Corporal Punishment Of Children: Human Rights Watch's Middle East and North Africa Index - Lebanon

Lebanon should outlaw corporal punishment in all settings and enforce the legal ban on violent discipline at school.

The penal code permits corporal punishment in the home but not at school, but the provision appears to be underenforced and violent discipline is rife in schools. [1] The Penal Code was revised in 2014 to remove the defence to the crime of assault for educational staff who commit corporal punishment, after a video showing a teacher beating young children went viral. However, in an investigation in 2018 and 2019, Human Rights Watch found that criminal investigations are seldom opened except in cases of severe violence where the child’s parents filed criminal complaints. Syrian refugee families have been afraid to report physical punishment of children by school staff due to fear of reprisals, especially families that lack legal status in Lebanon, as around 70 percent do. More than 200,000 Syrian refugee children were enrolled in Lebanese public schools before the Covid-19 pandemic. We have been unable to find data on the number of criminal investigations taken in response to cases of violent discipline at schools. The revised penal code still exempts violent discipline by parents from the crime of assault.

The Ministry of Education and Higher Education issues annual circulars banning violent discipline, and the prohibition is integrated into the Child Protection Policy of 2018. From 2011 to 2017, eight surveys found that up to 76 percent of students nationwide experienced violent discipline by teachers during their time at school.

[1] Information is taken from Human Rights Watch, "I Don't Want My Child To Be Beaten": Corporal Punishment in Lebanon's Schools, May 2019, https://www.hrw.org/report/2019/05/13/i-dont-want-my-child-be-beaten/corporal-punishment-lebanons-schools.

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