COLOMBIA without slapping, shouting or pinching against childhood and adolescence

Miércoles 28 Agosto 2019

The Bill prohibits all forms of physical punishment and cruel, humiliating or degrading treatment of children and adolescents

After three years of intense work, the Alliance for the Colombian Childhood presented today, to the Senate, the Bill to prohibit physical, humiliating and degrading punishment, as discipline practice against children.

The Bill aims to: "Prohibit physical and psychological punishment, cruel, humiliating or degrading treatment of children and adolescents by their parents, legal representatives or any other person in charge of their care in all environments in which childhood and adolescence take place."

The initiative has the support of the Pontifical Javeriana University, the National University of Colombia and the University of La Sabana, who joined their capacities, under the principle of co-responsibility, for the children's comprehensive protection in Colombia.

"With this law, Colombia is updating its obligations as a signatory of the Convention on the Children's Rights, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this November. An obligation that other 56 countries worldwide, 9 of them in Latin America and the Caribbean, have already fulfilled, and which we now fully trust Colombia to fulfill, through the processing and approval of this Bill. We are also reaffirming as a country our commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly 16.2 goal, which calls for an end to all forms of violence against children," said Gloria Carvalho, Executive Secretary of the Alliance for Colombian Childhood.

"Time comes to change the way we relate to our children and adolescents. The evidence has shown us that physical and humiliating punishment and degrading treatment are inefficient, do not modulate behavior, distance us from our children, and also have serious physical and psychological consequences in the short and long time" says Juliana Pungiluppi, General Director of ICBF.

Likewise, cruel and humiliating punishments are defined as: "Any child-rearing action that disparages, humiliates, denigrates, stigmatizes, threatens, frightens or ridicules a child or adolescent to exercise authority, discipline or correction, as long as it does not constitute punishable conduct."

The explanatory memorandum of the Bill emphasizes the repercussions of punishment on the physical, cognitive and emotional development of children and adolescents, and on the damage to current and future health, related to the stress generated by violence against children and adolescents.

At the same time, it warns of the high prevalence of the practice and social and cultural acceptance of physical punishment and humiliating treatment as methods of discipline, training, and education.

This affirmation is based on scientific studies and also on research carried out by organizations linked to the Alliance for Childhood and the University of La Sabana, the results of which are presented later in the press release.

The legal support of the Bill, based on the framework of child protection on International Human Rights Law, as the Convention on the Rights of Children (CRC), and several international bodies that conclude the imperative need to prohibit physical punishment in all environments where children live, to ensure their integral development.

CRC Observation 13, indicates that the child and adolescent, as a person, is the full holder of his or her rights; therefore, it highlights the obligation of States to eliminate from legislation any justification for the use of physical punishment as a "reasonable" correction in any setting and to include the express prohibition in law.

The CRC, in its observations on the reports submitted by the Colombian State to this body, has called for the repeal of article 262 of the Colombian Civil Code on the "power to supervise, correct and punish" and to ensure that legislation prohibits corporal and humiliating punishment for all the children in Colombia, including indigenous children. In addition to creating positive, non-violent forms of upbringing and participatory forms of child-rearing.

What countries already have this law? In Latin America, Peru, Argentina, Bolivia, Venezuela, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica already have a law that prohibits any physical punishment. In the world, 56 countries already have this type of law, and France has been the most recent country to enact legislation in this sense. (See annex, map of countries committed to the abolition of physical punishment).

"The most difficult part of child-rearing is not to control children through violent, coercive measures that do not achieve a fundamental change of attitude, nor real learning for life. The complicated thing is to learn how to control our emotions as fathers and mothers. Raising good men and women is done with love, patience, expressions of affection, the dedication of quality time for learning, recreation, respect for their human dignity and each of their rights," says the Executive Secretary of the Alliance for Colombian Childhood.

As part of national research, in which Alliance organizations applied a survey to 928 children from all Colombian regions, and whose responses have been analyzed and systematized by the University of La Sabana, shows that 79% of children think they shouldn't be beaten., but that approximately 50% receive physical punishment.

The participants also proposed to change physical punishment or humiliating treatment as a form of discipline for dialogue, advice, and reflection (58.51%) and also to educate by example. (61%) expressed that physical and humiliating punishment causes them sadness, anger (41%), fear (22.9%), guilt (20%) and hatred (16.4%), which according to international studies is the root of multiple emotional and psychological problems in adolescence and adulthood.

"The approval of this bill opens the doors to a pedagogical path of cultural and social transformation that begins in the family. Children raised with love and without strikes, return to social peace and peaceful coexistence," concludes Carvalho.

For more information:

Gloria Carvalho, Secretary Alliance for Childhood: 3006142711

Luz Alcira Granada Contreras:+573115617821

[email protected]


The Road to the Settlement of the Bill

The Alliance for Colombian Childhood, involve to 20 national and internatnional organizations, some of them had worked at worldvide for the elimination of corporal and humiliating punishment. Since 2017, was started a building process of a Bill to the eliminate the corporal and humiliating punishment in Colombia.

During lats is two years and half, the Alliance for Colombian Childhood, has worked with many otrhe actors in this initiative including academic and National Government.

This process was actively joined by the Colombian Family Welfare Institute (ICBF), which since the current administration has set as a priority the eradication of all forms of violence against children and adolescents. Recognizing the work carried out by organized civil society, ICBF made its technical team and political will available to the initiative in order to contribute to the construction of the draft law and, in coordination with civil society, to promote this initiative before the Congress of the Republic.

As part of the process carried out for this purpose, it is worth highlighting the consultations held with 65 ICBF operators and with the ICBF Advisory Committee on Children and Adolescents, as well as the joint work carried out with ICBF and academia. The bill to bring Colombia up to date with the mandates on human rights and children's rights, and to prohibit in all areas the use of any type of physical punishment and humiliating treatment, was adopted on 28 August 2019.

The Alliance for Colombian Childhood is conformed from the most recognized children’s rights organizations at the international, national and local levels wirking in Colombia like: Save the Children PANDI Agency, SOS Children's Villages, Bethany Global, International Center for Education and Human Development (Cinde), Children International, Corporación Infancia y Desarrollo, Corporación Juego y Niñez, Corporación Somos Más, Fondo Acción, Fundación Apego, Fundación Antonio Restrepo Barco, Fundación PLAN, Fundación Saldarriaga Concha, Jerez & Sandoval - Medios y RS, Childhood of Observatory of the National University, Pontifical Javeriana University - Psychology Faculty, RED PAI-Child Protection Network, Red PaPaz, World Vision and its advisory allies: Ana María Convers, Adela Morales and Pedro Quijano.

This initiative has also joined by other vital bodies and organizations such as the University of La Sabana, Sociedad de Pediatría Regional Cundinamarca, Fundación Apapacho and Crianza Consciente, who have made significant contributions to the process.

By last, but not the least, the Colombian Family Welfare Institute (ICBF), Colombian State instance, responsible to integral protection of children in Colombia, which through its technical team of experts, Directorates and its General Directorate have supported to the initiative, through a great commitment and significant contributions.


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