3 April 2013

Swaziland: Girl's Flogging 'Broke Constitution'

Another human rights organisation in Swaziland has stepped in to condemn the school that thrashed a teenager because her parents could not afford to pay school fees.

The Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse (SWAGAA) called the beating of the 17-year-old school student a gross violation of the Swazi constitution.

Save The Children, a rights group in Swaziland, had already called the punishment 'inhumane' and 'a crime'.

The 17-year-old student at Emtfonjeni High School had been given 22 strokes of the cane by a male teacher, against the regulations laid down for the use of corporal punishment in schools in the kingdom.

The student had been lashed because she continued to attend school even though her unemployed parents had not paid fees.

A SWAGAA spokesperson Maureen Littlejohn said giving a child a 22 strokes punishment for not paying school fees was wrong.

Littlejohn said the punishment broke the constitution which stated that children should not be subjected to abuse or torture or other cruel inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment subject to lawful and moderate chastisement for purposes of correction.

Littlejohn added, 'The Convention on the Rights of the Child has recommended that Swaziland consider, as a matter of priority, explicitly prohibiting by law corporal punishment in all settings and conduct awareness-raising and educational campaigns to ensure that alternative forms of discipline are used in a manner consistent with the child's human dignity. This is in line with international standards and should be the way forward.'

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