Committee on the Rights of the Child: Benin

Session 071 (2016)

(29 January 2016, CRC/C/BEN/CO/3-5 Advance Unedited Version, Concluding observations on third-fifth state party report, paras. 34, 35, 60, 61, 68 and 69)

“While the Penal Code and the Children’s Act prohibit corporal punishment, the Committee is concerned that corporal punishment continues to be considered an acceptable way of disciplining children.  It is further concerned that few students, teachers and other staff members have knowledge of the legal ban on corporal punishment, legislation on sexual harassment, and have access to information on respect for children’s rights.

“In the light of its general comment No. 8 (2006) on corporal punishment, the Committee urges the State Party to implement both the Penal Code and the Children’s Act as a matter of priority.  The Committee further recommends that the State Party ensure a large dissemination of the legislation prohibiting corporal punishment, especially in public and private schools and vocational training structures, and also ensure that an educational program be developed against corporal punishment, and for the promotion within the society, of positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing and discipline.

“While commending the State party's efforts in education, in particular in terms of numbers of children attending school, the Committee is concerned at the insufficient budget allocations for primary and secondary education. It is concerned at the high illiteracy rate in the State Party, the large number of dropouts, in particular among girls, the low transition rate to secondary education, and at problems of violence and sexual harassment in schools.... 

“The Committee recommends that the State Party, in the light of its general comment No. 1 (2001) on the aims of education: ...

c) take preventive measures against corporal punishment, violence and sexual harassment in schools....

“While noting with satisfaction the provisions of the Children's Act to restrict the periods of retention at the police station and the duration of pre-trial detention, and the two pilot child friendly courts established in the jurisdictions of Abomey-Calavi and Abomey, the Committee is concerned about inhumane and degrading detention conditions for juveniles, especially in the Abomey-Calavi prison, and at a number of practices contradicting the Convention, including:  children without a lawyer undergoing long periods of preventive detention;  no separation of children from adults in detention; long periods of confinement, especially at night, in cells that are often overcrowded;  in some cases more than 12 hours of incarceration;  use of physical and psychological violence, including the use of force, threats and corporal punishment, especially at the time of arrest;  and use of containment cells....

“In 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. In particular, the Committee urges the State party: ...

c) Investigate all allegations of torture or ill-treatment, prosecute and punish law enforcement officers responsible for such abuses against children deprived of liberty....”

Read more from Session 071 (2016)

Session 043 (2006)

(20 October 2006, CRC/C/BEN/CO/2, Concluding observations on second report, paras. 9, 39, 40, 41 and 62)

"The Committee welcomes the measures taken to strengthen the legal framework on the rights of the child and to bring the national legislation into conformity with the Convention, notably the Persons and Family Code and the draft Children’s Code. However, the Committee notes that the national legislation in some areas, inter alia corporal punishment, has still not been brought into full conformity with the Convention.

"The Committee notes with particular concern that corporal punishment is lawful in the home and institutions. Although measures are being taken to address this issue in the context of disciplinary measures in schools, the Committee is concerned that corporal punishment in schools is not prohibited by law and that corporal punishment is widespread throughout society as a method of discipline, due to the generally tolerant attitude towards this practice.

"The Committee recommends that the State party:

a) explicitly prohibit corporal punishment by law in the family, schools and institutions and implement existing prohibitions;

b) conduct a comprehensive study to assess the causes, nature and extent of corporal punishment as well as an evaluation of the impact of measures undertaken so far by the State party to reduce and eliminate corporal punishment;

c) introduce public education, awareness-raising and social mobilization campaigns on the harmful effects of corporal punishment with a view to changing the general attitude towards this practice and promote positive, non-violent, participatory forms of child-rearing and education;

d) ensure that an educational programme be undertaken against corporal punishment, insisting both on the child rights and psychological aspects; and

e) ensure recovery and social reintegration of victims of corporal punishment.

"The Committee draws the attention of the State party to the Committee’s general comment No. 8 (2006) on the right of the child to protection from corporal punishment and other cruel or degrading forms of punishment (CRC/C/GC/8).

"In light of articles 28 and 29 of the Convention and taking into account the Committee general comment No. 1 (2001) on the aims of education, the Committee recommends that the State party continue to allocate adequate financial, human and technical resources in order to: 

c) take actions to prevent corporal punishment, sexual violence and harassment in schools."

Read more from Session 043 (2006)

Session 021 (1999)

(12 August 1999, CRC/C/15/Add.106, Concluding observations on initial report, para. 19)

"While the Committee is aware that corporal punishment is prohibited by law in schools, it remains concerned that traditional societal attitudes continue to encourage the use of such punishment within the family, schools, the care and juvenile justice systems and generally within society. The Committee recommends that the State party reinforce measures to raise awareness of the negative effects of corporal punishment and ensure that discipline in families, schools and all institutions is administered in a manner consistent with the child’s dignity and in conformity with the Convention."

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