Thursday, October 9, 2003
THE NEW WORLD
U.N. rules Canada should
Committee on the Rights of the
Child issues decision in Geneva
Posted: October 9, 2003
1:00 a.m. Eastern
© 2003 WorldNetDaily.com
A United Nations committee has
ruled Canada should bar parents from spanking their children.
As a signatory of the
Convention on the
Rights of the Child, Canada is obligated to make periodic appearances
before the U.N.'s Committee on Rights of the Child, which said the
country should "adopt legislation to remove the existing
authorization of the use of 'reasonable force' in disciplining
children," the National Post reported.
The U.N. body says Canada should "explicitly prohibit all forms of
violence against children, however light, within the family, in schools
and in other institutions where children might be placed."
The ruling cannot supersede national law, the Post said, but Ottawa wants
to comply with the regulations to bolster the U.N.'s attempt to encourage
The United States and Somalia are the only countries that have not signed
the convention, which routinely tells members appearing before its
committee to pass laws banning spanking.
"This ruling is another example of the U.N. infringing on our own
national concerns," said John-Henry Westen, spokesman for
LifeSiteNews.com, an online
monitor of family values, according to the National Post.
"When a child is young and cannot understand, a tap on the hand is
essential for training," he said. "We have a wood-burning stove
that gets very hot. It's ridiculous that I can't save my child from
burning himself by tapping his hand away from it."
However, a member of the committee responsible for communicating with
Canada argued, if the child "puts his hand on a hot oven, he will be
burnt and he will not do it again."
The Post said Moushira Khattab of Egypt admitted she lightly disciplined
her own two children when they were young, but says now she knows better.
"There are other means," she said. "Children are very
smart, and even when they are as young as two or three months old, they
will understand if you have a tough look, or change the tone of your
voice, or turn away from them."
A poll published yesterday showed Canadians evenly split on the question
of whether parents should be allowed to spank their children, the
Canadian paper said. Overall, according to the survey, Canadians are
against the use of corporal punishment by teachers.
The Supreme Court of Canada also is considering a petition to repeal a
federal law that lets parents, teachers or guardians apply
"reasonable force" to discipline a minor.
At a hearing June 6, the Canadian Foundation for Children, Youth and the
Law argued the federal law violates the right of all Canadians to be
"If you hit an adult, it is an assault, but if you hit a child in
the context of discipline, it is justified under our current law,"
said Cheryl Milne, the lawyer who argued the case, according to the Post.
"The U.N. committee ... agrees with that very strongly – that
countries should be prohibiting all forms of corporal punishment of
The Post said groups that regard themselves as children's rights
advocates likely will ratchet up their calls for stricter laws against
The Canadian government seemed to play both sides of the issue.
"While the government does not support spanking of children, it is
also against the criminalization of parents for lightly disciplining
their kids," said Chris Girouard, spokesman for the Department of
Justice, according to the Post. "It's whatever is in the child's
The paper said the ruling came after 18 experts of the Committee on
Rights of the Child questioned a Canadian delegation of experts and
government officials in Geneva.
The committee also urged Canada to do more about helping aboriginal
children, who suffer disproportionately high suicide and drug abuse
rates, and to provide affordable child care for working families across