bringing about a commitment and adherence to ban of the use of corporal punishment in schools and homes in the country of Canada.

III. BACKGROUND to the STUDY

The work of Sureshrani Painjtel (2007) entitled: "Banning Corporal Punishment of Children" published by the Association for Childhood Educational International states that Article 19 of the Convention specifically states that State Parties must "...take appropriate measures to protect children from "...all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation." (Painjtel, 2007) According to Painjtel most countries and states have laws which were previously put into place that describe the types of discipline of children "considered excessive or abusive." (Painjtel, 2007) While not addressing specifically the acceptable types of home discipline of children this Convention is stated to be of a nature which gives great support to parents in provision of "nonviolent guidance and direction to their children." (Painjtel, 2007) Administrators of schools are required to give consideration to the 'human dignity' of the child in the elimination of physically or mentally harmful disciplining practices. Painjtel (2007) points out that childhood...is a unique and critical stage of life. Children the world over share the same basic needs for safety, health, nurturance and dignity" as the basis for the Convention and its accompanying requirement of law.

The work entitled: "Ending Corporal Punishment: Swedish Experience of Efforts to Prevent All Forms of Violence Against Children - and the Results" states that the purpose of criminalization of all forms of corporal punishment and use of corporal punishment in all places throughout the world is not to punish and prosecute more parents but instead to satisfy human rights by providing children with the satisfaction of human rights through "giving children equal protection of their physical integrity and human dignity." (Hindberg, 2001) This sends out a message that is clear concerning the wrongful nature of hitting a child in that it shows it is just as wrong as hitting someone else and therefore provides consistency in child protection and education of the public in the promotion of positive forms of discipline. As attitudes experience a change the requirement for punishment, prosecution and formula interventions in protecting children is something that "will diminish." (Hindberg, 2001) it is additionally noted that there has been a gradual shift in society ion that "Independent thinking and the sense of responsibility, both for oneself and for others, have come to be seen as increasingly important prerequisites of the democratic social order. The concept of the child as an independent individual with rights of its own has become more prominent. This calls for a form of child education based on the interaction, care and mutual respect." (Hindberg, 2001)

IV. DEFINITION of CORPORAL PUNISHMENT

Corporal punishment is described in the work of Painjtel (2007) to be "painful, intentionally inflicted (typically, by striking the child) physical penalty administered by a person in authority for disciplinary purposes. Corporal punishment can occur anywhere, and whippings, beatings, paddlings, and flogging are specific forms of corporal punishment..." And cites the work of Cohen (1984).

V. REQUIRED COMPONENTS to BAN CORPORAL PUNISHMENT

The requirements in banning the use of corporal punishment are identified in the work of Painjtel (2007) who states these to include: (1) Education; and (2) Legislative reforms. This was demonstrated in Sweden, the country who first became in 1979, the country which would ban all corporal punishment of children and who, in their passing of the no corporal punishment law, served to set "a good example for other nations." (Painjtel, 2007)

VI. INTERNATIONAL LAW RELATING to CORPORAL PUNISHMENT

Bans on Corporal Punishment are given support in Sweden via the country's laws and as well, through the Swedish government making provision of necessary funding needs in educational campaigns and through designation of support services that are extensive and that serve to "minimizes family stress and conflict." (Painjtel, 2007) Painjtel states of the enforcement methods used in Sweden, that the government is reliant "...upon the pedagogic effect of the legal prohibition, offenders are subject to criminal prosecution." (2007) Countries which have adopted the example set by Sweden include "...Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Norway, Romania, Ukraine and Netherlands." (Painjtel, 2007) Painjtel states that countries that are advancing toward total banning of corporal punishment including in homes are those of "Switzerland, Poland, Spain, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Northern Ireland, Belgium, United Kingdom of Great Britain, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Portugal, Fiji, Taiwan, Colombia, Costa Rica, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands." (Painjtel, 2007) in the U.S. corporal punishment of students is legal in approximately fifty percent of states and is legal for use by parents in all states except for the state of Minnesota. (Painjtel, 2007; paraphrased)

VII. OVERVIEW of CORPORAL PUNISHMENT in CANADA

In 2005, the Coalition on Physical Punishment of Children and Youth stated in its report to the 'Endorsers of the Joint Statement of Physical Punishment of Children and Youth which provided updates on Canadian as well as international developments stated that the international developments were of an encouraging nature. In a 2005 news report it is stated that Bill S-21, which seeks to "...repeal section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada, sponsored by Senator Celine Hervieux-Payette, like all other bills still before the House of Commons and the Senate, will die if an election is called soon. The bill had passed second reading and was being studied by the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. A number of private member's bills to repeal or amend s. 43 have been tabled and failed in both houses of Parliament over the years." (Coalition on Physical Punishment of Children and Youth, 2005) it is related that the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights has just released its Interim Report "Who's in Charge Here?: Effective Implementation of Canada's International Obligations with Respect to the Rights of Children. One of the Committee's primary aims was to analyze the obstacles to the protection of Children's rights required by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Committee is convinced that "children's rights in this country are not understood, or indeed provided." (Coalition on Physical Punishment of Children and Youth, 2005) in addition to this it is stated that there is a "...very brief statement about corporal punishment that gives no hint as to what recommendation might be made in the Final Report due by March 31, 2006." (Coalition on Physical Punishment of Children and Youth, 2005)

At this time in 2005 it was stated that the 'Joint Statement' material had been updated at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario website and that a poster which summarized the findings, conclusion and recommendations of the Joint Statement had been posted. Endorsements were reported to be coming in from most of the schools and as of 2005, "...Seven provinces and three territories prohibit physical punishment of students by law. Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario do not. The Canadian Teachers' Federation is on record as being firmly opposed to physical punishment, though it continues to oppose repeal of section 43 of the Criminal Code." (Coalition on Physical Punishment of Children and Youth, 2005)

VIII. PRIMARY PRINCIPLES of JOINT STATEMENT

The primary principles contained in the Joint Statement include those as follows:

The necessity exists to provoke a culture shift in which children are no longer regarded or treated as parental property. This shift is stated to require "recognition that it is not desirable for individual parents or families to bear the full costs of, or the full responsibility for,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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