A reader of my blog asked for our help. Please consider signing and sharing the petition initiated by Charmaine MacDonald:
“Let the mothers consider that whatever concerneth the education of children is of the first importance. Let them put forth every effort in this regard, for when the bough is green and tender it will grow in whatever way ye train it. Therefore is it incumbent upon the mothers to rear their little ones even as a gardener tendeth his young plants. Let them strive by day and by night to establish within their children faith and certitude, the fear of God, the love of the Beloved of the worlds, and all good qualities and traits. Whensoever a mother seeth that her child hath done well, let her praise and applaud him and cheer his heart; and if the slightest undesirable trait should manifest itself, let her counsel the child and punish him, and use means based on reason, even a slight verbal chastisement should this be necessary. It is not, however, permissible to strike a child, or vilify him, for the child’s character will be totally perverted if he be subjected to blows or verbal abuse……” Bahá’í Writings
According to a report by the Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children, “Morocco is committed to reforming its laws to prohibit corporal punishment in all settings.” Unfortunately Morocco faces many of the same challenges as the USA enacting laws to protect children. Corporal punishment isn’t allowed in prisons nor can it be used as punishment for a crime yet corporal punishment of children is allowed. It is lawful in the home. There is no explicit prohibition of corporal punishment in early childhood care, day care for older children, schools, nor for abandoned children or children in foster care for abandoned children. Just like in the United States people convicted of crimes are treated more humanely than children.
In a study by the National Human Rights Council punishment of Moroccan children in protection centres (which are responsible for children without parental care or children in legal trouble) included hitting children with pipes and sticks and slapping them. (Conseil national des droits des homes (2013), Enfants dans les centres de sauvegarde: une enfance en danger – pour une politique de protection intégrée de l’enfant, Rabat: CNDH)
UNICEF reported 91% of Moroccan children aged 2-14 experienced violent “discipline” and nearly 24% of children experienced severe physical punishment, 89% experienced psychological aggression (being shouted at, yelled at, screamed at or insulted. (UNICEF (2008), Enquête Nationale à Indicateurs Multiples et Santé des Jeunes, ENIMSJ 2006-2007, Rabat, Maroc: UNICEF)
While in Morocco a travel blogger observed “I’ve noticed that kids here, well at least the ones around us, physically fight a lot. They think nothing of slapping each other on the back of the neck or head, especially when they are upset or angry. Parents more or less stay out of it, until it escalates. Then the parents will physically punish the child. Maybe with a shoe or with their hand.” Visit Amanda’s blog MarocMama for her full article Raising Global Kids: Cultural Norms and Discipline of Children