NGO: Corporal Punishment of Students in Pakistan Must End

26/06/2012 - The Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) has demanded legislation against corporal punishment of students in Pakistan.

SPARC is claiming that corporal punishment by teachers of both government and private schools in Pakistan has become so severe that it is forcing children to commit suicide. During a press conference calling for legislation against corporate punishment, the Programme Manager for SPARC Peshawar, Imran Takkar, stated that currently “There is ambiguity in Child Protection Welfare Act 2010 with respect to corporal punishment.”

According to SPARC, some children have resorted to drastic measures due to corporal punishment or fear of punishment in different districts of Pashawar province. They also stated that corporal punishment also was seen to contribute to child labour and streets crime since some children would end up dropping out of school for fear of punishment by their teachers.

Mr. Takkar claimed that the provincial government did prohibit corporal punishment at both government and private schools, but the practice continued unchecked.

The Child Protection Act of 2012 was only effective when it came to enacting punishments on teachers involved in the practice, but was not effective in monitoring for cases.

According to Mr. Takkar, 70 cases of corporal punishment were reported to the government from across the province during 2011-12.

The Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children claims that corporal punishment of children breaches their fundamental human rights to respect for human dignity and physical integrity. Its legality in almost every state worldwide - in contrast to other forms of inter-personal violence - challenges the universal right to equal protection under the law.

According to the United Nations, hitting people violates their fundamental rights to respect for their physical integrity and human dignity, as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Children are people too and equal holders of human rights.

Beyond affecting the rights that all children hold to bodily integrity, corporal punishment may also effect long term child development. Corporal punishment has been found to be consistently related to poor mental health; including depression, unhappiness, anxiety, and feelings of hopelessness in children and youth.

Corporal punishment is a risk factor for relationship problems, including impairment of parent-child relationships, increased levels of aggression and anti-social behaviour in children, raised thresholds for defining an act as violent, and perpetration of violence as an adult, including abuse of one’s family members.