Two more South American countries prohibit corporal punishment

21 October 2014

In a ceremony held on 7 October 2014 in the Bicentennial Museum, Buenos Aires, the President of Argentina Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner promulgated the new Civil and Commercial Code, which will come into force in January 2016. Article 647 of the Code explicitly prohibits all corporal punishment of children (unofficial translation):
"All forms of corporal punishment, ill-treatment and any act that physically or mentally injures or impairs children and adolescents are prohibited...."

The reform makes Argentina the seventh Latin American country to enact legislation fully protecting children from all corporal punishment, including within the home – giving full legal protection from this form of violence to 47.6% of the region's children. The total number of states to achieve this worldwide is now 41 (protecting 9.1% of the world child population).

On 17 July 2014, the President of Bolivia signed into law a new Children and Adolescents Code for the country. The Code explicitly prohibits all corporal punishment of children, including in the home. Article 146 provides for the "right to good treatment", stating (unofficial translation):
"The child and adolescent has the right to good treatment, comprising a non-violent upbringing and education, based on mutual respect and solidarity. (2) The exercise of the authority of the mother, father, guardian, family members and educators should use non-violent methods in parenting, education and correction. Any physical, violent and humiliating punishment is prohibited."

Article 117 confirms that physical punishment is prohibited in schools; article 338 prohibits its use in specialised centres (orientation and social reintegration centres), and article 342 states the right of children and adolescents deprived of their liberty not to be subjected to corporal punishment. The Code came into force on 6 August 2014, making Bolivia the sixth Latin American state to prohibit all corporal punishment, the 39th state worldwide.