CNN Custom News, January 15, 1999

Ethiopian Speaker Urges Parents to Stop Spanking

ADDIS ABABA (Jan. 15) XINHUA - Speaker of the House of Federation of Ethiopia Almaz Meko Friday urged parents, teachers and the public at large to refrain from using corporal punishment as a method of disciplining children.

Opening a two-day seminar organized by the Ethiopian Psychologists' Association, Speaker Almaz said the practice of corporal punishment is rampant in the cultures of most nationalities of Ethiopia as a traditional society .

The Ethiopian News Agency quoted the speaker as saying that "several years of wars, ethnic conflicts, poverty and illiteracy have contributed a lot toward the maltreatment of children in the country."

She said the new basic laws of Ethiopia prohibit violent behaviors against children, adding that "despite the existence of laws and prohibitions, physical violence against children still exists in our society."

The speaker called upon governmental and non-governmental organizations as well as the general public to join hands toward ensuring children rights in the Horn of Africa country.

"Discussions, explaining, negotiation, tolerance, peaceful arguments and other techniques have to be developed instead of corporal punishment," she added.

Speaking at the meeting, Habtamu Wondimu, President of the Ethiopian Psychologists' Association, said that apart from parents, teachers also use corporal punishment to discipline their pupils.

Beating and bodily injuries are commonly reported child abuse cases in most urban centers and capital Addis Ababa, he said.

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