National consultation takes place to review UN Committee’s observations on the situation of children’s rights in BangladeshDhaka, 29 October 2009. The recommendations made by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child regarding the situation of children’s rights in Bangladesh were examined today during a national consultation coordinated by the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs and attended by 15 Ministries, international and national NGOs, UNICEF and donor agencies.
Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, State Minister of Women and Children Affairs, was present as Chief Guest while Mrs Meher Afroze, Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Women and Children attended the occasion as special guest. Mrs Marta Maurus, elected member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, presented the concluding observations of the Committee issued in June 2009.
The Committee recommended that Bangladesh continues to harmonize its legislation with the principles and provision of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Committee also urged the Government to allocate adequate resources for children in accordance with the requirements of the National Strategy of Accelerated Poverty Reduction. In particular, the Committee asked the Government to consider increasing investment in quality education and include pre-school education as part of compulsory primary education to improve learning achievements.
“The essence of these recommendations by the UN Committee is to create a protective environment for children, where all children of the country will be effectively protected from all sorts of violence, abuse and neglect, said Carel de Rooy, UNICEF Representative in Bangladesh. “To achieve this, we need to develop a culture where child rights are promoted and respected. This should be based on appropriate policy and legislative framework.”
Bangladesh was one of the first countries to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1990. Last June, Bangladesh submitted its third and fourth periodic report on the implementation of the Convention to the CRC Committee. Based on the report, the Committee issued specific recommendations to ensure the full realization of the rights of the child in the country. As a state party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Bangladesh has an obligation to take measures to address these recommendations.
Other recommendations by the UN Committee included: allowing children residing in refugee camps to have access to better health and nutrition services; regarding juvenile justice, adopting a national policy to prevent and promote alternative measures to detention for children and adolescents under 18; for children who are living in institutions, creating a family-type environment and setting clear standards for existing institutions; accelerating the reduction of under-nutrition in children, including the effective use of micronutrients.
In Bangladesh, two in five children are underweight. 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. 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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