Last updated: August 2017
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Summary of law reform necessary to achieve full prohibition

Prohibition is still to be achieved in the home, alternative care settings, day care, schools and penal institutions.

Article 398 of the Civil Code 1983 confirms that parental authority entails a “right of correction”. 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. The “right of correction” should be explicitly repealed and clear prohibition of all corporal punishment enacted in relation to parents and all those with parental authority.

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 – Ministerial circulars reportedly inform schools not to use corporal punishment: this policy must be confirmed in legislation, which should clearly prohibit corporal punishment in all education settings, public and private, at all levels.

Penal institutions – Prohibition should be enacted of corporal punishment as a disciplinary measure in all institutions accommodating children in conflict with the law.

Legality of corporal punishment

Home

Corporal punishment is lawful in the home. Article 398 of the Civil Code 1983 states (unofficial translation): “The rights of parental authority are: - the right of correction on the child….” The Children’s Code 2008 prohibits “all forms of physical and psychological maltreatment” in the family, schools and institutions (art. 403). However, it does not explicitly prohibit corporal punishment or repeal the “right of correction”. The provisions against assault in the Penal Code 1988 (arts. 299, 300 and 301) are not interpreted as prohibiting all corporal punishment of children, however light.

The Constitution 2010 states that parents have a right and duty to ensure the education and physical and moral health of their children; children have a duty to assist their parents (art. 18). Children have a right to be protected from exploitation, sexual abuse, and inhumane treatment (art. 19). But corporal punishment is not prohibited.

A draft Revised Civil Code is under discussion. In June 2014, the Government reported that the National Assembly had established a forum of female parliamentarians which had taken up the Code and progress was expected to be made quickly.[1] As at November 2014, the draft was still under discussion.[2] The Government reported to the Universal Periodic Review in 2015 that the review of the Criminal and Civil Codes was ongoing.[3] These reforms provide key opportunities for enacting prohibition of corporal punishment but to our knowledge no such proposals have been made. The new Penal Code and Penal Procedure Code were adopted by the National Assembly on 4 July 2016 and are awaiting promulgation by the President: we have yet to see the full texts but there are no indications that they prohibit corporal punishment of children.[4]

 

Alternative care settings

There is no explicit prohibition of corporal punishment in alternative care settings: it is lawful as for parents (see under “Home”).

 

Day care

There is no explicit prohibition of corporal punishment in early childhood care and in day care for older children, where it is lawful as for parents (see under “Home”).

 

Schools

Corporal punishment is lawful in schools. A ministerial circular advises against its use (information unconfirmed) but there is no explicit prohibition in law.

 

Penal institutions

There appears to be no explicit prohibition of corporal punishment as a disciplinary measure in penal institutions. Laws relating to the justice system are under review but we do not know if prohibition of corporal punishment has been proposed.

 

Sentence for crime

Corporal punishment is unlawful as a sentence for crime. There is no provision for judicial corporal punishment in the Children’s Code 2008 or the Penal Code 1988. Article 6 of the Constitution 2010 states that everyone has the right to life and physical integrity and prohibits torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment.

 

Universal Periodic Review of Guinea’s human rights record

Guinea was examined in the first cycle of the Universal Periodic Review in 2010 (session 8). No recommendations were made concerning corporal punishment of children. However, the following recommendations were made and were accepted by the Government:[5]

“Take effective measures to ensure protecting children’s rights in conformity with its international obligations (Ukraine);

“Integrate the various treaties to which Guinea is party into its domestic law, and become a party to other international human rights instruments for the well-being of the Guinean people (Chad)”

The second cycle review took place in 2015 (session 21). No recommendations were made specifically on corporal punishment. However, the Government accepted recommendations to strengthen protection for children from abuse and to promote and protect the rights of the child.[6]

 

Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations

Session 062 (2013)

(13 June 2013, CRC/C/GIN/CO/2, Concluding observations on second report, paras. 48 and 49)

"The Committee, while noting that the Children’s Code prohibits “all forms of physical and psychological maltreatment” in the family, schools and institutions, the Committee remains concerned that:

a) the Children’s Code does not explicitly prohibit corporal punishment in all settings;

b) corporal punishment of children remains widespread and socially accepted in the home, in schools, in penal institutions, and in alternative care settings;

c) some religious interpretations wrongly prescribe whipping as being an integral part of learning the Koran, as indicated by the delegation during the interactive dialogue; and

d) there is no mechanism available for children to denounce corporal punishment.

