Committee on the Rights of the Child: Zimbabwe

Session 071 (2016)

(29 January 2016, CRC/C/ZWE/CO/2, Concluding observations on second report, paras. 7, 42, 43, 76 and 77)

“The Committee recommends that the State party take all measures necessary to address its previous recommendations of 1996 (CRC/C/15/Add.55) which have not been sufficiently implemented and, in particular, those relating to reviewing the national legal framework (para. 22), combatting social attitudes and cultural and religious practices hampering the realization of children’s rights (para. 26), forbidding the use of corporal punishment (para. 31), and raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility (para. 33).

“The Committee welcomes the Constitutional guarantee of freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. However it remains deeply concerned (CRC/C/15/Add.55, para. 18) that corporal punishment remains legal and widely practised in the family, in schools and in other settings. The Committee notes with serious concern legislative provisions and Government policy allowing the administration of ‘reasonable’ or ‘moderate’ corporal punishment.

“With reference to its General comment No. 8 (2006) on corporal punishment, the Committee reiterates its previous recommendation (CRC/C/15/Add.55, para. 31) and urges the State party to:

a) repeal or amend, as needed, all legislation and administrative regulations in order to explicitly prohibit corporal punishment in all settings as a correctional or disciplinary measure;

b) sensitize and educate parents, guardians and professionals working with and for children, particularly teachers, on the harmful effects of corporal punishment and the need to end the culture of silence on cases of violence against children;

c) promote positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing and discipline in all settings, including through providing teachers and parents with training on alternative discipline measures.

“The Committee … remains concerned (CRC/C/15/Add.55, para. 21) about the:…

c) recourse to whipping as a disciplinary measure for boys;

“In the 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. The Committee reiterates its previous recommendation (CRC/C/15/Add.55, para. 33) and urges the State party to: …

c) adopt a comprehensive policy for juvenile justice based on restorative practices and guided by the right of the child to have his or her best interests taken as a primary consideration….”

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Session 012 (1996)

(7 June 1996, CRC/C/15/Add.55, Concluding observations on initial report, paras. 16, 18, 21, 31 and 33)

"The Committee further notes that insufficient attention has been paid to the principle of the best interests of the child both in legislation and practice, as well as to the respect for the views of the child in school, social and family life. In this regard, it is noted that, as recognized by the State party, the civil rights and freedoms of the child are to be exercised subject to parental consent or discipline, thus raising doubts as to the compatibility of this practice with the Convention, notably articles 5 and 12.

"The Committee expresses its concern at the acceptance in the legislation of the use of corporal punishment in school, as well as within the family. It stresses the incompatibility of corporal punishment, as well as any other form of violence, injury, neglect, abuse or degrading treatment, with the provisions of the Convention, in particular articles 19, 28 paragraph 2 and 37.

"The Committee is concerned at the present system of juvenile justice, including the lack of a clear prohibition of capital punishment, life imprisonment without possibility of release and indeterminate sentencing, as well as at the recourse to whipping as a disciplinary measure for boys.

"The Committee recommends that the State party adopt appropriate legislative measures to forbid the use of any form of corporal punishment within the family and in school.

"In the field of juvenile justice, the Committee recommends that the State party raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility and incorporate in the legislation a clear prohibition of capital punishment, life imprisonment without possibility of release and indeterminate sentencing as well as of the use of whipping as a disciplinary measure."

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