Flag of United Republic of Tanzania UNITED REPUBLIC OF TANZANIA

Report updated February 2015

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Child population
25,241,380 (UNICEF, 2013)

Summary of law reform necessary to achieve full prohibition

Prohibition is still to be achieved in the home, alternative care settings, day care, schools, penal institutions and as a sentence for crime.

Article 13 of the Law of the Child Act in mainland Tanzania provides for “justifiable” correction; article 14 of the Children’s Act in Zanzibar confirms that parents may discipline their children providing it does not lead to injury. These provisions should be repealed/amended to ensure that no law can be construed as authorising corporal punishment in childrearing.

Alternative care settings – Prohibition should be enacted in legislation applicable to all alternative care settings (foster care, institutions, places of safety, emergency care, etc).

Day care – Corporal punishment should be prohibited in all early childhood care (nurseries, crèches, kindergartens, preschools, family centres, etc) and all day care for older children (day centres, after-school childcare, childminding, etc).

Schools – All laws authorising corporal punishment in schools in mainland Tanzania and in Zanzibar should be repealed and prohibition enacted in relation to all education settings, public and private.

Penal system – Laws allowing corporal punishment in penal institutions should be repealed, and prohibition enacted in relation to disciplinary measures in all institutions accommodating children in conflict with the law.

Sentence for crime – All legal provisions authorising corporal punishment as a sentence for crime in mainland Tanzania should be repealed, including those in the Corporal Punishment Ordinance, the Minimum Sentences Act, the Sexual Offences (Special Provisions) Act, the Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code.

Current legality of corporal punishment

Home

Corporal punishment is lawful in the home in mainland Tanzania and in Zanzibar. Provisions against violence and abuse in the Penal Codes and other laws are not interpreted as prohibiting corporal punishment in childrearing.

In mainland Tanzania, the Law of the Child Act 2009 states that parents should protect children from all forms of violence (art. 9), includes beatings which cause harm in the definition of child abuse (art. 3) and prohibits “torture, or other cruel, inhuman punishment or degrading treatment” (art. 13). However, it allows for “justifiable” correction (art. 13) and does not exclude all forms of corporal punishment from such correction. In Zanzibar, the Children’s Act 2011 states that “no child shall be subjected to violence, torture, or other cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment or treatment or any cultural or traditional practice which dehumanizes or is injurious to his physical and mental wellbeing” but it also states that “parents may discipline their children in such a manner which shall not amount to injury to the child’s physical and mental wellbeing” (art. 14). The Act does not explicitly prohibit all corporal punishment in childrearing. In reporting to the Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2013, the Government confirmed that these provisions in the Child Act 2009 and the Children’s Act 2011 justify the use of caning in schools (see under “Schools” below).

A draft new Constitution is under discussion, scheduled to be put to public referendum in April 2015 and, if passed, to come into force in October 2015.[1] As at November 2014, the draft provided for the rights of children in article 50, stating that every child has the right to “be protected from abuse, cruelty, child labour and harmful traditional practices” (unofficial translation); protection from violence and harmful traditional practices is also specifically confirmed for people with disabilities (art. 52) and for women (art. 54). There is no specific prohibition of corporal punishment.

The Government rejected recommendations to prohibit all corporal punishment made during the Universal Periodic Review of Tanzania in 2011.[2]

Alternative care settings

In Zanzibar, the Children’s Act 2011 prohibits corporal punishment in residential institutions in article 125: “(1) For the purpose of promoting the well-being and development of children in residential establishments, particularly as regards their education and health, every residential establishment approved under section 123(3) of this Act shall establish a committee of not less than four fit and proper persons to oversee the management of the establishment. (2) The committee shall: … (e) inquire into the maintenance of discipline and behaviour management, having regard to the prohibition on corporal punishment and other humiliating forms of punishment….” However, there is no prohibition in relation to other forms of care.

In mainland Tanzania, the Law of the Child Act 2009 does not explicitly prohibit corporal punishment in care settings; it is lawful under the provisions for “justifiable” correction in article 13 (see under “Home”).

Day care

In Zanzibar, there is no explicit prohibition of corporal punishment in early childhood care and in day care for older children. The provision for disciplining children in the Children’s Act 2011 (art. 14, see under “Home”) presumably applies to all with parental authority.

In mainland Tanzania, the Law of the Child Act 2009 does not explicitly prohibit corporal punishment in day care; it is lawful under the provisions for “justifiable” correction in article 13 (see under “Home”).

