The Informer (Monrovia)

30 July 2013

Liberia: DCI-Liberia Presses Govt End Corporal Punishment

The Executive Director of Defence for Children International-Liberia (DCI-Liberia), a child rights organization operating here, has urged the Government of Liberia to abolish corporal punishment against children in the country.

Corporal Punishment is a form of physical punishment that involves the deliberate infliction of pain as retribution for an offence, or for the purpose of disciplining or reforming a wrongdoer, or to deter attitudes or behaviour deemed unacceptable, according to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

DCI-Liberia boss Mr. Foday M. Kawah 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 made call recently when he served as Guest Speaker at the Grace of the Glory Day Care and Elementary School's 5th graduation ceremony in Sinkor.

DCI-Liberia boss averred that prohibiting all corporal punishments of children in Liberia is a key element in eliminating harmful social and cultural practices in the country.

He said the Liberian constitution 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.

Mr. Kawah said punishment in schools should be repealed and explicit prohibition enacted in relation to all education settings, public and private.

Hear him: "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. In its General Comment No. 8 (2006) the Committee consolidated and confirmed these obligations, and it systematically recommends prohibition in its concluding observations to states 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 All legal defences should be repealed and explicit prohibition of all corporal punishment should be enacted in relation to parents and all those with parental authority."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. DCI-Liberia is registered in accordance with the Liberian NGO Law.

The mandate of DCI-Liberia 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.

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