Guyana’s international commitments require it to abolish corporal punishment in state schools

Dear Editor,

In previous letters to the press on the issue of the abolition of corporal punishment in the school system in Guyana, I had brought to the attention of the public the reality that Guyana together with other Caricom states, has signed without reservation the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which prohibits the infliction of corporal punishment in schools under the control and management of the state. I also brought to the attention of the public that the prohibition in question does not affect the rights of parents and guardians to apply corporal punishment in their homes as a disciplinary measure.

This issue has recently engaged the attention of a committee established by the National Assembly in response to representations made by elements in civil society for the retention of corporal punishment as s disciplinary measure in the school system, even in a restricted manner. I have again taken the opportunity to inform the parliamentary body of the relevance of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and Guyana’s obligations under the Convention.

In a previous letter to the press on the subject I had also raised the issue whether with the developments taking place at the international level concerning human rights and, in particular, corporal punishment as a disciplinary measure, it can be retained – even in the privacy of the home, such punishment being regarded as “cruel and inhuman.”

Yours faithfully,
Brynmor T I  Pollard, SC

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