In March, France was given a good spanking by the European Committee on Social Rights (ECSR). The issue under litigation was France’s brutishness in allowing the corporal punishment of children. The mission of the ECSR is to judge whether the signatories to the European Social Charter are in conformity with all of the charter’s provisions. The charter sets forth various “rights,” such as the right to social-welfare services, the right of labor to organize, and the right to subsidized housing.
The Association for the Protection of All Children (APPROACH) filed a complaint with the ECSR asserting that France was in violation of Article 17 of the charter “on the grounds that there is no explicit and effective prohibition [in French law] of all corporal punishment of children in the family, schools, and other settings.”
Article 17, in pertinent part, requires European nations “to protect children and young persons against negligence, violence, or exploitation.” APPROACH and like-minded groups see freedom from corporal punishment as “a fundamental right of every child.”
According to the Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children, an organization supported by APPROACH, “For too long, children all over the world were treated as second class citizens, not full human beings; adults could treat them as they wished...