San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica lawmakers ban spanking

Lawmakers voted this week to prohibit parents from spanking their kids.

The bill, passed in a second vote Wednesday, would outlaw “physical or emotional punishment or mistreatment” of children. The proposal will become law once it is signed by President Oscar Arias.

Ombudswoman Lisbeth Quesada, whose office proposed the bill in 2005, cheered the vote.

“Nothing justifies hitting children,” she said in a statement.

Still, lawmaker Luis Antonio Barrantes, who serves on the committee that approved the bill, said the proposal lacks mechanisms for enforcement.

“It’s symbolic,” he said. “There are no clear sanctions, but it does send a clear message that you mustn’t mistreat children.”


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