COSTA RICA: Ban on corporal punishment approved

[SAN JOSE, 25 June 2008] – Costa Rica’s Legislative Assembly today passed a law prohibiting corporal punishment of children as a method of discipline by parents and guardians.

Parlimentarian for the Partido Unidad (Unity Party), Ana Elena Chacón, who put forward the law, expressed satisfaction with the move:

“Sweden was the first country in the world to abolish physical punishment of children in 1979. This decision has resulted in a reduction in violence in Swedish society. It has taken us five years to take this important step which was advanced by the ombudsperson for human rights and children”.

The law includes the fundamental right of children to receive training, education, care and discipline from their mother, father or guardian, teaching and healthcare staff, as well as those working in the justice system, without the use of physical or humiliating treatment.

According to statistics from the Patronato Nacional de la Infancia, indicate there were 4,469 cases of abuse during 2006: 697 more than in 2005.

“This move is not denying parents the power to discipline their children, but just saying  they must do this without violence. It is not a case of not using discipline, but of re-educating ourselves in establishing boundaries. These boundaries must be set without humiliation, without smacking and without anger if we want to raise respectful, responsible and confident young people”, said the parliamentarian.

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