Schools

Corporal punishment is lawful in schools in mainland Tanzania under the Education (Corporal Punishment) Regulations 1979 pursuant to article 60 of the National Education Act 1978, which authorises the minister to make regulations “to provide for and control the administration of corporal punishment in schools”. Corporal punishment according to these Regulations means “punishment by striking a pupil on his hand or on his normally clothed buttocks with a light, flexible stick but excludes striking a child with any other instrument or on any other part of the body”.[3] Regulation 3 states that corporal punishment “may be administered for serious breaches of school discipline or for grave offences committed whether inside or outside the school which are deemed by the school authority to have brought or are capable of bringing the school into disrepute”; it must “be reasonable having regard to the gravity of the offence, age, sex and health of the pupils and shall not exceed four strokes on any occasion”.[4] The Law of the Child Act 2009 does not does not repeal this provision or prohibit corporal punishment in schools. Government guidelines in 2000 reduced the number of strokes from six to four and stated that only the heads of schools are allowed to administer the punishment, with penalties for teachers who flout these regulations.

In Zanzibar, the Ministry of Education has adopted a policy against corporal punishment in schools, but it remains lawful under the 1982 Education Act. The Zanzibar Children’s Act 2011 does not explicitly prohibit corporal punishment in schools.
In rejecting the recommendations to prohibit corporal punishment made during the UPR in 2011, the Government asserted that “corporal punishment does not apply in the education system” but that caning is administered in schools and is “a legitimate and acceptable form of punishment [not intended to] be violent, abusive or degrading”.[5] In April 2013, the Government reportedly confirmed that corporal punishment would continue to be used in public schools.[6]

In its report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2013, the Government states:[7] “Based on the foregoing provisions [article 13 of the Law of the Child Act 2009 and article 14 of the Children’s Act 2011], the State Party deems justifiable the application of caning of unruly students in schools as falling outside the scope of corporal punishment; and it has regulated the application of the punishment in schools in order for it not to amount to degrading or inhuman treatment of misbehaving pupils in schools.” However, the Government also informed the Committee that it is committed to abolishing corporal punishment in schools and ways of achieving this were being investigated.[8]

Penal institutions

Corporal punishment is prohibited as a disciplinary measure in penal institutions in Zanzibar under article 122 of the Children’s Act 2011: “(1) The Minister may make rules for the proper implementation of the purposes and provisions of this Part without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, for providing for the following purposes: (a) the management, control, discipline and interior economy of Approved Schools and remand homes; … (d) the prohibition of all forms of corporal punishment and other cruel or degrading punishments….”
In mainland Tanzania, there is no prohibition of corporal punishment in penal institutions.

The Law of the Child Act 2009 prohibits “torture, or other cruel, inhuman punishment or degrading treatment” (art. 13) but does not explicitly prohibit corporal punishment.

Sentence for crime

Corporal punishment is prohibited as a sentence for crime in Zanzibar under article 47(2) of the Children’s Act 2011: “No child shall be subject to corporal punishment as a result of being found guilty of the commission of an offence….”

However, in mainland Tanzania corporal punishment is authorised as a sentence under a number of laws, including the Corporal Punishment Ordinance 1930, the Minimum Sentences Act 1963, the Sexual Offences (Special Provisions) Act 1998, the Penal Code 1981 and the Criminal Procedure Code 1985. The Minimum Sentences Act amends the Corporal Punishment Ordinance (art. 12) to allow for administering corporal punishment in instalments. Under article 8 of the Ordinance, juveniles may be given up to 12 strokes (up to 20 for adults) and the punishment may be inflicted in the open courtroom. The Minimum Sentences Act does not apply to females or to juveniles under the age of 16 years (arts. 2 and 3). The Law of the Child Act 2009 provides for criminal charges against children to be heard by a juvenile court (art. 98); it prohibits “torture, or other cruel, inhuman punishment or degrading treatment” (art. 13) and does not explicitly provide for corporal punishment as a sentence of the court. But the Act does not prohibit judicial corporal punishment for child offenders or repeal the above mentioned laws which authorise such sentences.

