Brazil to adopt legal ban on corporal punishment of children

Brasilia (Brazil) 19 May 2011 - The announcement that Brazil is very close to enacting a total prohibition of corporal punishment of children came during a seminar on legislative responses against corporal punishment of children and adolescents, held in the House of Representatives of Brazil. The event was organized by the Embassy of Sweden, the Brazilian Government and Save the Children Sweden to discuss the draft Bill 7.672/10 prohibiting corporal punishment against children, known in Brazil as “Lei da Palmada”, and benefit from the experiences of Sweden - the first country in the world to introduce such legislation - and other countries in the Latin American region which have adopted similar laws – Costa Rica, Venezuela and Uruguay.

Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children Marta Santos Pais highlighted that if the law is approved, Brazil would be the 30th country to have such legislation in the world and the fourth in Latin America. “The prohibition of violence against children by law is indispensable! First and foremost, it is a clear and unequivocal condemnation of violence against children and adolescents in all its forms, a clear message for society in general, and also for professionals working with children and adolescents, and for children themselves. Legislation provides an ethical and normative framework to promote values of respect, tolerance and human rights”, said Marta Santos Pais.

Queen Silvia from Sweden, Minister for Human Rights of Brazil Maria do Rosario, Professor Paulo Sergio Pinheiro of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States, as well as famous Brazilian TV presenter Xuxa Meneghel who leads the important initiative “Don’t hit, educate”, took part in this high level event, lending their strong support to the adoption of national legislation to ban corporal punishment of children.

Brazil took an early lead in the protection of the rights of the child with the inclusion of children’s rights provisions in its Constitution and with the adoption, in 1990, of the Statute of Children and Adolescents, the first comprehensive legislation in the world framed by the Convention on the Rights of the Child. "The prohibition of violence against children will reaffirm Brazil's leadership in the realization of children’s rights, and will provide a strong foundation for governmental action to prevent and address situations of child maltreatment”, said the Special Representative.

The Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights and Minorities, Manuela d’Ávila announced that a special parliamentary committee will be set up very soon to discuss the draft bill, which recognizes the right of children and adolescents to enjoy education and care without any form of violence, or cruel or humiliating punishment.

Senate President Jose Sarney, the Vice Chairperson of the Senate Marta Suplicy, the coordinator of the Parliamentary Front for Early Childhood and the coordinator of the Parliamentary Front in Defense of the Rights of Children and Adolescents, Liliana Sá, also expressed support to the swift approval of the law.