Dhaka, Thursday, 25 February 2016: “Bangladesh has made tremendous achievements during this quarter-century journey. Considering the changing global situation in this postmodern era. Let us together reflect, review and reassure our commitment to address all challenges in the best interests of children,” said Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF Bangladesh Representative.
The dissemination of the concluding observations was organized today with Ms. Meher Afroze Chumki, Honourable State Minister, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, as the Chief Guest; Ms. Nasima Begum ndc, Secretary, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs; and Mr. Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF Bangladesh Representative.
Bangladesh was among the first few countries to sign and ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1990, soon after it came into effect globally. The Convention is the most widely accepted human rights treaty in history with 194 States ratifying it as of today.
The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child on the Fifth Periodic Report of Bangladesh has concluded their observations with concerns on the minimum age of marriage and violence against children with appreciation for the government on the adoption of a number of legislative measures.
In the concluding observations report, the Committee notes with appreciation that Bangladesh has enacted the 2013 Children Act, which recognizes a child as any person below the age of 18 years – the internationally recognized definition.
It appreciated the adoption of a few legislative measures in support of children, including the Children Act (Act No. 24), in 2013; Rights and Protection of Persons with Disabilities Act (Act No. 39), in 2013; Birth and Death Registration (Amendment) Act, in 2013; Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act, in 2010; Law on the marketing of breast-milk substitutes, in 2013; and Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking Act, in 2012.
The observations, however highlighted a number of recommendations – the committee urges the State party to:
1. Expedite the process of adoption of child-related laws, ensuring their full compatibility with the provisions of the CRC – accelerate the adoption of the Education Act.
2. Allocate sufficient human, technical and financial resources for the full dissemination of child-related laws and develop institutional capacity for their effective implementation.
3. Establish an effective inter-ministerial body to implement the CRC at cross-sectoral, national, regional and local levels.
4. Refrain from taking any legislative measure to reduce the minimum age of marriage to 18 years and prosecute violators who authorize marriage of persons below 18 and who forge age identification documents to aid child marriage.
5. Develop awareness-raising campaigns on the harmful effects of child marriage on the physical and mental health and well-beings of girls.
6. Develop a comprehensive data collection and analysis system.
7. Establish a Children’s Ombudsperson.
8. Allocate adequate resources to all social sectors in particular education, health and child protection, while implementing child-focused budgeting.
9.According to article 44 of the CRC, the Government of Bangladesh is responsible to submit an initial report two years after ratification and a periodic report every five years thereafter.
Bangladesh submitted the initial report and second periodic report to the Committee in 1995 (due in 1992) and 2000 (due in 1997) respectively. Bangladesh, however, could not submit the third report which was due in 2002. Subsequently, the Committee allowed Bangladesh to submit the third and fourth periodic reports as one consolidated report in September 2007. Following the submission of the fifth periodic report in October 2012, the review of the implementation of the CRC and the two Optional Protocols took place on 15-16 September 2015 in Geneva.
Bangladesh is required to report on the progress of the implementation of observations and recommendations in its next country report due in March 2021.