In rejecting the recommendation to prohibit made during the UPR in 2011, the Government defended corporal punishment as a sentence for crime, stating that “the procedure for the administration of the punishment has strict controls to eliminate any likelihood of arbitrariness and to ensure the protection of the health of the concerned”.[9]

Prevalence/attitudinal research in the last ten years

A study involving 409 children (average age 10.5 years) at a private school in Tanzania found that 95% had been physically punished at least once in their lifetime by a teacher. The same percentage reported experiencing physical punishment by parents or caregivers. Eighty-two per cent had been beaten with sticks, belts or other objects, 66% had been punched, slapped or pinched. Nearly a quarter had experienced punishment so severe that they were injured. The children’s experience of corporal punishment was associated with increased aggressive and hyperactive behaviour and decreased empathetic behaviour. (Hecker, T. et al (2013), “Corporal punishment and children's externalizing problems: A cross-sectional study of Tanzanian primary school aged children”, Child Abuse & Neglect, available online 17 December 2013)

A report carried out at the end of the Transforming Education for Girls in Nigeria and Tanzania (TEGINT) project, a 2007-2012 initiative to transform the education of girls in Northern Tanzania and Northern Nigeria, found that in Tanzania 70% of community members and 87% of girls agreed “it is not okay for teachers to whip a girl who comes late to school because she was caring for a sick relative”. The study involved surveys with 295 girls and young women aged 11-22 and 91 community members. (Institute of Education & ActionAid (2013), Transforming Education for Girls in Tanzania: Endline research summary report, Das es Salaam: ActionAid Tanzania)

In a study on the wellbeing and vulnerability of child domestic workers, 30% of the child domestic workers involved in Tanzania said their employers physically punished them. The study was conducted in 2009 in Peru, Costa Rica, Togo, Tanzania, India and Philippines with around 3,000 children, mostly aged 10-17, half of whom worked as paid or unpaid domestic workers. (Anti-Slavery International (2013), Home Truths: Wellbeing and vulnerabilities of child domestic workers, London: Anti-Slavery International)

A report by the Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance based on interviews with 179 children in 65 detention centres found that children were subject to violence, including from prison officers and adult prisoners. (Reported in The Citizen, 29 January 2012, www.thecitizen.co.tz)

A study involving over 3,700 13-24 year olds found that 73.5% of females and 71.7% of males had been slapped, pushed, punched, kicked, beaten up or attacked or threatened with a weapon such as a gun or knife by a relative, authority figure (including teachers), or intimate partner during their childhood. Over half (51%) of 13-17 year olds had experienced this in the past year. The report is not explicit about how much of the violence was inflicted in the name of “discipline”; however, 58.4% of females and 57.2% of males experienced physical violence by relatives (the majority by fathers and mothers), and 52.6% of females and 50.8% of males experienced physical violence by teachers. Nearly eight in ten girls (78%) and nearly seven in ten boys (67%) aged 13-17 who had been punched, kicked or whipped by a teacher had experienced this more than five times, and nearly half of 13-17 year olds (46.3% girls, 45.9% boys) who had been punched, kicked or whipped by a relative had experienced this more than five times. Experiencing physical violence in childhood was associated for females with poor to fair general health, feelings of anxiety in the past 30 days, having suicidal thoughts, and having a STI diagnosis or symptoms in the past 12 months; and for males with feelings of depression in the past 30 days. (UNICEF Tanzania, Division of Violence Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention & Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (2011), Violence against Children in Tanzania: Findings from a National Survey (2009), Dar es Salaam: United Republic of Tanzania)

A 2010 consultation on the Zanzibar Children’s Bill found that, of over 500 children aged 8 and over, 77% thought all school corporal punishment should be banned. (Save the Children (2010), Capturing Children’s Views on the Children’s Bill 2010: The National Child Consultation Programme in Zanzibar)

 

Recommendations by human rights treaty bodies

Committee on the Rights of the Child

“The Committee recommends that the State party take all necessary measures to address its previous recommendations (CRC/C/TZA/CO/2, 2006) that have not yet been sufficiently implemented and, in particular those related to resources for children (para. 17), birth registration (para. 31), corporal punishment (para. 34), harmful practices (para. 51) and juvenile justice (para. 70).

“The Committee welcomes measures to review the Education Act (Mainland) so as to remove corporal punishment in school settings and move towards abolishment. Nevertheless, the Committee reiterates with concern that corporal punishment, including caning, remains widely practiced. In particular, the Committee notes with serious concern provisions in legislation that condone corporal punishment ‘for justifiable correction’ in schools, provided that it is carried out by the head teacher, or for parents to ‘discipline provided it does not lead to injury’.

“With reference to the Committee’s general comment No. 13 (2011) on the right of the child to freedom from all forms of violence, the Committee reiterates its previous recommendations (CRC/C/TZA/CO/2, para. 34) and urges the State party to:

  1. repeal or amend, as needed, all legislation to explicitly prohibit corporal punishment as ‘justifiable’ correction or discipline, including provisions contained in the Law of the Child Act (2009) the Children’s Act (2011), the National Education Act (Mainland, 1978), the Zanzibar Education Act (1982), the Corporal Punishment Ordinance 1930, the Minimum Sentences Act 1963, the Sexual Offences (Special Provisions) Act 1998, the Penal Code 1981, and the Criminal Procedure Code 1985 to explicitly prohibit all forms of corporal/physical punishment in all settings;

  2. sensitize and educate parents, guardians and professionals working with and for children, particularly teachers, by carrying out educational campaigns and awareness raising about the harmful impact of corporal punishment; and

  3. promote positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing and discipline in all settings, including through providing training to teachers and parents on alternative discipline measures.

