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School CP - June 1997

Corpun file 0967

Panafrican News Agency, Senegal, 16 June 1997

Uganda Bans Caning On African Children's Day

By Moses Draku, PANA Correspondent

KAMPALA, Uganda (PANA) - Uganda on Monday officially banned the caning of children in schools, the country's state-owned radio reported.

The ban was announced in Kampala on the Day of the African Child, which is observed all over the continent in memory of the South African children who were massacred by policemen of the apartheid regime during the 1976 students' uprising.

With immediate effect, caning of children and all forms of punishment that inflict pain in school children during the learning process is prohibited, said the minister of state for education, in-charge of primary education, Brig. Jim Muhwezi, in a statement read on Radio Uganda.

June 16 was in 1990 designated by the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) as the Day of the African Child to mark the day of the African child. Uganda has commemorated this day since 1991.

The government of Uganda is committed to the promotion of the rights of a child, as a fundamental human rights that must be observed by all citizens, Muhwezi said in the statement, read on his behalf by his Permanent Secretary Ben Otto.

The ban on caning comes as a relief to parents and children in the wake of several cases of torture and maiming of students by their teachers in schools in Uganda.

On the eve of the event, Gender and Community Development minister, Janet Mukwaya, urged Ugandans to re-dedicate themselves to the cause of children who are the hope and future of our country.

We are aware of many armed conflicts our country has gone through which have contributed to an upsurge in the violation of children's basic rights Mukwaya noted in a radio broadcast.

She cited the insurgency in north and western parts of Uganda that have inflicted great suffering to children.

Joseph Kony's rebels have continuously targeted civilians, the majority of whom are helpless children and women. Hundreds of children have been abducted to Sudan and forced to join the rebel ranks. I unreservedly condemn this act of terrorism inflicted upon innocent children, the minister said.

Mukwaya appealed to law enforcement organs and political leaders to ensure that children's rights are respected.

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