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Save the Children and UNICEF urge an end to all forms of corporal punishment


Save the Children and UNICEF urge an end to all forms of corporal punishment

Islamabad, November 19, 2007: UNICEF and Save the Children are calling for an end to corporal punishment on Universal Children’s Day on Tuesday, November 20th, 2007. This call to action follows on from research that indicates corporal punishment is widespread, especially in disaster affected communities.

Every day children suffer physical and verbal abuse at their schools, homes and workplaces. Corporal punishment is often regarded as a culturally acceptable way of disciplining and changing the behaviour of children - however it leaves long term psychological and physical scars. In the wake of natural disasters, such as the 2005 earthquake, children are more vulnerable to this kind of abuse. Research in the earthquake affected area show that prior to the disaster 33 per cent of children reported being victims of corporal punishment. Following the disaster the figure has risen to 94 per cent.

Universal Children’s Day marks the date the United Nations Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child (1959) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989). Article 19 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Pakistan ratified in 1990, condemns all forms of physical and mental violence against the child including injury and abuse. In contradiction to this, Section 89 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC, 1860) allows parents, teachers and other guardians to use corporal punishment as a means to discipline children under 12 years old.

UNICEF and Save the Children are working with the Government of Pakistan and AJK to end all forms of violence against children including corporal punishment. Both agencies have facilitated the process of drafting a new Child Protection Policy and are assisting the development of national systems to help children at risk. District Child Monitoring Systems have also been developed in districts in AJK, NWFP and Sindh alongside telephone helplines for children in all provinces that received more than 16,000 calls last year.

In conjunction with the Government of Pakistan, Save the Children and UNICEF conducted the first in depth study to explore how widespread corporal punishment is in 2005, to hear from children how their lives are affected and what the alternatives are. Findings from the research include:

• All of the 3,582 children interviewed said that they have received corporal punishment
• Seven per cent of children reported sustaining serious injuries as a result of this punishment.
• Children found that corporal punishment diminished rather than improved their concentration in school and was a major factor in them dropping out of school.
• Children suggested other forms of punishment such as the withdrawal of privileges and said they would respond better in a more loving/caring environment.

There is much work to be done still to eliminate corporal punishment but there have been successes. In 1999 the government of NWFP banned corporal punishment in primary schools. In 2000, the governments of Balochistan and Punjab issued directives to all teachers not to use corporal punishment on children and followed up with disciplinary action against three teachers. This year, also the Sindh Government has sent a directive to all its teachers on the prohibition of using corporal punishment in schools.
UNICEF and Save the Children advocate for, and work with, teachers to show them alternative forms of discipline rather than corporal punishment. Throughout the country, more than 1,500 Child Friendly Schools and teacher training programmes are being supported by both organisations.

On Universal Children's Day, UNICEF and Save the Children strongly urge all adults to stop corporal punishment and start disciplining children with love. It is important that we treat our children with respect and patience to ensure a tolerant and child-friendly society.  

About Save the Children
Save the Children is the world’s largest independent organisation for children, making a difference to children’s lives in over 120 countries. From emergency relief to long-term development, Save the Children helps children to achieve a happy, healthy and secure childhood. Save the Children listens to children, involves children and ensures their views are taken into account. Save the Children secures and protects children’s rights – to food, shelter, health care, education and freedom from violence, abuse and exploitation.
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For more information about UNICEF programmes in Pakistan, please visit the website:

For further information, please contact:

Antonia Paradela, Communication Officer, UNICEF
Phone: 051-2097810, Mobile 0300 5002595, Email:

Sami Malik, Communication Officer, UNICEF
Phone: 051-2097811, Mobile 0300 8556654, Email:

Munazza Siddiqui, Media & Communications Coordinator, Save the Children UK
Phone: 051-2113324-27, Email:

Ghulam Qadri, Programme Manager, Save the Children Sweden; Phone: 091-5700987, Mobile: 0345-8561001, Email:



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