“The Committee welcomes the State party’s commitment for the reform of the juvenile justice system, and the establishment of the Zanzibar Children’s Court and the Mainland Juvenile Court. The Committee, however, remains concerned that children and their parents/guardians are often unaware of their rights and how to engage in court proceedings. In particular, the Committee is concerned about: ...
e) the use of corporal punishment as a judicial sanction....
“In the light of its general comment No. 10 (2007) on children’s rights in juvenile justice, the Committee urges the State party to bring its juvenile justice system fully into line with the Convention and other relevant standards. The Committee encourages the State party to:...
f) abolish corporal punishment as a judicial sanction....”
(4 February 2015, CRC/C/TZA/CO/3-5 Advance Unedited Version, Concluding observations on third-fifth report, paras. 6, 35, 36, 71 and 72)

“The Committee notes with satisfaction that some concerns and recommendations (CRC/C/15/Add.156) made upon the consideration of the State party’s initial report (CRC/C/8/Add.14/Rev.1) have been addressed through legislative measures and policies. However, recommendations regarding, inter alia, legislation, coordination, corporal punishment, child labour and juvenile justice, have not been given sufficient follow-up. The Committee notes that those concerns and recommendations are reiterated in the present document.

“While noting various initiatives undertaken by the State party in campaigning against corporal punishment, including the establishment of two non-corporal punishment pilot schools in Zanzibar, the Committee deeply regrets that corporal punishment is still lawful in schools and in the penal system where. The Committee is further concerned that corporal punishment is lawful in the family and alternative-care institutions.

“Taking into account its general comment No. 1 on the aims of education (CRC/GC/2001/1) and general comment No. 8 on the right of the child to protection from corporal punishment and other cruel or degrading forms of punishment (CRC/GC/2006/8), the Committee urges the State party:

  1. to explicitly prohibit all forms of corporal punishment in the family, schools, the penal system and other institutional settings and alternative-care systems as a matter of priority;
  2. to sensitize and educate parents, guardians and professionals working with and for children by carrying out public educational campaigns about the harmful impact of corporal punishment; and
  3. to promote positive, non-violent forms of discipline as an alternative to corporal punishment.

“The Committee urges the State party ensure the full implementation of juvenile justice standards, in particular articles 37, paragraph (b), 40 and 39 of the Convention, as well as the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (the Beijing Rules) and the United Nations Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency (the Riyadh Guidelines), and in the light of the Committee’s day of general discussion on the administration of juvenile justice. In this regards, the Committee recommends that the State party:...

c) prohibit all forms of corporal punishment for persons under the age of 18 years in penal institutions; ...”

(21 June 2006, CRC/C/TZA/CO/2, Concluding observations on second report, paras. 6, 33, 34 and 70)

“The Committee notes with regret that the law does not prohibit the use of corporal punishment as a sentence for children and youth in the juvenile justice system. Concern is also expressed that this type of punishment continues to be practised in schools, families and care institutions.

“The Committee recommends that the State party take legislative measures to prohibit all forms of physical and mental violence, including corporal punishment within the juvenile justice system, schools and care institutions as well as in families. The Committee encourages the State party to intensify its public awareness campaigns to promote positive, participatory, non-violent forms of discipline as an alternative to corporal punishment at all levels of society.

“The Committee recommends that the State party:

e) abolish corporal punishment as a sentence within the juvenile justice system….”

(9 July 2001, CRC/C/15/Add.156, Concluding observations on initial report, paras. 38, 39 and 67)

Human Rights Committee

“While noting the pilot studies on best practice, which are carried out in conjunction with the United Nations Children’s Fund in schools in which caning is not applied, the Committee reiterates its concern that corporal punishment is still available as part of judicial sentences and is permitted within the education system, and that it continues to be applied in practice. (arts. 7 and 24). 

