By BBN Staff: The Special Envoy for Women and Children (SEWC), Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow, issued a statement today condemning the use of corporal punishment as a means of disciplining children.
Taking to social media, Barrow noted that Belize was the fifth country in the world to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child which requires the country to take steps to ensure that children are proctected from all forms of physical violence, injury, or abuse, including the practice of corporal punishment.
Barrow notes that the Committee on the Rights of the Child and Human Rights Committee has repeatedly recommended that Belize amend Section 27 of the Criminal Code which makes provision for parents to use force to discipline their children.
“With the ongoing stresses in our households, due to COVID-19, we must ensure that our most vulnerable are protected and not encourage practices that could harm children’s physical and mental well-being. We encourage parents and caregivers to use positive discipline methods that teach children appropriate behaviors through respectful and non-violent practices such as correcting misbehavior, rewarding correct behavior, and consequences,” the SEWC said.
While Barrow’s statement did not target a specific event, it notably follows statements made by Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte and Commissioner of Police Chester Williams yesterday, who both endorsed corporal punishment as a means of discipline.
Peyrefitte stressed that all citizens have a role to play in the fight against crime and violence and that parents have a special obligation to ensure that their children are raised properly. In that light, he views it an obligation for parent to discipline their children, even if that discipline needs to be in form of corporal punishment. Williams agreed, noting that the force used must be reasonable and not cause harm or injury to the child.