Corporal punishment violates children’s rights and contributes to the perpetuation of violence. Achieving the prohibition and elimination of corporal punishment is a legal and ethical imperative that needs to be placed visibly
in our efforts to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against children. Religious leaders and communities command an extraordinary moral authority and influence towards ending violence against children. They demonstrate deep respect for children’s dignity and fundamental rights, and play a crucial role in preventing and alleviating children’s suffering, supporting their families and creating protective and caring environments for the most vulnerable children.
The contribution of religious leaders and communities is particularly precious when it comes to addressing ill perceptions of childhood, and to triggering a process of change from social and cultural attitudes that condone violent discipline of children toward respectful, caring and empowering child upbringing and education. The practice of religion, together with religious communities’ daily life and work, o er multiple opportunities to safeguard children’s right to freedom from violence, supporting a nurturing family environment where children can fully develop; raising awareness of the long lasting consequences of corporal punishment on children’s health, learning abilities and social skills; and upholding non-violent discipline and education values. The voice and influence of religious leaders is particularly important to deconstruct arguments that justify or condone the use of violence, including corporal punishment, on the basis of culture, tradition or faith.