The State party should take measures towards the abolition of corporal punishment as a lawful sanction. It should also promote non-violent forms of discipline as alternatives to corporal punishment within the educational system and carry out public information campaigns about its harmful impact.”
(6 August 2009, CCPR/C/TZA/CO/4, Concluding observations on fourth report, para. 16)

“The Committee notes with approval the Nyalali Commission’s recommendation to abolish corporal punishment as a judicial sentence; such penalty should also be precluded for offences against prison regulations and children should no longer be subjected to corporal punishment in schools (art.7).”
(18 August 1998, CCPR/C/79/Add.97, Concluding observations on third report, para. 16)

Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

“The Committee is concerned that the provisions of the Covenant have not been fully incorporated into the domestic legal order. It is also concerned that the State party invokes traditional values to explain practices that are not in line with obligations flowing from international human rights law, such as polygamy, female genital mutilation (FGM), as well as corporal punishment of children in schools (art. 2, para. 1).

The Committee urges the State party to take the necessary measures to give the Covenant full effect in its domestic legal order, throughout its territory, including through the planned constitutional review prior to 2015. The Committee also calls on the State party to ensure that redress for violations of the Covenant rights can be sought, and that the curriculum of training centres for judges includes all economic, social and cultural rights, as contained in the Covenant.

“The Committee is concerned that corporal punishment of children is lawful as a sentence of the courts, as well as a form of discipline in schools, alternative-care institutions and the home (art. 10).

The Committee urges the State party to take legislative and other measures to prohibit and prevent corporal punishment of children in all settings, in particular as a sentence of the courts, as well as in schools, alternative-care institutions and the home.”
(13 December 2012, E/C.12/TZA/CO/1-3, Concluding observations on initial-third report, paras. 4 and 14)

Universal Periodic Review

Tanzania was examined in the first cycle of the Universal Periodic Review in October 2011 (session 12). The following recommendations were made:[10]

“Pursue efforts in human rights related areas, in particular legal review process, female genital mutilation and corporal punishment (Egypt);

“Strengthen measures aiming to make effective the rights of the Child from an integral perspective and based on the Convention on the Rights of the Child, particularly on issue of eradication of child labour, violence and sexual abuses, corporal punishment and street children conditions (Uruguay);

“Prohibit all violence against children, including corporal punishment (Sweden);

“Continue to promote the right to education, while prohibiting corporal punishment (Djibouti)”

The Government accepted Egypt’s recommendation to pursue its efforts with regard to corporal punishment[11] but rejected recommendations to prohibit corporal punishment, stating: “Corporal punishment does not apply in the education system. It is provided for by law, as part of our penal system and is administered under the Corporal Punishment Act and Regulations made under the Act, as well as the Prisons Act for persons who have been convicted of certain offences. This punishment is not applicable to females, and males who are over fifty five years. The procedure for the administration of the punishment has strict controls to eliminate any likelihood of arbitrariness and to ensure the protection of the health of the concerned.  As a result of these procedures and controls, the sentence has not been administered for more than one decade. This punishment has already been abolished for Tanzania Zanzibar and preference is given to community services. Moreover, canning (and not corporal punishment) is administered to pupils and students for acts of gross indiscipline. The Education Act and its Regulations prescribe a strict framework within which it is to be administered in schools. Therefore caning of miscreant students in schools is viewed as a legitimate and acceptable form of punishment in Tanzania. It was not the intention of the law makers that it should be violent, abusive and or degrading as recommended or envisaged.”[12]

Examination in the second cycle is scheduled for 2016.

Notes:
1. AllAfrica.com, 23 October 2014
2. 12 March 2012, A/HRC/19/4/Add.1, Report of the working group: Addendum, paras. 86(37), 86(38) and 86(47)
3. 4 November 2013, CRC/C/TZA/3-5, Third-fifth state party report, para. 87
4. ibid., para. 88
5. 12 March 2012, A/HRC/19/4/Add.1, Report of the working group: Addendum, para. 86(47)
6. 9 April 2013, Daily News
7. 4 November 2013, CRC/C/TZA/3-5, Third-fifth state party report, para. 87
8. 4 November 2013, CRC/C/TZA/3-5, Third-fifth state party report, para. 308; 20 January 2015, CRC/C/SR.1944, Summary record of 1944th meeting, paras. 20 and 32
9. 12 March 2012, A/HRC/19/4/Add.1, Report of the working group: Addendum, para. 86(47)
10. 8 December 2011, A/HRC/19/4, Report of the working group, paras. 85(7), 86(37), 86 (38) and 86(47)
11. 8 December 2011, A/HRC/19/4, Report of the working group, para. 85(7)
12. 12 March 2012, A/HRC/19/4/Add.1, Report of the working group: Addendum, paras. 86(37), 86(38) and 86(47)

This analysis has been compiled from information from governmental and non-governmental sources, including reports on implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Every effort is made to maintain its accuracy. Please send us updating information and details of sources for missing information: info@endcorporalpunishment.org.

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