Child Protection Alliance in its continued efforts to promote the rights of children and their protection from all forms of abuse and exploitation through capacity enhancement of child protection professionals, advocacy, research and awareness creation, with funding from the Save the Children International recently concluded a two-day legal reform workshop on Physical and Humiliating Punishment and encourage discipline in all settings in The Gambia.
Thirty participants drawn from schools and communities at the Regional Education Directorate in Central River Region benefitted the training.
Lamin Fatty, Programme Officer for Child Protection Alliance, said the workshop was aimed to enhance the understanding and capacity of the participants on the promotion and protection of the rights of the child and the need for a legal reform to prohibit corporal punishment in The Gambia.
He emphasized that prohibition of this will be in line with the commitment that the government has undertaken towards creating a conducive environment free from all forms of abuse, exploitation and violence against children by ratifying and domesticating the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter for the Welfare of the Child in the Children’s Act 2005, adding that all these legal instruments have described physical and humiliating punishment as a violation of the CRC, ACRWC and other legal instruments to which The Gambia government is a party.
Fatty cited Article 19 (1.) of the CRC which said “states parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child. Also, Art. 28 (2) said states parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that school discipline is administered in a manner consistent with the child’s human dignity and in conformity with the present Convention.”
Fatty urged the government to respect and fulfil its obligations by prohibiting physical and humiliating punishment as in reference to Convention on Rights of the Child General Comment No. 8 (2006) on the right of the child to protection from corporal punishment and other cruel or degrading forms of punishment.
He quoted further: “Thus the state party shall repeal all provisions that authorize corporal punishment, including the Children’s Act provisions on the right for parents, guardians and others in loco parentis to ‘reasonably chastise’ their child and explicitly prohibit corporal punishment of children in all settings, including within the family, schools and other institutions and childcare settings”.
The training workshop exposed participants to national and international child rights legal instruments.