Committee on the Rights of the Child: Namibia

Session 061 (2012)

(16 October 2012, CRC/C/NAM/CO/2-3, Concluding observations on second-third report, paras. 18, 19, 38 and 39)

"… The Committee also regrets the lack of information on the cases of violence against children, including corporal punishment….

"The Committee … recommends that the State party collect systematic data on cases of violence against children, in particular sexual violence and corporal punishment, including by requiring all schools, alternative care institutions and state structures to report all instances of violence against children.

"The Committee notes that the Education Act (Act No. 16 of 2001) prohibits corporal punishment in schools, and that the Supreme Court ruling of 1991 ruled that corporal punishment is unlawful in school and as a sentence for crime. However, the Committee is gravely concerned about the information provided by the State party that: 

a) the practice of corporal punishment remains widespread in all settings, including in schools;

b) certain new legislation, such as the Combating of Domestic Violence Act (Act No. 4 of 2003), and laws prohibiting corporal punishment in schools are not fully enforced in practice; 

c) there is an absence of legislation that explicitly prohibits corporal punishment in the home, penal system and alternative care settings. In addition, the Committee deplores the fact that “reasonable chastisement” of a child is a common law defence to the crimes of corporal punishment.

"The Committee strongly calls upon the State party: 

a) to pass, as a matter of priority, the Child Care and Protection Bill with a view to prohibiting corporal punishment under civil and customary law and in all settings, including in the home, in school and in alternative care settings; 

b) to ensure that laws prohibiting corporal punishment are effectively implemented and that legal proceedings are systematically initiated against those responsible for corporal punishment;

c) to immediately repeal all provisions authorising corporal punishment;

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

e) to ensure that all school teachers and personnel complete mandatory trainings on the rights of child and on the harmful effects, both physical and psychological, of corporal punishment and encourage positive behavioural support and alternative forms of discipline."

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