Investigating the conflict between child human rights and child disciplinary practices in the family institutions of Lusaka’s Chawama township.

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Muleya, Charles
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The University of Zambia
The focus of this study was to investigate the conflict between child human rights and child disciplinary practices in the family institutions of Lusaka‟s Chawama Township. The study endeavoured to address the following objectives: To verify the presence of the conflict, to describe the actual conflict experienced, to explore effects of the conflict and to suggest possible ways of how the conflict can be resolved. A qualitative case study design was used to gather data for this research. Data was gathered using structured and focused group interviews/discussions. This research study was guided by conflict theory. Research participants included Human Rights Commission of Zambia, Parents/guardians, Children and Police Officers from Victim Support Unit. The following are the main research findings revealed by the study: Beatings versus child protection from physical or emotional abuse, right to quality health care and nurturing versus neglect and abandonment which leads to archaic uncontrolled behaviour, right to shelter versus no or poor shelter, right to education versus no or poor education, right to security and social protection by both parents and state agents versus physical injuries and deformities, child right to participate in community programs for themselves versus denied freedom of community participation and programs for themselves. It was also revealed that, there was misunderstanding and hatred between children and their parents/guardians. The conflict also leads to the fear by parents for prosecution by their own children. It was also revealed that there are poor government policies on both child rights and child disciplinary practices in family institutions. The study concluded that, the most common form of discipline was physical abuse followed by verbal abuse which is an infringement on the part of child rights. Children are used as tools of labour and undergo many abuses as there is no security and social protection, and commitment to fulfil children‟s rights by child rights duty bearers. It was also concluded that, the conflict can be resolved by formulating policies that promote, protect and fulfil child rights. Based on the findings, the study recommends that government should provide clear policies, disciplinary practices and guidelines on how children should be disciplined to harmonise and reduce the conflict between child rights and child disciplinary practices in the family institutions of Chawama Township, in order for the two conflicting institutions to fulfil their obligations.
Child human rights--Zambia.