Children call for end to corporal punishment – 01 May 2022

ISLAMABAD: A large number of children on Saturday held a press conference at the National Press Club and demanded an end to corporal punishment in society.

The news conference held in connection with the International Day to End Corporal Punishment was organised by the United Global Organisation of Development and the National Action Coordination Group (NACG) in collaboration with Hashoo Foundation, National Commission on the Rights of Children (NCRC) and the Ministry of Human Rights.

Ali Haider, a student of Askariya School, stated: `Children have consistently expressed the urgent need to stop all types of violence. Children testify to the hurt not only physi-cal but the hurt inside which this violence causes them, compounded by adult acceptance, even approval of it.

He said some people argue that `it was okay to give a child a slap or one or two canes when they misbehave. But it is not ok just like it is not ok to do that to an adult.

Syed Abdul Ahad Gilani from Future World School said corporal punishment remains the most common form of violence against children.

`Worldwide, around four in five of all children aged 2-14 years are subjected to it in their home every year.

Research has found strong evidence connecting violent punishment with multiple harmful impacts for the child and society, including significant economic costs, he said.

Hania Shafique (Froebel`s International School) said globally only14pc of children are fully protected by law from corporal punishment. Its widespread social acceptance means that a degree of violence in childrearing is normalised, entrenching children`s low status in society and opening the door to other forms of violence and mistreatment.

As the smallest and most vulnerable members of society, children deserve more, not less, protection from assault.

Tajdar Hashmi (child member of NCRC) said prohibition is still to be achieved in the home, alternative care settings, daycare, some schools, penal institutions and as a sentence for crime.

Prohibition has been achieved in all settings in Gilgit-Baltistan.

Faryal Javed (child member of NCRC) said the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) had directed heads of all insti-tutions to be vigilant against corporal punishment as a stringent law in this regard had been passed by parliament and come into force in the capital. Under the new law, teachers found involved in corporal punishment could face compulsory retirement and dismissal from service.

It may be noted that Pakistan has ratified United Nations Convention on Rights of Child (1989) and in accordance with its Article 19, the governmenthas committed to taking all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligence treatment, maltreatment or exploitation.

Mehwish Kayani (national coordinator NACG) said corporal punishment was intended to cause physical pain to a person. It is often practiced on minors especially in home and school settings.

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