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UNICEF extends ties with Supreme Court to strengthen justice for children

Dhaka, 20 December 2017: UNICEF today extended its ongoing partnership with the Supreme Court of Bangladesh to strengthen child courts, among other things, for ensuring the best interest of children in conflict with the law.

For this purpose, both the parties extended the existing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) up to December 2019.

The MOU signing ceremony was attended by the Honorable Performing Chief Justice Abdul Wahhab Miah, Honorable Justices of Supreme Court Mr. Muhammad Imman Ali, Mr. Sheikh Hassan Arif and Mr. Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF Bangladesh Representative. Dr. Md. Zakir Hossain, Registrar General In-Charge, Bangladesh Supreme Court and Mr. Edouard Beigbeder signed the extended MOU on behalf of their respective sides. The earlier MOU that was signed in February 2017 expires this month.

Renovation of child courts, building capacity of stakeholders, community engagement, strengthening coordination, increase diversion rates and improving the monitoring of cases will be ensured under the new agreement to promote and protect the interest of children.

The Supreme Court Special Committee on Child Rights will also advice, monitor and guide government and non-government stakeholders to realise the rights of children. The agreement includes three key thematic areas: monitoring implementation of the Children Act 2013 – particularly strengthening access to justice for children; developing an information management system and strengthening alternative care facilities, monitoring and follow up.

“The Children Act 2013 is a great legal instrument to protect the rights of children. However, its success will mainly depend on effective implementation of the Act, especially to strengthen access to justice for children,” said Edouard Biegbeder, UNICEF Bangladesh Representative.
He hoped that under the extended agreement, administrative procedures will be set up for child courts, database developed, other monitoring frameworks and digital set-up installed in pilot courts and institutions.

The Committee, among other things, will also initiate measures to strengthen alternative care facilities and monitoring for children in conflict with the law, hold consultation and monitoring workshops with district and upazila level professionals and stakeholders, support the Kishore Unnayan Kendra (Adolescent Development Centres) under the Ministry of Social Welfare to make ‘Project Connect’ functional with regular monitoring.

Guidance and directions will be pursued from the Committee for safeguarding the best interest of the children on any emerging issues or concerns having national importance. 

Meanwhile, the progresses made since February 2017 include holding of monthly meetings by Supreme Court special committee; consultations in six divisional and one district headquarters to review the implementation status of Children Act; advocacy and follow up regarding the amendment of Children Act and adopting the Rules with highest authorities.

Monitoring visits were also carried out to seven courts, safe home and child help desk in police stations; a feasibility assessment from UNICEF have been conducted for the renovation of the courts and safe homes. A dashboard has been established to create a database for monitoring the cases of the Children Court. Logistics and equipment for 69 courts to be linked up with the established dashboards have been procured and video conferencing system installed in all Children Courts to speed up the trial process and reduce the hassle of transporting the children to the court; and child help desks established in 10 police stations.

For further information please contact:

Iftikhar Ahmed Chowdhury, UNICEF Bangladesh, Tel: (+88) 01711595045, iachowdhury@unicef.org
AM Sakil Faizullah, UNICEF Bangladesh, Tel: (+88) 01713049900, asfaizullah@unicef.org

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children visit www.unicef.org.bd.

For the latest available data on children visit data.unicef.org.

 

 
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