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“CORPORAL PUNISHMENT: A PAINFUL BLOW TO CHILDREN’S RIGHTS.” Hazel Thompson –Ahye LL.M Attorney-at-law, mediator and child rights advocate. 1.

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Presentation on theme: "“CORPORAL PUNISHMENT: A PAINFUL BLOW TO CHILDREN’S RIGHTS.” Hazel Thompson –Ahye LL.M Attorney-at-law, mediator and child rights advocate. 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 “CORPORAL PUNISHMENT: A PAINFUL BLOW TO CHILDREN’S RIGHTS.” Hazel Thompson –Ahye LL.M Attorney-at-law, mediator and child rights advocate. 1

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4 Hillary Clinton – “ It Takes A Village” (1995) 2,000 children die from abuse annually; Near fatal abuse-8,000 children disabled p.a. 141,700 infants, children, seriously injured or neglected in 1990; More children die from abuse and neglect than urban gang wars, AIDS, polio measles; 1,537 child fatalities in 2010; 79.2 5% caused by parents. 4

5  Preamble to CRC: Human rights standards UN Charter –inherent dignity, equal and inalienable rights of members of human family;  Universal Declaration of Human Rights- childhood entitled special care and assistance;  Declaration of Rights of Child 1924, 1959  International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights –all speak to need to extend particular care to child –physical and mental immaturity. 5

6  IN HOME -Article 19  States to take-  Legislative  administrative,  social,  educational measures  to protect child  from all forms of  physical or mental  violence, injury or  abuse while in care  of parents, guardians, care givers.. 6

7  States must ensure school discipline is administered in a manner consistent with the child’s human dignity and in conformity with the CRC. 7

8  No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment. 8

9 States must take measures to promote physical, psychological recovery, social reintegration of child victim of neglect, exploitation, abuse, torture, other form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. 9

10  General Comment No 8 (2006)  “ The right of the child to protection from corporal punishment and other cruel or degrading forms of punishment.” Purpose: To highlight state’s obligation and outline measures state must take to prohibit and eliminate corporal punishment. 10

11  Child Rights Committee’s definition: Corporal punishment is:  Punishment in which physical force is used and intended to cause some degree of pain or discomfort, however light. 11

12  Prevalence of corporal punishment in homes, schools, other institutions-  more visible through reporting process under CRC, research, advocacy.  Corporal punishment- inconsistent with equal and inalienable rights of children to respect for their human dignity and physical integrity. Nature of children demand their protection from violence. 12

13  Human Rights Treaties, human rights bodies and regional human rights mechanisms have progressively condemned corporal punishment in the penal system, school and in the home.  They all agree on the need to amend laws to ensure compliance. 13

14  Laws to protect children from cruelty make it an Offence but give a Defence of reasonable chastisement to parent, guardian, and, in most cases, teacher. “Nothing in this section shall be construed as affecting the right of any parent, teacher or other person having the lawful control or charge of a child to administer reasonable punishment to such child.” T&T Children Act  “Reasonable punishment in relation to any person other than a parent or guardian shall not include corporal punishment.” 14

15  Bahamas Child Protection Act s.62  Makes it an offence for a person over 18 years who has custody, charge or care of child to assault or ill-treat child.  Section 4 © Law is subject to reservations, modifications to suit circumstances in Bahamas and due regard to its laws. 15

16  THE BAHAMAS  PENAL CODE s.120  “A blow or other force,not in any case extending to a wound or grievous harm, may be justified for the purpose of correction.” 16

17  THE BAHAMAS -PENAL CODE s.120 WHO MAY INFLICT BLOWS? AND, ON WHOM? Parent, guardian, or one acting as such, on child under 16 years; Master -servant or apprentice under 16 years; One with delegated authority, including school master, person acting as such, unless authority expressly withheld. 17

18  THE BAHAMAS -PENAL CODE s.120 When is correction not justified? s.110(6) If unreasonable in kind or degree –age, physical or mental condition on victim  Who is excepted from corporal punishment?  Person of tender years or who is otherwise incapable of understanding the purpose for which punishment is inflicted. 18

19  SOME PROMISING SIGNS  Express prohibition in laws:  Residential Care Establishment Act, The Bahamas;  Child care and Protection Act, Jamaica;  Education Act (Early Childhood Centres) Dominica;  Education and Training Act,Belize 19


21  ADVOCACY AND RESEARCH  JUSTICE Renate Winter of UN Special Court for Sierra Leone, President of International Association of Juvenile and Family Court Judges  Robin Karr- Morse – Ghosts from the Nursery, Tracing the Roots of Violence 21

22  ADVOCACY AND RESEARCH  Murray Strauss- Beating the Devil Out of Them  Alice Miller-For You Own good, The Roots of Violence In Childrearing  Reports on Global Initiative to End Corporal Punishment of Children. 22

23  GLIMMERS OF HOPE  Religious enlightenment  Important voices from civil society  Restorative Practices Movement 23

24  Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu  “ If we really want a peaceful and compassionate world, we need to build communities of trust where all children are respected, where home and school are safe places to be and where discipline is taught by example. May God give us grace to love our children as He loves them and may their trust in us lead them to trust in Him.”  THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION.  PEACE AND LOVE TO ALL OF YOU. 24

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