Strict enforcement of law and awareness among the people, especially among school teachers and parents, are instrumental to curb violence against children.
Addressing a roundtable on Thursday, a group of rights activists, legal experts and a retired justice also said any kind of violence towards children is a clear violation of human rights.
They also pointed out various adverse impacts of corporal punishment.
Prothom Alo, in cooperation with Save the Children and Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST), organised the programme on Thursday, styled ‘child safety and stopping physical and mental punishment against children’ at the daily’s office at Karwan Bazar.
National Human Rights Commission’s chairman Kazi Riazul Haq said, children nowadays are very aware of their rights and dignity. Any kind of violence frustrates them and in some cases they vent their grievances in a very negative way.
“So it is very important to be cautious about hurting children in any way,” he added.
Praising civil society members for creating awareness on the issue, the NHRC chief also urged for more awareness programmes to this end.
Riazul also lamented the delay over forming a ‘national child commission’ and urged the government to take steps in this regard.
Former justice of the high court and chief legal adviser of BLAST Mohammed Nizamul Huq Nassim said, a social movement to stop violence against children has started and it should continue to prevent child abuse.
Chairperson of Initiative for Human Development, Kazi Faruk Ahmed urged that the teachers need to be vigilant against the child abuse.
He also stressed the need to create awareness through mass media.
Laila Khondokar, director of Save the Children’s child rights governance and child protection said the rights of children against all kinds of abuse and violence are stipulated in United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal.
‘Corporal punishment of children is banned in 53 countries of world and Bangladesh should follow suit in no time’ she added.
NHRC’s Nurun Nahan Osmani said the violence against street children and domestic help should be discussed more and eradicated.
National Mental Health Institute’s Mekhla Sarkar pointed out various long term mental impact of childhood abuse.
“Children who get abused during childhood become more aggressive later in their life,” she added.
Citing a research, she said, 16 percent of the people of Bangladesh are suffering from some form of mental illness; most of them are connected with some negative experience during childhood.
Joint secretary of primary and mass education ministry Sheikh Jashim Uddin Ahmed, primary education directorate’s Md Delwar Hossain, Bangladesh Shishu Odhikar Forum’s director Abdus Shadid Mahmud, deputy programme manager of Gonosakkhorota Ovijan Rehena Begum, Institute of Informatics and Development’s executive chief Saeed Ahmed, deputy speaker National Children's Task Force (NCTF) Ferdous Naeem, BLAST’s legal advisor and director SM Rejaul Karim, among others attended the roundtable.
Prothom Alo associate editor Abdul Qayyum and advisor Gawher Nayeem Wahra jointly moderated the roundtable.