Swaziland has been told it should stop using corporal punishment in schools, because it violates the rights of children.
But the practice of whippings and floggings is so ingrained in Swazi schools that the top teachers’ union official said he was surprised that inflicting corporal punishment was against a child’s rights.
The United Nations Human Rights Periodic Review held in Geneva last week received a report jointly written by Save The Children and other groups that corporal punishment in Swazi schools was out of control. The report highlighted Mhlatane High School in northern Swaziland where it said pupils were ‘tortured’ in the name of punishment.
The report stated, ‘Students at this school are also subjected to all forms of inhumane treatment in the name of punishment. The State has known about the torture of students that go on at Mhlatane High School for a long time, but has not done anything to address this violation of fundamental rights.’
But Mhlatane is not the only school in Swaziland to use excessive corporal punishment. There have been numerous cases of children beaten so fiercely that they have needed hospital treatment.
According to a report in the Times of Swaziland today
(11 October 2011), countries which participated in the Human Rights Periodic Review supported the United States of America’s call for Swaziland to abolish corporal punishment.
The Times reported, ‘Not only did these countries raise concerns against corporal punishment in the country but they also came down hard on the country’s slow progress on children’s rights. The countries are said to have felt that corporal punishment is practised far too much in the country and that it directly infringes on children’s rights, hence the call for its abolishing.’
The Times also quoted Sibongile Mazibuko, President of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT), saying as teachers they had been underestimating the impact corporal punishment has on children rights.
‘It came as a surprise what impact corporal punishment has in terms of violating children’s rights. In fact, we were not aware we are violating children’s rights. The submissions by the countries and the criticism received by the country during the meeting was an eye-opener that corporal punishment should be abolished,’ the Times quotes Mazibuko saying.
SWAZI SCHOOL ‘TORTURES’ STUDENTS
CHILDREN CHAINED AND FLOGGED BARE
PROBE VICIOUS SCHOOL BEATINGS
SCHOOL FLOGGINGS OUT OF CONTROL
SCHOOL HEAD PUBLICLY FLOGS ADULTS