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Judicial CP - June 2006

Corpun file 18345

People First, Honiara, 15 June 2006

Elders of Wagina agree to stop corporal punishment

Elders and church leaders of the three communities on Wagina island in Choiseul Province have finally agreed to stop whipping as a form of punishment for people who break village rules.

The agreement was reached yesterday at a meeting between the elders and members of a high level delegation from the Ministry of Police & Justice led by Sir Baddley Devesi.

Members of the delegation included the Commissioner of Police, Shane Castles, Deputy Commissioner Operations, Johnson Siapu, Ken Averre from the Public Solicitor's Office and other officials.

During the meeting attended by about a thousand people, Commissioner Castles and Mr. Averre strongly sounded out that it is illegal to whip people who break rules set up by any community in Solomon Islands.

Both the Commissioner and Mr Averre pointed out that this practice must be stopped immediately because it is against the national constitution and international law the world over [**] to continue such practice, to inflict harm to a person by whipping him or her.

Both men stressed that although it is still a traditional practice by some in Solomon Islands, the law must always prevail over custom and traditional practices which are not good for everyone.

At the meeting, the elders agreed to suggestions by some leaders that instead of whipping offenders, they will in turn carry out community work such as cleaning public roads and around public buildings under the supervision of public officers.

Another item agreed on was the idea to re-establish the local courts in each community to hear and deliberate on minor cases, while those who committed offences prescribed under the common law will have to be dealt with accordingly through the proper channel.

** blob NOTE BY C.F.: This is completely untrue. It is against Solomon Islands law but not international law. There is nothing in international law that specifically outlaws corporal punishment.

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