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Scottish report condemns corporal punishment

SIR FRANK PETERS :: A teacher slapped a ninth-grade student so hard the child lost his hearing. Findings of a study in Scotland this week revealed children who are subjected to corporal punishment could become depressed and violent later in life.

According to the report commissioned by non-profit organizations including Barnardo’s Scotland, Children 1st, Scotland’s Children’s Commissioner, and Scotland’s National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, there’s a close link between hitting children and child abuse.

The authors of the report say the negative effects of hitting children are so overwhelming that corporal punishment should be banned in all settings (schools, homes, madrasas) worldwide.

“The evidence for harmful effects of physical punishment is strong and consistent,” reads the study.

Almost 50 countries have banned physical punishment on children in all settings, while 52 more are committed to law reform.

On January 13, 2011, High Court justices Md. Imman Ali and Sheikh Hassan Arif outlawed the barbaric practice of corporal punishment in Bangladesh schools and madrasahs declaring it: “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and a clear violation of a child’s fundamental right to life, liberty and freedom”.

Unfortunately the evil practice continues and Bangladeshi children are still being severely damaged by academic criminals. Serious danger to children lurks in waiting wherever there’s corporal punishment – school or home. In Pakistan this week a teacher slapped a ninth-grade student so hard the child lost his hearing, but the news source could have read Bangladesh.

Findings from several dozen international studies were used in the Scottish study which revealed that 76 percent of the 55 bad behavior studies conducted showed that smacking increases the likelihood a child to become violent.

A report earlier this year by End Corporal Punishment.Org (a global initiative to end all corporal punishment of children), states the evidence of damage corporal punishment causes children, adults, and societies is irrefutable, overwhelming, and corporal punishment has no benefits whatsoever.

Extensive study after study by reputable premier organizations and universities throughout the world have researched the horrific inhumane practice of corporal punishment on children (some hoping to find justification), but ALL, without exception, conclude it is wrong, damaging, totally ineffective, and must be abolished.

(Sir Frank Peters is a human rights advocate, an award-winning writer, a former newspaper publisher, editor, and a long-time foreign friend of Bangladesh.)

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