By: Aruba Adil
KARACHI: A ninth-grade student was slapped so hard by his teacher, he lost his hearing.
The student who was enrolled in a private school is now getting treatment at a hospital. The expense is being borne by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.
As the International Day for Children is marked Aaj News takes a look at the UN Convention on the Rights of Child—of which Pakistan is a signatory. It vows to protect children from abuse of all sorts—physical, mental and sexual.
This year was probably the most unfortunate for children in Pakistan as the largest scandal of child sexual abuse surfaced in a small city of Kasur, where 400 videos of child pornography were filmed.
The 280 victims of the 16-member gang— were too scared to talk about the abuse— and they grew old with the social taboo they brushed under the carpet.
What do child rights activists have to say about child abuse in the country?
For many seeds of violence in a child are sown when he is hit by an elder person—a teacher, parent or care taker.
“When children see violent behaviour at home they tend to replicate that violence in the society,” said Nazra Sagar, an official at Spaarc, a child rights organization.
“When an adult beats a child he is telling him through his actions that authority is reinforced through violence,” said Sagar.
Abdul Hai, representative of HRCP said that violence against children takes place the most at schools where teachers beat up children, as in the case of the ninth-grade student who lost his hearing.
“When we took up the child’s case with the school management they fired the teacher. But does that bring the child’s hearing back? Who would bear the medical expenses?,” he said.
In 2013, The National Assembly adopted a bill which provided up to one-year imprisonment and up to Rs 50,000 penalty for a person found guilty of inflicting corporal punishment on children.
The bill was presented by Dr. Atiya Anayattullah but with the dissolution of senate, the bill was also dissolved.
In Sindh Compulsory Education Ordinance 2001, the government added a section on Corporal Punishments which only covers academic institutions.
“I believe the government should add Religious institution and domestic violence in the bill to safeguard children,’’ said Sagar.
Hai added that there should be teachers training as well as parents counseling on the treatment of children in schools and at home.
Sagar explained how violent behavior at school and home affect a growing child’s personality. “Children need parent’s attention and violent behavior will only distance them from parents and take them closer to crime,” said Sagar.
She said that the government should join hands with media to raise awareness against corporal punishments.
“There should be Urdu dramas on this topic to help people understand the delicacy of the problem,’’ Sagar said.