Bangladesh presents its report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child in GenevaDhaka, 3 June 2009. The Government of Bangladesh is presenting today its third and fourth periodic report on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) to the international Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva.
The Government inter-ministerial delegation is led by Rokeya Sultana, Secretary, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs and includes Mohammad Nazmul Islam, Joint Secretary, Finance Division, Ministry of Finance, Md. Nurun Nabi Talukder, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Laila Jesmine, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, Nurul Amin, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Social Welfare and Hafiz Ahmed Chowdhury, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Representative in Bangladesh, Carel de Rooy, will also attend the session. UNICEF supported the drafting of the periodic report and the participation of the Government delegation to ensure that the Committee has adequate information on the situation of children in the country.
Bangladesh was among the first countries to sign and ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990. The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which will reach its twentieth anniversary in November this year, is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history. The Convention on the Rights of the Child is a legally binding international instrument and State Parties are required to report every five years to the Committee on the Rights of the Child on the measures they have adopted to implement the Convention and to what degree they are fulfilling their obligations.
The Government of Bangladesh will present its current efforts to harmonize the Children’s Act, passed in 1974, as well as the National Children’s Policy (1994) with the provisions and principles of the CRC. The draft amendment of the Children’s Act is finalized and is awaiting approval. In the last review of Bangladesh’s progress on the CRC in 2003, the Committee on the Rights of the Child had expressed its concern that ‘domestic legislation and customary law were not fully compatible with all the principles and provision of the Convention and that laws were frequently not applied, particularly in rural areas.’
Among other issues, the Committee had also recommended the establishment of an independent and effective mechanism for the promotion and protection of human rights. It also recommended to adopt a national refugee legislation and to accede to the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees of 1951 which Bangladesh has not yet ratified. This Convention guarantees that the refugee children enjoy the same rights of the other children in the country. In its current report, the Bangladesh Government states that a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed with the UN High Commission for Refugees to support Rohingya refugees from Myanmar living in refugee camps.
The Bangladesh Government also reports that progress was made on birth registration, the collection of data related to children, eradicating the worst form of child labour, improving the juvenile justice system and addressing violence against children.
In the report that will be submitted today, the Government recognizes that ‘while there were achievements and successes during the reporting period, the State party could not sufficiently address some of the recommendations of the CRC Committee.
In Bangladesh, 1.3 million children are involved in hazardous work and 7.4 million are economically active. Only 50.7 per cent of the children who enroll in school complete all five years of primary cycle. Two in five children are underweight and only 36 per cent of the population has access to improved sanitation facilities. At the same time, Bangladesh has succeeded in reducing child mortality by over 50 per cent since 1990 and in immunizing nearly 80 per cent of children aged 12-23 months with recommended vaccines. Bangladesh has also achieved gender parity in primary and secondary education.
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