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Equity and Justice in Society : Protecting Rights of Children Advocate Salma Ali, Executive Director Bangladesh National Woman Lawyers Association (BNWLA )
Introduction The lack of care and protection facing children is a global crisis which is commonly the result of inequalities in the society. Gender norms make girls especially vulnerable to sexual abuse and exploitation, early marriage and domestic work, and boys to hazardous child labour and detention. Children without adequate care and protection are commonly stigmatized, and have inequitable access to education, health, social protection and justice.
BASIC FACTORS INFLUENCING CHILDREN’S RIGHTS IN BANGLADESH Poverty and Food Insecurity Population Growth and Urbanization Occurrence and Management of Natural Disasters Quality of Governance Social and Cultural Norms and Values
Children Act 2013 Bangladesh National Children Policy 2011 in Bangladesh Protection of children came in 1923 through “Geneva Declaration” under the aegis of League of Nations Children included in human rights agenda and various instruments for their protection in 1945 Stepping to ensure Child Rights The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) 1989 Children Act, 1974 and Children Rules, 1976 (Repealed) Children protection in the Constitution of Bangladesh and customary laws in 1972
International Treaties Ratified or Acceded to by Bangladesh Treaty Date of Ratification (r) & Accession (a) Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 16 December 1966 6 Sep 2000 (a) International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 16 December 1966 5 Oct 1998 (a) Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), 18 December 1979 6 Nov 1984 (a) Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, 6 October 1999 Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment 10 December 1984 International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, 18 December 1990 Convention on the Rights of the Child, 20 November 1989 6 Sep 2000 5 Oct 1998 (a) 24 Aug 2011 August 3, 1990 Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Children the Involvement of Children in armed conflict, 25 May 2000 6 Sep 2000 Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography 25 May 2000 6 Sep 2000 Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957 12 March 2001 22 June 1972
Existing laws and policies to protect children Corporal Punishment Child trafficking • The High Court declared corporal punishment of children in all educational institutions illegal • The Ministry of Education issued ‘Guidelines to Prohibit Corporal and Psychological Punishment in All Educational Institutions-2011 • The National Children Policy 2011 also prohibits all forms of punishment of children at educational institutions. • Trafficking Deterrence and Suppression Act 2012 • National Plan of Action for Combating Human Trafficking 2012 -14 Child sexual abuse, exploitation and child pornography • • • Child Labour • The Bangladesh Labour Act, 2006 • National Child Labour Elimination Policy 2010 Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929 Women and Children Repression Prevention Act 2000 Acid Crime Prevention Act, 2002 Acid Control Act 2002 Pornography control Act 2012
Examples of judicial activism on child rights A High Court bench of Justice Md. Imman Ali and Justice Md. Fazlur Rahman in a verdict on September 3, 2009 said, ‘Each police station shall have at least two officers, of whom one shall be a female, to deal with cases involving children in contact with the law. In October 2010 the High Court ordered immediate transfer of 145 minors detained in jails across Bangladesh to safe homes. This order was issued by a bench comprising justice M Imman Ali and Obaidul Hasan on a suo motto rule or an order it had issued on its own without any petition. In January 2011 the High Court Division of Bangladesh banned all corporal punishment in schools in Bangladesh. The Court has observed that caning, beating, chaining, forced haircuts and confinement are used to impose punishment on children in primary and secondary schools and in Islamic religious schools. On 9 July 2006 the High Court Division of Bangladesh gave a ruling to the effect that all children must be tried in Juvenile courts and that trial of children in criminal court such as the Nari Shishu Nirjaton Adalot is in complete contravention of the fundamental right guaranteed by Article 28(4) of the Constitution of Bangladesh. On May 14, 2009 in a landmark judgment the High Court Division has given some directions to executive and other relevant authorities to prevent sexual harassment
• Violation of laws by law enforcement officers • Lack of Childfriendly complaint procedures • Improper collection and maintenance of evidence • Lack of victim and witness protection • The rate of child marriage in Bangladesh is 66% • Lengthy legal process • Delivering child care services Violence against children exist • On track to achieve MDG 4 on reduce child mortality • Under-five mortality rate (per 1000 live births) 44(2011) • Progress towards MDG 2 and 94. 9% Net enrollment in primary education • Promote Gender Equality in primary and secondary education • 31. 5% of population below national upper poverty line (2122 k. cal. ) Law Enforcement Progress in MDG Target Current status of child rights situation • A 2009 report by UNICEF shows that 91% of the children surveyed faced various levels of physical abuse at school, while 74% were abused at home, and 25% at workplace • Children are involved in different hazardous and risky jobs including collecting products from machine, driving drill machine, rickshaw pullers, working in restaurants or tea stalls and carpentry
Good practices on fulfill child rights Legal Service Delivery Programme OC n Social protectio mechanism C ed bas ty n uni atio mm r Co teg in ial soc Vic ti m. S Cen uppor t tre Good Practices Anti-Trafficking Monitoring Cell Correction center and Safe home Community Intervention Birth Registration Compulsory primary Education
Numerous barriers to access justice and quality a) Legal Barriers b) Persistence of social norms and negative perceptions c) Discrimination and exclusion d) Justice system not adapted to children rights and needs e) Costs f) Lack of legal awareness g) Lack of victim and witness protection H) Discriminatory laws, policies and practices.
Recommendations and Conclusion » » » » Proper implementation of laws. Change of mind set and raising awareness. Banning all forms of physical punishment meted out to children in society Developing education strategies to strengthen positive non-violent approaches Breaking the silence and sharing of good practices. Reducing the inequalities that lead to inadequate care and protection, particularly through efforts relating to gender, disability, ethnicity, HIV and poverty reduction. Invest in stronger and more equitable child protection systems, including for post conflict states and contexts: Develop strong social mechanism against child trafficking, which would reflect the special vulnerability and specific rights of child victims, and cover all forms of exploitation experienced by the trafficked children Ensuring children's voice at relevant forum.