23 Jul 2018

Don't pick on Samoa - Tuilaepa to child rights experts

2:30 pm on 23 July 2018

Samoa's prime minister says the UN committee on child's rights shouldn't pick on Samoa but instead look at New Zealand.

Earlier this month a Samoan member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Supreme Court Justice Vui Clarence Nelson, said a law allowing teachers to physically discipline students took Samoa backwards.

"This law is a retrograde step. We're going backward. We were heading forward but now we're going back and this law allows teachers to physically discipline their students in a reasonable manner based on their judgment," Justice Vui said.

In his weekly radio interview Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said the amendments introduced to parliament last month allowing the use of "reasonable force" in schools was in response to public requests.

Tuilaepa also confirmed receiving a letter from Justice Vui on the issue.

He said he had forwarded the letter to the Ministry of Education and called on Justice Vui to ask the committee why they were picking on Samoa.

The prime minister asked Justice Vui to convey that the same things occurred in other countries like New Zealand.

He suggested Justice Vui, a matai from Lano, Savai'i, should address the matter as a high-chief, countering the issue with the appropriate language to settle the matter.