LAHORE   -   The Search For Justice, an NGO working for child protection, has urged the federal and provincial governments to carry out legislation for prohibiting corporal punishment at schools.

Addressing a press conference at Lahore Press Club on Friday, child rights activists also demanded compulsory training of teachers to equip them with skills to maintain discipline in classes. 

Program Coordinator Search For Justice Rashida Qureshi pointed out that children have a right to legal protection from all corporal punishment, in the family home and all other settings of their lives. “This human right is recognized under international treaties, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child where states are legally obliged to enact laws to prohibit corporal punishment and to work to raise awareness and implement these laws”, she said.

Executive Director Search For Justice Iftikhar Mubarik said that Convention on the Rights of the Child bound states to protect children from ‘all forms of physical and mental violence. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has recommended eradication and prohibition all forms of corporal punishment, he said, adding, he Committee also recommended awareness campaigns on the harmful impact of corporal punishment, with a view to changing the prevailing attitude towards this practice and in order to promote positive, non-violent and participatory forms of child-rearing and discipline.

Executive Director Democratic Commission for Human Development Tanveer Jahan highlighted the need for mandatory teachers training on maintaining positive discipline through adopting skills alternative to corporal punishment. She expressed concerns over increasing incidents of violence against children and urged for strategic interventions to reduce the vulnerabilities of children. She also suggested incorporating tolerance, peace and harmony in curriculum to promote the culture of peace.

Psychologist Dr Aliya Aftab said that “hitting children is also a dangerous practice, which can cause physical and psychological injury and even death. Corporal punishment is identified by research as a significant factor in the development of violent attitudes and actions, both in childhood and later life. It inhibits or prevents positive child development and positive forms of discipline. Promoting positive, non-violent forms of discipline empowers parents and reduces family stress”.

Sameer Haider, a 14 years old child human rights defender, condemned the recent incident in which a 16-year-old student Hunain was murdered by his teacher. “It is widely acknowledged now that corporal punishment is a fundamental breach of children’s rights to respect for their human dignity and physical and mental integrity. No one has right to violate a child’s dignity by using corporal punishment, as this is a clear violation of number of child rights recognized by the UN. Corporal Punishment is a big reason for children to drop out from schools, so it must be dealt as challenge to make school a safe place where children can learn without fear,” he said.

Aslam visits victim family

According to APP, Punjab Minister for Information and Culture Mian Aslam Iqbal visited the residence of Hafiz Hunain, who allegedly fell victim of teacher’s torture .

The minister extended condolence and offered fateha. He vowed to bring to book the father of Hunain.

Talking to the media, the minister said CM Buzdar had taken notice of the incident. He said: “I have come here along with the police officers as parents have some reservations about investigations and we have tried to remove their reservations.” The accused were arrested and legal action would be initiated against them, he added.