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Friday, March 03, 2017

Zimbabwe's High Court bans corporal punishment for children

A High court in Zimbabwe has outlawed corporal punishment for children both at home and in school. Although a constitutional court will have to confirm the judgement, the ruling states that Parents and teachers are not allowed to lay their hands on children even if they misbehave.

The ruling comes after a parent, Linah Pfungwa, complained that her child in grade one had deep bruises after a teacher beat her. Linah said her daughter had been punished for failing to have her reading book signed by guardians as proof she had done her homework.

Ms Pfungwa, who filed her application with support from the Justice for Children's Trust, said her child was assaulted with a rubber pipe. In her application, she said that children should not be subjected to any form of violence and such corporal punishment breached their rights. 

"My child suffered major bruises and I took photographs and pictures... She had deep bruises on her back and she could hardly sleep properly. I posted the pictures of my daughter on our WhatsApp group for other parents to observe and it turned out that other children had also been assaulted. If my child misbehaves, I ground her by denying her access to television as well as denying her pocket money or other goodies like sweets and presents," she said.

"If she does well, I reward her by presents or extra hours of watching television. My child is well-behaved and well-brought up simply as a result of the dialogue that I use as a means of discipline," Linah added.

Justice David Mangota agreed that corporal punishment for children was unconstitutional and parents and teachers should not lay their hands on children even if they misbehave. Some parents are criticising the ruling, while rights groups says it is long overdue.

Source: BBC Africa

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