A 14-year old boy who claimed to have been beaten on his back says he is suffering psychological trauma and his wounds as a result of ‘whip punishment’ introduced in Wagina, Choiseul province.
Kabiri James, whose part Malaita and Gilbertese, claimed to have received a total of 45 whips by men.
“In the first punishment they beat me 20 times for making a lot of noise and 25 whips in the second punishment,” he told the Solomon Star on Monday.
His dad James Kwasina said in the second incident, a police officer handed him to the community for whipping instead of dealing with him under the law.
“I will open up a police case against the beaters for beating my child.
“The community threatened to burn our home in the village if the boy does not return within three months,” he said.
Mr Kwasina said some of the men who were involved in the beating have been identified.
A non-government organisation, Save the Children office in Honiara has condemned the action of the community at Wagina.
Country Director Shiv Nair said physical punishment is not a solution to teach a child in the community.
Nair said there are other solutions to discipline a child where one of them is by engaging a child in community work rather than punishing him/her through whipping.
“It’s a tricky situation where a child does not break the rules on his own but by learning from elders as well.
“Therefore, the community should come up with some measures to discipline a child rather than punishing them with whipping,” he said.
Public solicitor, Douglas Hou was unavailable for comment on Monday.
However the former Public solicitor Ken Averre had condemned this sort of punishment when it was introduced in 2006.
Averre said whipping as a form of punishment was illegal because it was inhumane and degrading.
He said corporal punishment had been abolished a long time ago and no one has the power to punish anyone by whipping them.
Averre said chiefs have powers under the Local Court Act to deal with crimes in their communities, but they don’t have the power to whip anyone.
But John Bakeua, an academic at the then Solomon Islands College of Higher Education (SICHE) who was Gilbertese, disputed Averre’s comments that time, claiming whipping of offenders was only a measure, not an imposed system.
Former Child Protection Manager at Save the Children, Donald Raka said it was time the police should intervene to stop the whipping practices in Wagina.
Raka called on the Sexual Assault Unit to investigate the case and prosecute those involved in whipping of the child.
He also asked the Commissioner of Police to intervene and deal with Police Officers who allowed the community to entertain corporal punishment under their watchful eyes.