Last updated: August 2016
Flag of Seychelles Country report for Seychelles

*Seychelles is committed to reforming its laws to prohibit corporal punishment in all settings.*

Summary of law reform necessary to achieve full prohibition

Seychelles’ commitment to prohibiting corporal punishment

The Seychelles expressed its commitment to prohibiting all corporal punishment of children by accepting the recommendations to do so made during the Universal Periodic Review of Seychelles in 2016.

Summary of necessary legal reform to achieve full prohibition

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

The right of parents to administer “reasonable chastisement” is recognised in common law, and article 70(7) of the Children Act 1982 confirms the right of parents and other adults with lawful control of a child “to administer proper punishment”. Legal provisions against violence and abuse are not interpreted as prohibiting all corporal punishment in childrearing. The near universal acceptance of a certain degree of violence in disciplining children necessitates clarity in law that no amount or kind of corporal punishment is acceptable or lawful. The common law defence of “reasonable chastisement” and article 70(7) of the Children Act should be explicitly repealed and prohibition enacted of all corporal punishment and other cruel or degrading forms of punishment, in the home and all other settings where adults have authority over children.

Alternative care settings – The law should prohibit corporal punishment in relation 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 – Prohibition should be enacted in legislation and applicable to all education settings (public and private), as well as repeal of any laws specifically authorising or regulating corporal punishment in schools.

Penal institutions – The law should prohibit corporal punishment in relation to disciplinary measures in all institutions accommodating children in conflict with the law.

Legality of corporal punishment

Home

Corporal punishment is lawful in the home under the common law right to inflict “reasonable chastisement” on children. Article 70 of the Children Act 1982 prohibits cruelty to children, but states: “(7) Nothing in this section affects the right of a parent, guardian, teacher or other person having the lawful control or charge of a child to administer proper punishment to him if that punishment does not contravene subsection (1).” Subsection (1) prohibits assault and ill-treatment which causes or is likely to cause “unnecessary suffering, moral danger or injury to health” but does not prohibit all corporal punishment in childrearing. Provisions against violence and abuse in the Family Violence (Protection of Victims) Act 2000, the Penal Code 1955 and the Constitution 1993 are not interpreted as prohibiting corporal punishment in childrearing.

The Civil Code and the Penal Code are being reviewed, and the Ministry of Social Affairs has drafted a Domestic Violence Bill and amendments to the Children Act 1982 which are pending in the Attorney General’s office.[1]

In 2016, the Government accepted recommendations made during the Universal Periodic Review of the Seychelles to prohibit corporal punishment of children, including through repealing the right “to administer proper punishment” in the Children Act 1982.[2] In accepting the recommendations, the Government stated that the rights of the child is the highest priority in the national agenda and it is in this light that the recommendations on corporal punishment were accepted.[3]

 

Alternative care settings

Corporal punishment is lawful in alternative care settings under the right “to administer proper punishment” in the Children Act 1982 (art. 70). Establishments provided and maintained under the Children Act include children’s homes for initial or temporary care of children under 16 and children’s homes for children who are orphaned or abandoned (art. 100). The Act provides for the Minister to make regulations for “the conduct of residential and other establishments and for securing the welfare of persons residing or accommodated in them, including … (iii) specifying the occasions on which corporal punishment may be given to children in those establishments and the persons who may give it” (art. 107). We do not know if such regulations have been adopted.

The Children (Adoption) Rules and the Children Act (Foster Care) Regulations do not provide for corporal punishment, but they do not explicitly prohibit it.

 

Day care

Corporal punishment is lawful in early childhood care and in day care for older children under the right “to administer proper punishment” in the Children Act 1982 (art. 70). Establishments provided and maintained under the Children Act include day care for children under 4 (art. 100). The Act provides for the Minister to make regulations on corporal punishment (art. 107). We do not know if such regulations have been adopted.

