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

Syria should prohibit the violent punishment of children in all settings by law.

Syrian law does not prohibit violent discipline of children, according to the Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children.[1] The Penal Code of 1949 allows parents and teachers to discipline children in ways that fall within the "general custom." The Personal Status Act of 1953 also permits guardians to exercise disciplinary authority over children, but the provision refers to "educational" discipline. The government stated to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2017 that no laws permit "beating or torture" of children– although as Human Rights Watch has documented, the Syrian government operates detention facilities where children have been beaten and tortured.[2] The government also stated that the Education Ministry has issued decisions to prohibit physical punishment and promoting alternative methods of discipline. There is limited information on current rates of violent discipline of students in Syria’s schools, of which thousands have been destroyed, damaged, or used for military purposes in the ongoing conflict.

[1] "Syria," Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children, updated March 2019,

[2] 1 November 2017, CRC/C/SYR/5, Fifth report, para. 83.