1 August 2013

Liberia: GOL Urged to Abolish Corporal Punishment

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

DCI-Liberia was established in March 2009. DCI-Liberia and is registered in accordance with the Liberian NGO Law.

The mandate of the Defense for Children International - Liberia (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.

According to the United Nations' Convention on the Rights of the Child, 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 behavior deemed unacceptable.

Mr. Foday M. Kawah pointed out that 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 this statement recently when he served as Guest Speaker at the graduation ceremony of the Grace of the Glory Day Care and Elementary School in Sinkor, Monrovia.

According to the DCI-Liberia boss, prohibiting all corporal punishment of children in Liberia is a key element in eliminating harmful social and cultural practices in the country.

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 Kawah said punishment in schools should be repealed and explicit prohibition enacted in relation to all education settings, public and private.

Hear the DCI-Liberia boss: "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 by lawful.

All legal defenses should be repealed and explicit prohibition of all corporal punishment should be enacted in relation to parents and all those with parental authority." He added.

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