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

The criminal code permits corporal punishment of children by their parents or legal caregivers in the home and alternative care settings.[1] Kuwait accepted recommendations to eliminate corporal punishment in all settings during the UN Universal Periodic Review in 2010. However, the Child Rights Act of 2015 allows "basic chastisement that is not harmful".[2]

Education policies prohibit violent discipline. The first article of the School System Regulations states that "corporal punishment and hurtful or humiliating remarks are totally inadmissible; a calm, impassive and even-tempered approach must be adopted".[3] In 2016, the education minister told parliament that the ministry has a "zero-tolerance" policy towards corporal punishment and that "a number of [foreign] Arab teachers who abused male and female students" had been deported.[4]

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child noted its concern, in its 2013 review of Kuwait, that "violence in schools, including the use of corporal punishment by teachers, has been increasing in all six governorates of the country."[5]

Kuwait informed Human Rights Watch that an administrative committee that investigates corporal punishment complaints in schools received 173 complaints during the 2018-2019 academic year, and implemented disciplinary penalties in 58 of these cases, including 9 cases which were also referred to criminal authorities.[6]

In 2019, a governmental child protection official told news media that in total, 1,000 cases of violence against children had been registered during the past five years.[7] In 2011, a survey found that 33.4 percent of students reported being physically attacked one or more times during the past 12 months (not necessarily by teachers).[8]

[1] Libya Penal Code, 1953 (as amended), articles 378, 397, and 398, available at

[2] Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children, "Country Report for Libya," updated August 2017,

[3] The practice was banned by the "School Discipline Ordinance for Schools, Regulations concerning Primary and Preparatory (Basic) Education," the "Regulations concerning Secondary (Intermediate) Education (1979)," and the "Regulation concerning Student Discipline (1983)." Global Initiative to Ban All Corporal Punishment of Children, Prohibiting corporal punishment in schools: Global report 2011, p. 8, See also UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations: Libya, 2002, para. 33.

[4] "Libya: A Teacher Severely Beats Her Student's Face," Al Arabiya, February 9, 2020,

[5] Nawas al-Darraji, "Libya: Schools close, education minister pressured to resign," AFP, 14 November 2019,; Human Rights Watch, "Libya: Events of 2019,"

[6] Decision No. (933) of the Presidential Council of the Government of National Accord regarding the regulation and management of educational institutions, October 2017,

[7] Education Ministry, Decision 1736/2017,

[6] UNICEF, Our Education, our future: November 6, 2019,

[7] UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, "Compilation of Information on Libya," UPR 3rd Cycle, 12 March 2020, A/HRC/WG.6/36/LBY/2, para. 37-8, ;