Government position on physical punishment of children "lacks credibility", Europe’s top human rights official says

Following his visit to the UK (see news item below), the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Thomas Hammarberg has issued a Memorandum on corporal punishment in the UK (9 October 2008).

 

The Memorandum states: "During his missions the Commissioner noted that there is acceptance among Government ministers that legislation to completely remove the "reasonable punishment" defence in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, has become inevitable. In this regard the Commissioner welcomes the change in language when talking about corporal punishment and notes that the government now 'does not condone smacking'. Without a change in the law, however, this position of not condoning smacking lacks credibility."

 

Thomas Hammarberg goes on to emphasise "that laws allowing the definition of ‘justifiable assaults’ and ‘reasonable punishments’ on children are not compliant with international human rights standards."

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