PNG Post-Courier

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (Nov. 19, 2010) – Corporal punishment is being re-introduced in Madang town and starting in February, school children found outside of their school grounds will be lashed with cane.

The beatings will be carried out by members of the Madang Urban Youth Council to instill discipline in the children and to send them back to their classrooms.

The Madang Urban Youth Council is initiating the exercise and its interim chairman, Lincoln Ireng advised parents to expect their children to be beaten with canes to "discipline" them when they are found outside their school grounds during school hours. Corporal punishment is one of many initiatives that the Youth Council plans to introduce to clamp down on smoking, consumption of drugs and alcohol and promiscuous activities during or after school hours by students

Mr Ireng was issuing the warning during a police and youth awareness exercise conducted at the Lutheran Day Primary School yesterday

As Ireng is arming his band of former criminals with cane to hunt down the children of Madang to beat them up, he should have made his way to the Madang Teachers College last Thursday to see a show involving children who live in his town.

The children, as young as three year olds were having fun, celebrating International Children’s Day. As part of the celebration, the children talked about their basic rights. We assume that Ireng and his group did not attend that celebration for if they did, they would quickly abandon this initiative of theirs to impose corporal punishment on the children of Madang.

The International Children’s day falls on November 20 every year. This year it falls on a Saturday and children in PNG celebrated this important day yesterday. Like those in Madang, the celebrations highlighted the rights of the children.

The PNG Government signed and rectified the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, but it has yet to enact enabling legislations to make it work for the children of Papua New Guinea.

Children must be protected from abuse at all cost. Beatings, like the one suggested by the Madang Urban Youth Council is nothing but abuse of children. That was the main reason why corporal punishment was outlawed in the 1970’s in schools in PNG. In the developed countries, such punishment would be viewed today with revulsion, for it would be seen as a denial of the children’s basic rights.

Many would view the initiative in Madang as an admission by the Youth Council that the school administrations and the parents had failed or were not doing enough to discipline their children.

We believe that there are non-physical ways to discipline children and keep them off the streets in Madang.

We believe that it is inhumane, illegal and an abuse of the right of the children to subject them to such harsh treatment, just to keep them in school and indoors at home.

And we might add. Who gives this gang of former criminals the right to go around flogging the children; some of them may even have a valid reason to be on the road? Such outdated, punishments is not needed here.

It is sad that the campaign to carry out the flogging is under with the support of the police. The Police are in this because they believe that by keeping the children in schools or indoors, the crime problem would be solved.

Flogging, applying the cane or whatever name you want to give, this is assault and here, the men in blue are already in agreement to commit a crime on the children. All of these people who are conducting this campaign should be stopped immediately or better still, arrested.

We do, however, agree that discipline in schools is a problem. And this is a problem that is not restricted to schools in Madang, it’s a problem that is faced nationwide.


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