VIOLENCE: Report of the Middle East & North Africa Region technical workshop - Law reform to prohibit all forms of corporal punishment of children

Summary: June 30 – July 2, 2010, Beirut, Lebanon

This three-day workshop was held by Save the Children in partnership with the Global Initiative to
End All Corporal Punishment of Children, the League of Arab States and the Higher Council for
Childhood in Lebanon. Around 70 participants attended, from Governments and non-government
organisations (NGOs) across the Middle East and North Africa. It was also attended by Ms Marta
Santos Pais, Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence against Children,
Professor Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, the Independent Expert who led the UN Secretary General's Study
on Violence against Children, and representatives from the League of Arab States.

The workshop followed a two day meeting of the League of Arab States which focused on the
region's follow-up to the UN Study on Violence against Children. It provided an opportunity for
participants to focus on the recommendation of the Study to prohibit as a matter of priority all forms of corporal punishment of children in all settings. The objectives of the workshop were:

  • to promote effective follow-up to the UN Secretary General's Study on Violence against Children;
  • to promote the human rights imperative to prohibit all corporal punishment of children, including in the home;
  • to increase knowledge about the context and process of law reform and how to achieve it, exploring the challenges; and
  • to develop national strategies for pursuing law reform in each participating state.

During the first two days, attended by both Government and civil society representatives,
presentations and discussions addressed the human rights imperative to prohibit all corporal punishment, and global and regional progress to date. The key elements of law reform were
described and guidance given on how to develop national strategies to achieve prohibition in all
settings. There was in depth discussion about the challenges faced and how to overcome them, and
exploration of how action can be taken at a regional as well as a national level. This collaborative
work culminated in presentations by participants of national strategies for law reform drafted during the workshop, to be further developed and implemented on returning to their respective countries.

The third day of the workshop was attended by civil society representatives only, and focused on
the significant role they can play in promoting law reform and on ways of overcoming the particular
challenges they face.

This report summarises the key presentations made during the workshop in relation to law reform,
and the development of national strategies to promote prohibition. It also takes account of the issues raised during detailed discussions, including the challenges faced and ways to overcome them. It is intended as an account of the workshop and as a reference document for promoting and achieving prohibition of all corporal punishment of children in the region.

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