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Rwanda Police warns over corporal punishment in schools

Commissioner of Police (CP) John Bosco Kabera, Rwanda National Police (RNP) spokesperson.

Kigali, Rwanda | THE INDEPENDENT | Rwanda Police has cautioned teachers against administering corporal punishments to students in form of disciplining, saying that such acts amounts to “criminal actions.”

The warning follows separate cases where teachers have been arrested for severely beating and injuring pupils.

Among those arrested is a teacher at Groupe Scolaire Murira in Muganza Sector, Rusizi District, identified as Jean Baptiste Misago, who severely beat one of his students, breaking his arm.

Two other teachers of Ecole Primaire Catholique Cyuga in Jali Sector, Gasabo District were arrested last week for seriously assaulting and battering two pupils.

Rwanda National Police (RNP) spokesperson, Commissioner of Police (CP) John Bosco Kabera said: “Disciplining doesn’t mean to injure a child; it means guiding them on how to do the right thing… to differentiate right from wrong.”

“Corporal punishment is a crime and anyone who administers it on a child or a person unable to defend themselves, be it a teacher of parent, will face the law,” CP Kabera warned.

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.

What the law says
In Rwanda, corporal punishment amounts to assault or battery as stipulated under article 121 of the penal code.

It states that any person, who willfully injures, beats or commits any serious violence against another person, commits an offence.

If the offence is committed against a child or a person unable to protect himself or herself because of their physical or mental state, the offender is liable to imprisonment for a term of between five and eight years and a fine of between Rwf1 million and Rwf2 million.

If assault or battery has caused illness, permanent or non-permanent incapacity to work, or full loss of function of an organ or serious mutilation, the penalty increases to between 10 and 15 years, and a fine of between Rwf3 million and Rwf5 million.



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