SEOUL, May 23 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea said Thursday that it will remove the right of parents to administer corporal punishment on their children as part of efforts to enhance the rights of minors.
The move is part of the Moon Jae-in administration’s youth policy that aims to create an environment where children can be happy and enjoy themselves, with the government taking on more responsibility to ensure young people live safe, healthy, protected and fulfilling lives.
Under the plan, revision of the country’s civil law will be pushed forward so physical punishment will not be included in disciplinary actions that parents can take against children, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare.
At present, South Korea is one of the few countries that give parents and legal guardians such rights for the purpose of protecting and educating children. There are 54 countries around the world that outright ban use of corporal punishment on children.
The current law, passed in 1960, has not been revised amid growing calls from such organizations as the United Nations child rights committee to halt such practices.
The ministry also said that hospitals and clinics will be required to report the birth of newborn babies so as to prevent them from being abandoned and mistreated.
In the past, reporting the birth of a child was left to the responsibility of parents.
The ministry said some 500 billion won (US$420 million) will be earmarked in the next five years to update the environment of schools so youngsters can play safely.
In regard to health, Seoul will set up a check-up service for young people, with mobile devices used to monitor kids exposed to risks. Such tools can be used to monitor the growth of kids and to see if they are getting plenty of exercise, play time and receive the right kind of food, according to the ministry.
The government also plans to take steps to reflect the views of children in the formulating of policies and to create a society where their views are more respected, it added.