The UK will be breaking international law unless smacking is completely banned, Britain’s four official children’s commissioners have insisted.

In a report submitted to the United Nations, the four commissioners – representing England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – are demanding an “immediate” repeal of all laws allowing parents to deliberately hurt their children.

The Government must also teach parents who smack alternative “non-violent forms of child rearing and behaviour management”, they add.

The report, sent to a UN committee assesses whether the UK is living up to what the commissioners see as Britain’s commitments under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), a major international treaty dealing with issues as diverse as kidnapping or sex trafficking to the right to education and clean water.

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