Prohibition of all corporal punishment in Benin (2015)
In January 2015, the National Assembly of Benin passed the Children’s Code 2015 (Loi No. 2015-08 portant code de l’enfant en République du Benin). The law prohibits corporal punishment of children in all settings, including the home, in a number of articles. In Part IV of the Code – “Social Protection of Children” – article 130 states (unofficial translation)
“The State shall ensure that discipline within the family, at school and in other public or private institutions does not involve corporal punishment or any other form of cruel or degrading treatment.”
This protection for children from all corporal punishment is reflected in other parts of the Code addressing specific circumstances – in relation to the responsibilities of parents (Part I, Chapter V, article 39), in relation to the education (Part III, Chapter I, article 119) and in relation to children “in care” (Part IV, Chapter VII, article 220). The texts of the relevant articles are as follows (unofficial translation):
Prior to reform, corporal punishment was unlawful as a sentence for crime but it was not clearly prohibited by law in any other setting. The achievement of law reform brings the number of African states to fully protect children from all corporal punishment to seven.
“Parents or other persons legally responsible for a child will ensure that discipline is enforced in such a way as to ensure that it is treated with humanity and with respect for its human dignity. If necessary, they may punish the child. In no case may the punishment constitute a violation of the child’s physical integrity or torture or inhuman or degrading treatment. Any punishment must be education in intent and accompanied by an explanation.”
“All forms of corporal punishment are prohibited in schools, professional learning centres and childcare facilities.”
“Any form of corporal punishment or other violence to children “in care” is forbidden, on pain of criminal penalty.”