France: Ruling on corporal punishment of children

Rights experts say the smacking of children is not “prohibited in a sufficiently clear, binding and precise manner under French law or case-law.”

In a decision published today, the Council of Europe’s European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) revealed that France has repeatedly failed to comply with Article 17 of the European Social Charter.

A collective complaint was lodged with the Council of Europe in February 2013 against seven member countries, including France, by the Association for the Protection of All Children (APPROACH).

Its action was motivated by “the lack of explicit and effective prohibition of all corporal punishment of children, in the family, schools and other settings.”

The European Social Charter, the natural counterpart to the European Convention on Human Rights in the field of social and economic rights, is a legally binding international treaty which States undertake to comply with upon ratification. France signed the revised European Social Charter in 1996 and ratified it in 1999.

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