With the publication of the new Children’s Code in June 2020, Guinea has clearly and explicitly prohibited all corporal punishment of children. The Children’s Code 2019 was adopted by the National Assembly in December 2019 and promulgated by the President in March 2020. The Code came into force when it was gazetted in June 2020.
Article 767 of the Children’s Code 2019 states (unofficial translation): “All forms of corporal, physical or verbal punishment, cruel, inhuman, degrading or humiliating treatment of children are explicitly prohibited, whether they take place in the family, educational, professional, administrative, judicial or other setting. The child has the right to benefit from health care, safety and a good education. He/she must be treated with respect for his/her person and individuality and cannot be subjected to corporal punishment or other humiliating punishment. Corporal or physical punishment means any physical punishment inflicted on a child by means of beatings or injuries, mutilation, confinement, or other violent, humiliating or degrading means. Corporal or physical punishment also constitutes any act involving the use of physical force in childrearing and intended to cause some degree of pain or discomfort, however light, with a view to correct, control or modify children's behaviour”
Article 768 states that corporal punishment can never be justified as “reasonable”. It requires anyone with knowledge of such an offense to immediately inform the administrative or judicial authorities. Article 769 of the Children’s Code explicitly prohibits corporal punishment in schools and penal institutions, as follows (unofficial translation): “It is forbidden for any person, in particular school staff members, professionals, learning centres, administrative and judicial institutions, to use any form of insults or corporal punishment on a child, or else they will be liable to criminal sanctions”. The Code includes a list of alternative educational disciplinary measures.
The enactment of the Children’s Code 2019 is the culmination of years of campaigning from civil society organisations, especially the Coalition des ONG de Protection et de Promotion des Droits de l’ Enfant (COLTE/CDE), as well as an ongoing commitment by the Government of Guinea. The Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children, which is now part of the End Violence Partnership, worked closely with civil society partners in Guinea to achieve the full prohibition of corporal punishment of children.
The End Violence Partnership congratulates the Government of Guinea on this significant achievement for children, and looks forward to supporting the ongoing work to effectively implement the law and realise our vision to eliminate all violent punishment of children in Guinea.
With this new Code, Guinea becomes the 61st state worldwide, and the tenth African state, to realise children’s right to protection from all corporal punishment. A total of 138 states worldwide are yet to achieve this crucial step for children. Prohibition in Guinea brings the global child population protected by law from corporal punishment to 13%. Huge numbers of children around the world are still waiting for the realisation of their basic human right to protection from violent punishment, and we call on all remaining governments to enact prohibition without delay.
Find out more about global progress towards universal prohibition of corporal punishment here.
Lire cet article en français ici.