Britain must outlaw parents smacking their children, a UN human rights report has demanded.
The organisation’s human rights committee – which includes countries such as Egypt, Uganda and Algeria – urged the government to ban all forms of corporal punishment administered by parents, even a light smack – as well as calling for a weakening of anti-terror laws and giving votes to prisoners.
The committee said that all smacking should be “fully outlawed in the home,” and recommended that the government tell parents to use other forms of punishment.
The human rights group also told Britain to give prisoners the vote, attacked the government’s plan to repeal the Human Rights Act and replace it with a British Bill of Rights, and called on the government to increase the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to at least 12.
Members of the committee include Uganda, who outlawed homosexuality and recently passed a law compelling individual to report suspected homosexuals to the police. Also on the UN human rights committee is Egypt, which only days ago reportedly secretly detained dozens of opposition supporters.
The committee also chaired by Fabian Salvioli, an Argentine who supports his country’s claim on the Falkland Islands despite the express wishes of the islanders.
Bob Neill, who chairs the Commons Justice Select Committee, said: “It will be completely wrong for the UN to try and make very sweeping suggestions to suggest that [smacking children] is a major issue in the UK — it’s not.”
Justice Minister Dominic Raab added: “A bill of rights will strengthen, not weaken, human rights.
“Our reforms will protect our fundamental freedoms, prevent abuse of the system and restore proper democratic accountability, so the application of human rights commands greater public confidence.
“As for prisoner voting, it’s for parliament to decide if prisoners get the vote, not the UN. Frankly, it’s pretty absurd for a UN committee, with various individuals sent by governments that don’t hold proper democratic elections at all, to be lecturing us on this issue.”