Committee: United Nations Human Rights Council
Topic: Corporal Punishment in Schools (Topic A)
Country: The Republic of Guatemala
School: Mentor College (Mississauga, Ontario, Canada)
The United Nations has shown the need to eliminate to the use of corporal punishment. In 1959 to emphasize the importance of this issue, the UN general assembly created the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. This solidified the desire of the United Nations to attempt to spread human rights declarations to countries around the globe banning the use of corporal punishment explicitly. Unfortunately, even with various declarations by the United Nations since 1959, much of the world has not made amendments to their laws in regards to this issue.
In the world, corporal punishment of children within school is most common in developing countries, or other areas where there is a low teacher to student ratio and resources are scarce. Popular opinion in Guatemala states that corporal punishment is widely recognized as an acceptable and obligatory way to discipline children. With regard to the specific aspect of corporal punishment in educational institutions, the outcome on the victims is evident. These victims face the repercussions of emotional and physical abuse. These Children that have been harmed within their educational setting are much more likely to leave their education and feel aggrieved towards the organized education system according to studies completed concerning developing countries. It is imperative that the international community finds more effective resolutions to rectify the situation to ensure the safety of children in the global community.
The Republic of Guatemala has had a long-term struggle with corporal punishment in educational settings. Currently, in Guatemala it is legal for parents, school, and government. Over half of Guatemala’s population resides below the poverty line, therefore large families encourage their children to support their family through various meager, menial jobs. Guatemala has approximately 7,000,000 children, however most do not complete their education. Most schools in Guatemala do not have adequate funding, lack in sanitation, water, teaching materials, and teaching staff. These fundamental problems have made it much harder to control the use of corporal punishment in schools because no viable alternative has been found for Guatemalans.
Reform has begun in the Republic of Guatemala. However there is a difficult journey ahead. Guatemala currently has the leading number of child homicides in Latin America, directly linked to child abuse. In Guatemalan schools currently no other effective disciplinary tool is being used in attempt to restrain the violent behavior directed at children. Guatemala has added the Convention on the Rights of the Child into domestic law to protect children and adolescents. Another mechanism in the process of initiating is the use of national policies as plans of action. Guatemala is currently investigating a national policy that devotes itself to the education of human rights, as well as the national policy for the prevention of youth violence. Currently, the top priority for the Guatemalan government in consideration of human rights is functioning to create a legal infrastructure to protect the vulnerable areas of the population, specifically children and violence against them.
Guatemala’s eagerness to accept responsibility in regards to corporal punishment in an education setting in the form of recommendations. Recommendation #13 was accepted which, created by Switzerland states “Commit to improving the situation of indigenous children, in particular as concerns ill-treatment, trafficking, child labour, illegal adoptions and difficulty in accessing schools and health-care services.” Also, recommendation #17 posed by Austria, states “Prohibit explicitly corporal punishment…