 

Schools

The Government has stated that corporal punishment is prohibited in schools in the Children Act 1982.[4] However, the Act does not explicitly prohibit corporal punishment; rather it provides for the right of teachers “to administer proper punishment” (art. 70). The Education Act 1990 makes no reference to corporal punishment; we do not know if it is addressed in the Education Act 2004.

The Education (Amended) Bill 2015 includes prohibition of corporal punishment: “A teacher or headteacher or a person employed, whether on a part or full time basis, by a school shall not administer corporal punishment as a disciplinary measure.” The Bill had been expected to be enacted in 2015;[5] in reporting to the Universal Periodic Review in 2016, the Government confirmed that the amendment of the Education Act has not yet been achieved but that the revised Act would include prohibition of corporal punishment.[6] We have yet to see the full text of the Bill and to establish whether or not it repeals the right of teachers to “administer proper punishment” in article 70 of the Children Act 1982.

 

Penal institutions

Corporal punishment is lawful as a disciplinary measure in penal institutions under the right “to administer proper punishment” in the Children Act 1982 (art. 70). Establishments provided and maintained under the Children Act include juvenile centres (residential training establishments, attendance centres, residential re-orientation centres and youth residential treatment centres) (art. 100). Article 107 of the Act as amended in 1998 states that the Minister may make regulations for “the conduct of residential and other establishments and for securing the welfare of persons residing or accommodated in them, including … (iii) specifying the occasions on which corporal punishment may be given to children in those establishments and the persons who may give it”. The Children Act (Juvenile Court) Rules do not provide for corporal punishment, but they do not prohibit it. There is no prohibition of corporal punishment in the Prisons Act 1991.

 

Sentence for crime

Corporal punishment is unlawful as a sentence for crime. It is not among the permitted sanctions in the Children Act 1982 (art. 95) or the Penal Code 1955 (art. 25), though it is not explicitly prohibited. The Constitution 1993 prohibits torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (art. 16).

 

Universal Periodic Review of Seychelles’ human rights record

Seychelles was examined in the first cycle of the Universal Periodic Review in 2011 (session 11). In its national report submitted to the review the Government stated that corporal punishment is prohibited in schools under the Children Act 1982.[7] During the review the Government reiterated this assertion and also stated that corporal punishment was explicitly prohibited by the 1993 Constitution.[8] As noted above, research by the Global Initiative finds no explicit prohibition of corporal punishment in the Children Act or the Constitution. The following recommendation was made to the Seychelles:[9]

“Establish a de jure moratorium on the use of corporal punishment (Hungary)”

The Government appears to have accepted the recommendation in its general acceptance of recommendations concerning protection of children.[10]

Examination in the second cycle took place in 2016 (session 24). The following recommendations were made:[11]

“Expressly prohibit the corporal punishment of children in all settings including the home, penal institutions, schools and day care centres and also take steps to explicitly repeal the right ‘to administer proper punishment’ in the Children’s Act (Ghana);

“Ensure the explicit inclusion in the national legislation, of the prohibition of all forms of corporal punishment of minors, whether in the home, child care facilities, schools and education centres in general (Uruguay)”

The Government accepted the recommendations, stating: “The ‘Education Act, 2004’ is being amended to explicitly prohibit corporal punishment in schools. Consideration is also being given to amend the ‘Children Act, 1982’ for this purpose. It is to be noted however that cases of corporal punishment are already being prosecuted under assault provisions of the ‘Penal Code, 1955’.”[12] The Government also stated that the rights of the child is the highest priority in the national agenda and it is in this light that the recommendations on corporal punishment were accepted.[13]


Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations

Session 058 (2011)

(23 January 2012, CRC/C/SYC/CO/2-4, Concluding observations on second to fourth report, paras. 42 and 43)

"The Committee remains concerned that various forms of violence against children occur in the State party. In particular, corporal punishment is allowed under the common law in Seychelles as a right to inflict ‘reasonable chastisement’ on children, thus making it lawful at home, and there is no explicit prohibition of corporal punishment in schools and alternative care institutions. 

