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Call to end violence against children

ISLAMABAD, Oct 18: The ever-increasing number of various kinds of violence warrants for the attention of the government to eliminate the menace from the country.

The children are subjected to abuses like molestation, corporal punishment both at home, schools, work places and verbal, emotional and physical violence, said a press release issued by the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (Sparc) here on Saturday.

The Spark in collaboration with the Save the Children (Sweden) and other partners is observing a week- long campaign against ‘Stop violence against children’ as part of the worldwide drive with an objective of creating awareness among the masses on the extent of violence being faced by the children.

The Worldwide Day of action against violence comes as governments meet at the UN to decide whether to take historic action to end violence against children. Last year, children in over 60 countries around the world staged events to protest against all forms of violence suffered by children, including physical and humiliating punishment, sexual abuse and exploitation, early marriage, neglect and torture.

The children of Pakistan are uniting with children worldwide to call upon their government to end violence against children on priority basis and ban corporal punishment in all schools, homes and institutions.

A petition has also been widely distributed among children and concerned adults to demand approval of the draft of the national child protection bill and send a clear message to the government that children want an end to the violence against them.

“Corporal punishment is a common and accepted form of violence in schools, homes, work places and even on the streets. The adult considers it his/her right to verbally, emotionally or physically abuse without realising that violence begets violence. The victims of today are abusers of tomorrow and this negative attitude promotes a society where violence is accepted and justified”, said Spark’s Asiya Arif.

“Our society today is a proof of long term violence that has been part of our culture and mindset. A large number of under-18s are being trained and used as suicide bombers, whatever the reasons may be. There is little or no attention paid to using alternative techniques to discipline children because the adults have internalised the fact that only punishment can help improve the child’s behaviour,” said Fazila Gulrez.
Source: Dawn
Date:10/19/2008

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