CORPORAL PUNISHMENT: Africa Newsletter #18

In this issue

As we release our first issue for 2015, we are pleased to announce that Benin has joined the list of states prohibiting all corporal punishment, bringing the number of African states to achieve this fundamental reform to seven (46 globally).

Read the full newsletter attached

Recent developments in Africa

Prohibition achieved

Benin: Benin’s new Children’s Code 2015, passed by the National Assembly on 26 January, prohibits all corporal punishment of children in all settings, including the home. Article 39 states that discipline by parents and others must respect the child’s human dignity, and article 130 confirms that discipline should not involve corporal punishment (unofficial translation): “The State will ensure that discipline within the family, at school and in other public or private institutions does not involve corporal punishment or any other form of cruel or degrading treatment.” The prohibition is confirmed in relation to schools in article 119 and for children in care in article 220.

Positive moves

Uganda: In February 2015, the Children (Amendment) Bill was tabled in Parliament by Gender, Labour and Social Affairs’ minister Mary Karooro Okurut. The Bill would prohibit corporal punishment of children in all settings, including the home.

Zimbabwe: In a High Court review judgment in December 2014, concerning the case of a 15-year old boy sentenced to judicial caning, Justice Muremba declared that corporal punishment as a criminal sanction for juveniles is no longer lawful because the new Constitution 2013 places no limitation on protection from inhuman treatment and, unlike the previous Constitution, makes no explicit provision for “moderate corporal punishment”. Justice Muremba also suggested that corporal punishment by parents, guardians and persons in loco parentis might now be unconstitutional. The declaration of unconstitutionality must be confirmed by the Constitutional Court in order to have legal force.


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