Namibia prohibits corporal punishment in alternative care

The Global Initiative welcomes the entry into force of the Child Care and Protection Act 2015 in January 2019 by notice in the gazette. The Child Care and Protection Act 2015 replaces the Children’s Act No. 33 1960, repealing the statutory right of parents to “punish and to exercise discipline” and prohibiting corporal punishment of children in most settings outside the home.

Article 228(3) of the Act states:

A person may not administer corporal punishment to a child at any residential child care facility, place of care, shelter, early childhood development centre, a school, whether a state or private school or to a child in foster care, prison, police cell or any other form of alternative care resulting from a court order.”

This prohibits corporal punishment in all alternative care settings and in most day care settings, confirming the 1991 Supreme Court ruling which had already prohibited corporal punishment in all state-provided care, in schools and in the penal system. Prohibition in some private day care settings remains to be confirmed. The Act also explicitly confirms the prohibition of judicial corporal punishment (art. 228(2)) and repeals provisions in the Criminal Procedure Act 1977 which allowed for its use.

In regards to the home, we note that article 228(1) of the Act does not go as far as article 228(3) but instead states that parents “must respect the child’s right to dignity conferred by Article 8 of the Namibian Constitution”. Article 8 of the Constitution states that the “dignity of all persons shall be inviolable” and guarantees people’s right to protection from torture and “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”. Article 228(1) protects children from ‘severe’ corporal punishment but it is unclear whether it encompasses all forms of corporal punishment, however light, particularly in contrast to the explicit phrasing used in article 228(3). A clear prohibition of all corporal punishment, including by parents, must be enacted.

The Global Initiative congratulates Namibia for this long-awaited reform and encourages the Government to enact legislation which will send a clear message that all forms of corporal punishment are prohibited in all settings, including for parents.

Further information

  • For more information on the legality of corporal punishment of children in Namibia, see our detailed report.
  • For more information on the 1991 Supreme Court judgment, see our dedicated page
  • For more information on global progress towards universal prohibition and elimination of corporal punishment of children, visit our countdown page.
  • For information on how you can support the campaign to protect all children from corporal punishment, visit our Get involved page.