Parliament. Any parent, guardian or any other person who subjects a child to corporal punishments or any reprimand in which physical force is used and intended to cause some degree of pain or discomfort, faces imprisonment for one year under a new proposed law.
MPs yesterday began considering the new piece of legislation which prescribes alternative punishment of either a fine of about Shs500,000 or both the fine and imprisonment.
The Children (Amendments) Bill, 2015, was tabled by Gender minister Mary Karooro Okurut.
It seeks to enhance the protection of children, provide for their guardianship, inter-country adoption, prohibit corporal punishment and other related matters.
“The purpose of the proposed law is to align the provisions of the Children Act Cap 59 with the already existing laws that relate to the care and protection of children, provide for fair trial of child offenders, enhance the rights and safety of children and regulation adoption and guardianship of children,” Ms Karooro said.
The minister said the current law does not support the attainment of the overall objective of the State to protect and promote the rights of children as undertaken under various treaties and conventions.
“Children are still being subjected to all forms of exploitation, including, but not limited to, corporal punishment, child labour and neglect. The current law does not explicitly provide for guardianship, more so inter-country guardianship orders have been abused by several applicants,” Ms Karooro said.
The minister also tabled another Bill titled: Toxic Chemicals Prohibition Control Bill, 2015 targeting this crime. The Bill also seeks to stop the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons in the country.
What is corporal punishment
Corporal punishment is a form of physical punishment that involves the deliberate infliction of pain as retribution for an offence, or for the purpose of disciplining or reforming a wrongdoer, or to deter attitudes or behaviour deemed unacceptable. The term usually refers to methodically striking the offender with the open hand or with an implement, whether in judicial, domestic, or educational settings.