Last Updated: Thursday, 24 July 2014, 07:02 GMT

Antigua and Barbuda: Domestic child abuse; state protection available to victims (2004-2006)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa
Publication Date 27 November 2006
Citation / Document Symbol ATG102094.E
Reference 7
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Antigua and Barbuda: Domestic child abuse; state protection available to victims (2004-2006), 27 November 2006, ATG102094.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/45f146ecb.html [accessed 24 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Information on domestic child abuse and on state protection available to victims was scarce among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children indicates that in Antigua and Barbuda, "[c]orporal punishment of children is lawful in the home" (2005, 16; see also UN 5 Oct. 2004). At the 37th session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child a representative of Antigua and Barbuda indicated that corporal punishment of children was culturally acceptable (ibid., para. 38). He also noted that the Antigua and Barbuda government "lacked the political will to abolish [this] custom" (ibid.). During the same meeting, another Antigua and Barbuda representative recognized that Antiguan society approved of and practised corporal punishment of children and that "many parents believed it to be an effective means of disciplining their children" (ibid., para 39). As a result, she also admitted, "it would be difficult to change attitudes on the matter" (ibid.). According to this Representative, the question of corporal punishment in the home had been followed by the media and "had been raised [by the government] during national consultation on the Convention [on the Rights of the Child (CRC)" (ibid., para. 43). No further information on the steps taken by the government of Antigua and Barbuda to limit corporal punishment in the home could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

Paragraph 1 of Article 32 of the Antigua and Barbuda Education Act of 1973, which governs the educational requirements of children, forbids "degrading and injurious punishment" (Antigua and Barbuda 4 Apr. 1973). However, according to Paragraphs 2, 3 and 5 of Article 32, the Act allows corporal punishment in schools, stating that

32. (2) Corporal punishment may be administered as a last resort by the Headteacher only or by his deputy, or by a teacher in his presence, under his direction and on his responsibility.

(3) Corporal punishment where necessary should be administered to a girl preferably by a female teacher and in the presence of the Headteacher. Such punishment shall not be administered in public.

....

(5) Such other forms of punishment as may be approved by the Chief Education Officer may be administered as occasion arises. (ibid., 16)

In its concluding observations published on 3 November 2004, the Committee of the Rights of the Child noted that it was "concerned that corporal punishment [was] still widely practised in the family, in schools and other institutions".

In its 2005 report, the Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children indicates that "[c]hildren have limited protection from abuse and neglect under the Childcare and Protection Act (2003, in force 2004)." According to Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2005, the Antiguan government's efforts to protect children's rights in 2005 were insufficient (US 8 Mars 2006, Sec. 5).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Antigua and Barbuda. 4 April 1973. Ministry of Legal Affairs. The Education Act. [Accessed 17 Nov. 2006]

Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children. 2005. Ending Legalised Violence Against Children: Report for Caribbean Regional Consultation. [Accessed 15 Nov. 2006]

United Nations (UN). 3 November 2004. Committee on the Rights of the Child. Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 44 of the Convention: Concluding Observations – Antigua and Barbuda. (CRC/C/15/Add.247) [Accessed 14 Nov. 2006]
_____. 5 October 2004. Committee on the Rights of the Child. Summary Record of the 993rd Meeting: Antigua and Barbuda. (CRC/C/SR.993) [Accessed 15 Nov. 2006]

United States (US). 8 March 2006. Department of State. "Antigua and Barbuda." Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2005. [Accessed 17 Nov. 2006]

Additional Sources Consulted

Internet sites, including: Amnesty International (AI), Caribbean Net News [Cayman Islands], Child Rights Information Network (CRIN), Human Rights Watch (HRW), Freedom House, International Labour Organization (ILO), Representing Children Worldwide (RCW).

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

Search Refworld