"The Committee reiterates its previous concerns and concluding observations (CRC/C/15/Add.189, paras. 32 and 33) and encourages the State Party to take into account its general comments No. 13 (2011) on the right of the child to freedom from all forms of violence, and No. 8 (2006) on the right of the child to protection from corporal punishment and other cruel or degrading forms of punishment, and adopt measures to combat all forms of violence against children. 

The Committee recommends that the State party: 

a) prohibit explicitly by law corporal punishment and so-called “reasonable chastisement” of children in the family, schools, alternative care settings and penal institutions;

b) introduce sustained public education and awareness-raising and social mobilization programmes involving children, families and communities on the harmful effects of corporal punishment with a view to changing attitudes and promoting alternative, positive and non-violent forms of child-rearing and discipline…."

Read more from Session 058 (2011)

Session 031 (2002)

(30 October 2002, CRC/C/15/Add.189, Concluding observations on initial report, paras. 5, 32 and 33)

"The Committee notes the State party’s prohibition of corporal punishment in the home, schools and all other institutions involved in the care or protection of children.

"While noting that the State party has prohibited corporal punishment, the Committee remains concerned that children may still be subject to violence in the home, schools or institutions, and that corporal punishment may be reintroduced in schools.

"The Committee recommends that the State party:

a) carry out public education campaigns about the negative consequences of ill-treatment of children and promote positive, non-violent forms of discipline as an alternative to corporal punishment;

b) provide further training for all professional groups working with or for children, including police and detention officials, on alternative forms of discipline and on how to detect and address signs of ill-treatment in a child-sensitive manner…."

Read more from Session 031 (2002)

Prevalence/attitudinal research for Seychelles in the last 10 years

None identified.

Footnotes

[1] National Council for Children, correspondence with the Global Initiative, 1 September 2015; see also 1 September 2015; see also 16 December 2015, A/HRC/WG.6/24/SYC/1, National report to the UPR, paras. 41 and 158

[2] 8 April 2016, A/HRC/32/13, Report of the working group, paras. 120(42) and 120(43); 9 June 2016, A/HRC/32/13/Add.1, Report of the working group: Addendum

[3] 8 April 2016, A/HRC/32/13, Report of the working group, paras. 29, 64, 82, 108, 120(42) and 120(43)

[4] 2 March 2011, A/HRC/WG.6/11/SYC/1, National report to the UPR, para. 59

[5] National Council for Children, correspondence with the Global Initiative, 1 September 2015; see also 16 December 2015, A/HRC/WG.6/24/SYC/1, National report to the UPR, para. 30; 8 April 2016, A/HRC/32/13, Report of the working group, paras. 29 and 82

[6] 9 June 2016, A/HRC/32/13/Add.1, Report of the working group: Addendum

[7] 2 March 2011, A/HRC/WG.6/11/SYC/1, National report to the UPR, para. 59

[8] 11 July 2011, A/HRC/18/7, Report of the working group, paras. 17 and 65

[9] 11 July 2011, A/HRC/18/7, Report of the working group, para. 100(49)

[10] 18 November 2011, A/HRC/18/2, Report of the Human Rights Council on its eighteenth session, para. 339

[11] 8 April 2016, A/HRC/32/13, Report of the working group, paras. 120(42) and 120(43)

[12] 9 June 2016, A/HRC/32/13/Add.1, Report of the working group: Addendum

[13] 8 April 2016, A/HRC/32/13, Report of the working group, paras. 29, 64, 82, 108, 120(42) and 120(43)

Child population

27,000 (UNICEF, 2015)

National and regional advocacy for law reform

No known campaign for law reform

Forthcoming treaty body examinations and UPRs

Universal Periodic Review (UPR): 2021, session 38, deadline for briefing tbc

Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC): Date of examination tbc, deadline for exam briefing 15 December 2017

Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD): 2018, session 19, deadline for exam briefing 31 January 2018

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