With the adoption of the Children (Amendment) Act 2020 on 12 May 2020, Seychelles has achieved prohibition of all corporal punishment of children. The Act amends the Children Act 1982 to insert a new section 70B:
(1) Notwithstanding any other law, no child shall be subjected to corporal punishment.
(2) Any person who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of SCR25,000 or to imprisonment for not more than 2 years, or to both a fine and imprisonment, provided that the Court shall first consider other appropriate means of disposing of the matter, taking into consideration the relationship between the offender and the child.”
The Children (Amendment) Act 2020 also repeals section 70(7) of the same Act, which recognised a right to parents and others to administer ‘proper’ punishment. The 2020 Act further states in its introduction that, in addition to repealing the statutory defence, it aims to abolish “any other defence with respect to assault against a child available to parents and persons acting in loco parentis” – leading to children having “the same legal protection from assault as adults”. The Children (Amendment) Act 2020 was assented by the President on 19 May 2020 and is now in force.
The Global Initiative welcomes this reform, which is the culmination of years of campaigning from civil society as well as an ongoing commitment of the Government of Seychelles. Throughout the past years, we have closely worked with and supported the Government and civil society of Seychelles in their efforts to achieve prohibition of corporal punishment of children. We now call on the Government to mobilise adequate resources and take educational and other measures - in partnership with civil society – in order to properly implement the ban and eliminate all corporal punishment of children in Seychelles.
With these amendments, Seychelles becomes the 60th state worldwide, and the ninth African state, to realise children’s right to protection from all corporal punishment. The world has seen tremendous progress towards universal prohibition and elimination of corporal punishment in the Global Initiative’s near 20 years of operation, to which we have been proud to contribute. Much work is still to be done.