UNICEF Calls On Political Parties to Refrain From Using Children for Political Gain
Dhaka, Bangladesh, 26 April 2013: UNICEF is alarmed to see that children have been in the forefront of recent demonstrations held by political parties in Bangladesh. Over the past few weeks, hartals (general strikes) and demonstrations have been called by various parties as a means to voice their demands.
“The use of children for political gain must stop,” said UNICEF Representative Pascal Villeneuve. “We urge all political parties in Bangladesh to refrain from using children for political purposes and ensure that children are protected from all possible violence. We also ask the Government of Bangladesh to make sure that access to essential services needed by children are not disrupted during hartals. We all have a duty to ensure that children are sheltered from political disturbances.”
Bangladesh is a signatory of the Convention on the Rights of Child (CRC), which states that children have to be protected “from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation.” Use of children in political demonstrations may put them at risk of physical and mental violence and injury. There is also clear provision in the country’s National Children’s Policy 2011 that “children cannot be used in political activities, neither could they be lured nor compelled to be involved in such activities (Paragraph 6.7.4).”
We would urge all concerned to keep children out of any kind of violence and to solve the current problem through peaceful dialogue. Children should be able to continue with their regular activities such as going to school, participating in sport and other constructive and creative activities.
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