The Executive Director of the Defense for Children International-Liberia (DCI-Liberia), a child rights advocate operating here, has urged the Government of Liberia to abolish corporal punishment against all children in the country.
According to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Corporal Punishment is a form of physical punishment that involves deliberate infliction of pain as retribution for an offence, or for the purpose of disciplining or reforming a wrongdoer, or to deter attitudes or behavior deemed unacceptable
Mr. Foday said corporal punishment breaches children’s rights and undermines many aspects of effective child protection from all forms of violence in post-conflict Liberia. He spoke recently as Guest Speaker during the 5th graduation ceremony of the Grace of the Glory Day Care and Elementary School in Sinkor, Monrovia.
The DCI-Liberia boss averred that prohibiting all corporal punishment against children is a key element in eliminating harmful social and cultural practices in the country.
He said the Constitution of Liberia and the Children’s Law of 2011 still back corporal punishment, authorizing school authorities, parents and guardians to employ the method as a way of disciplining children. Foday stressed that punishment in schools should be repealed and explicit prohibition enacted for schools both public and private.
“The Committee on the Rights of the Child has consistently made it clear that the Convention requires explicit prohibition of all corporal punishment in all settings – the home, schools, penal systems and alternative care settings”, he reminded.
In its General Comment No. 8 (2006) the Committee consolidated and confirmed these obligations, and it systematically recommends prohibition in its concluding observations to state parties. Liberia has signed and ratified these conventions.”
“But Article VII, section 7 of the Children’s Law (2011) provides for “justifiable correction” of children. The near universal acceptance of a certain degree of violence in childrearing necessitates clarity in law that no degree of corporal punishment is acceptable or lawful.
” All legal defences should be repealed and explicit prohibition of all corporal punishment should be enacted in relation to parents and all those with parental authority.” DCI-Liberia was established in March 2009, registered in accordance with the Liberian NGO Law.
It is mission is to promote and protect the rights of children in Liberia, and to serve as a watchdog on the Government in fulfilling its obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and the Liberian Children Law, respectively.
By The New Dawn