"With reference to the Committee’s 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/8/2006), the Committee urges the State party to: 

a) ensure that different laws and regulations explicitly prohibit corporal punishment;

b) effectively implement these laws and regulations and systematically initiate legal proceedings against those responsible for mistreating children, including teachers using whips;

c) introduce sustainable public education, awareness-raising and social mobilization programmes, involving children, families, communities and religious leaders, on both the physical and psychological harmful effects of corporal punishment on the development of children with a view to changing the general attitude towards this practice and promote positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing and discipline as an alternative; and

d) ensure the involvement and participation of the whole society, including children, in the design and implementation of preventive strategies against corporal punishment of children."

Read more from Session 062 (2013)

Session 020 (1999)

(10 May 1999, CRC/C/15/Add.100, Concluding observations on initial report, para. 20)

"Although the Committee is aware that corporal punishment is prohibited by law, it remains concerned that traditional societal attitudes still regard the use of corporal punishment by parents as an acceptable practice. The Committee recommends that the State party reinforce measures to raise awareness on the negative effects of corporal punishment and ensure that discipline in schools, families and all institutions is administered in a manner consistent with the child’s dignity, in the light of article 28 of the Convention. It also recommends that the State party ensure that alternative disciplinary measures are developed and administered within the family and schools."

Read more from Session 020 (1999)

Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, Concluding Observations

CEDAW session 039 (2007)

(10 August 2007, CEDAW/C/GIN/CO/6, Concluding observations on fourth-sixth report, paras. 26 and 27)

"The Committee remains concerned about the prevalence of violence against women and girls. The Committee is particularly concerned about occurrences of domestic violence, rape, including marital rape, and all forms of sexual abuse of women, and about the persistence of patriarchal attitudes whereby the physical chastisement of family memebrs, including women, is considered acceptable....

"... The Committee urges the State party to place the highest priority on implementing a comprehensive approach to address all forms of violence against women. It encourages the State party to make full use of the Committee's general recommendation 19 in such efforts and of the United Nations Secretary-General's in-depth study on all forms of violence against women (A/61/122/Add.1 and Corr.1). It urges the State party to raise public awareness through the media and education programmes that all forms of violence against women are unacceptable.... The Committee urges the State party to enact without delay legislation on domestic violence, including marital rape, and all forms of sexual abuse, as requested in the Committee's previous concluding comments (see A/56/38, part two, chap. IV, para. 135)...."

Read more from CEDAW session 039 (2007)

African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, Concluding Observations

Session 24 (2014)

([December 2014], Concluding observations on initial report, para. 23)

"The Committee notes with appreciation that corporal punishment is prohibited by law. The Committee nonetheless has concerns on the effective implementation of the law, as well as on the measures put in place to promote non-violent disciplinary measures. The Committee encourages the State Party to explicitly ban corporal punishment in all settings and to adopt a positive discipline as an alternative. The Committee suggests awareness raising, training and sensitisation of the parents, youth, communities and those working with children as well as the proper monitoring of schools and day-cares to ensure that children are free from any kind of abuse and torture."

Read more from Session 24 (2014)

Prevalence/attitudinal research for Guinea in the last 10 years

None identified.

Footnotes

[1] 3 June 2014, CEDAW/C/GIN/Q/7-8/Add.1, Reply to list of issues

[2] 7 November 2014, CEDAW/C/SR.1261, Summary record of 1261st meeting

[3] 10 April 2015, A/HRC/29/6, Report of the working group, para. 7

[4] http://www.lexpress.fr/actualites/1/styles/guinee-le-nouveau-code-penal-supprime-la-peine-de-mort_1810329.html, accessed 11 July 2016

[5] 14 June 2010, A/HRC/15/4, Report of the working group, paras. 71(6) and 71(7)

[6] 10 April 2015, A/HRC/29/6, Report of the working group; 17 June 2015, A/HRC/29/6/Add.1, Report of the working group: Addendum

Child population

6,196,000 (UNICEF, 2015)

National and regional advocacy for law reform

No known campaigns for law reform

Forthcoming treaty body examinations and UPRs

Universal Periodic Review (UPR): 2020, session 35, deadline for briefing tbc

Translation

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