Parents warned over corporal punishment

On 3 July 2020 at 08:01

Police have cautioned parents and guardians against administering corporal punishments to children in form of disciplining, which amounts to criminal actions.

The warning comes after a couple was arrested on Tuesday, June 30, in Nyabihu District for allegedly burning their 10-year old son’s hand.

The incident took place on June in Kabatwa Sector when the couple subjected their son to severe punishment accusing him of stealing money amounting Rwf1, 000.
Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Bonaventure Twizere Karekezi, the Police spokesperson for the Western region, identified the couple as Emmanuel Hitimana and his wife Liliane Mukandutiye.

"Mukandutiye couldn’t find the money where she had put it, she accused the son for stealing it and buying donuts.

Together with her husband Hitimana, they restrained their son and placed his hand in fire as punishment," CIP Karekezi explained.

The child, who was in much pain, shouted over his voice for help, which caught the attention of the neighbouring residents.

"Residents informed local authorities, who in turn called the Police. The victim was taken to the hospital while the suspects were handed over to RIB at Kabatwa station," he added.

The spokesperson warned that disciplining doesn’t mean torture and injuring a child.
"Guiding a minor doesn’t mean burning them or subjecting them to such inhuman punishment."

What is corporal punishment?

Corporal or physical punishment is an act of causing physical pain on a person with intent of disciplining him or her. It is most often practised on minors, especially in home and school settings.

Article 28 of Law No.71/2018 of 31/08/2018 relating to protection of the child, states:

"Without prejudice to heavier penalties provided by other laws, a person who harasses a child or imposes severe or degrading punishments including corporal sanctions, commits an offence.

Upon conviction, the offender is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than two years but not more than three years with a fine of between Rwf200,000 and Rwf300,000.

If the offence results in the child’s disability, the imprisonment increases to between seven and ten years, and a fine of Rwf1 million to Rwf2 million."