Chapter 1


Future development of a country largely depends on the child population of that country. Therefore, children are very important resource of a country.  Everyone should participate in the efforts to bring up the children as worthy citizens of the country. Children are the future leaders of the nation. To lead the nation towards prosperity comprehensive enforcement of children rights is needed on a priority basis.  As human being, children are entitled to enjoy all human rights that protect individuals and groups against actions and omissions that affect their freedom and dignity. But human rights norms have proven inadequate to meet children’s special needs of survival, protection, development and participation in shaping their future. Children’s are a valuable property for any nation. So, children rights are one of the most important matters for a country. Next day which child should become a fulfill person, he or she must be need security and rights.

In modern time the children rights take a place in international subject after establish league of nation. The UN convention on the Rights of the child (CRC) enshrined the needs of children enlists a number of rights of children that protect their needs. The convention however made several ideological contributions to children rights and a child become a whole person; a complete human being with full rights and privileges under its auspices.  Bangladesh is among the first few countries to sign the UN convention on the rights of the child (UNCRC) and has already taken steps to implement its provision. In Pursuance of the fundamental principles of the constitution and the UNCRC the government has decided to formulate and implement a national policy on children to ensure the security, welfare and development of children. Children’s rights cover four main aspects of a child’s life: the right to Survive; the right to develop, the right to be protected from harm and the right to participate.

Chapter 2


2.1 Definition of Children

Law makes a destination between a child and a adult This distinction is based primarily on the age of the child and the purpose of a particular law. Thus a person is child who is under 16 years of age according to the section 2 (f) of The Children Act 1974.  The Majority Act of 1875 describes a person to be a child below 18 years. According to Vagrancy Act 1943 a person below the age of 14 is a child. In defining child in addition to age, gender is also taken into consideration. According to the section 2 (a) of The Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929 a child is a person below the age of 21 in the case of a male while it is 18 for a female.  Under Muslim law a child obtains majority when he attains puberty. A child is assumed to have attained puberty on the completion of 15 years.  According to Hindu law, now in existence in Bangladesh a child attains majority after the completion of 15 years. The most agreed upon definition of a child based on age can be found in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children 1989 Article 1 all persons below the age of 18 are unequivocally designated as children in this United Convention on the Rights of the Children 1989 which is a ‘Magna Carta’ for the children.

2.2 Types of Children rights

Children’s rights are defined in numerous ways, including a wide spectrum of civil, cultural, economic, social and political rights. Rights tend to be of two general types: those advocating for children as autonomous persons under the law and those placing a claim on society for protection from harms perpetrated on children because of their dependency. These have been labeled as the right of empowerment and as the right to protection. One Canadian organization categorizes children’s rights into three categories:

  1. Provision: Children have the right to an adequate standard of living, health care, education and services, and to play. These include a balanced diet, a warm bed to sleep in, and access to schooling.
  2. Protection: Children have the right to protection from abuse, neglect, exploitation and discrimination. This includes the right to safe places for children to play; constructive child rearing behavior, and acknowledgment of the evolving capacities of children.

Chapter 3


3.1 How Children Rights are abused in Bangladesh

3.1.1 Trafficking

Human trafficking in Bangladesh is believed to be extensive both within the country and to India, Pakistan and the Middle East. Many girls are trafficked into sexual exploitation or bonded servitude. Many boys have also been trafficked to the Middle East to become camel racing jockeys. Children involved in camel racing (CICR) are often injured in the course of their work, are vulnerable to abuse from their employers and there are reports of employers deliberately keeping the children’s weights low by not feeding them enough. Many children are taken with their parents’ consent, having been duped by stories of well-paid jobs or marriages. Reintegration into mainstream society is a huge issue for trafficked children, especially for girls with the stigma and taboo associated with it. If they return with a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) or HIV positive, it becomes more challenging for the family and community to accept them. For children involved in camel racing, many can no longer remember their own language. They become strangers in their own land.

3.1.2 Child Labour

Child labour remained a major concern, with an estimated 7.9 million children working in the formal and informal labour sector. Among them, over one million are considered to be engaged in hazardous jobs and at risk. Recently, ship breaking yards have been identified by the Government as another hazardous place of work for children. A 2008 research report identified that at least 25% of ship breaking workers are children twelve years. Such work is extremely hazardous given the high number of accidental deaths, disability and exposure to harmful and toxic substances in the yards. The report recommended that the government enhance labour inspections at the ship yards, amend the 2006 Labour Act to ensure no child below 16 years can engage in hazardous work and finalize the adoption of the Ship-breaking Policy Paper to put in place guidance and mechanisms to improve and monitor ship yards.

3.1.3 Child prostitution

Sexual abuse is one of the perilous abuses children face in our society. Some group of brokers forcefully compels young children to involve in prostitution through various persuasions for the Children have become a dangerous form of child labour in the society. Whatever bucks they earn out of the profession, children involve in the profession are in the risk of different dangerous health hazards, like unexpected pregnancy, contaminated sexual and drug addicted diseases. 40 percent prostitutes of most brothels of Bangladesh are under 18 years old. The gang- lady has bought about 50 percent girls into the brothels from the outside. The rest 50 percent girls are the children of the sex worker, Girls those are bought into the brothel from the outside, have to sign a contract with the gang- lady that they would work as a prostitute under the shelter of the gang-lady for a period of time and they would share a part of their earning with the gang- lady.

According to the repot of the “SAARC Autonomous Women Study Group”, there are fifteen thousand sex workers in the fourteen brothels of the country. 83.4 percent of them are under 18 years old. A group of spoiled people pursued them to deal a lucrative life and sold them to the gang-lady in the brothels. Most of these picked-up girls were forced to engage in prostitution against their will. The gang-lady bought many of these girls into the brothel from the outside. Besides this, there are other forms of tortures. Recently, news was published about the child sex workers of Daulotia brothel at Rajbari District. The news was about one kind of tablet which is used for cow fattening but given to the children of age 11/12 so that they grow faster and look as old as 18/20 years old. The child sex-workers, victim of such barbarism, ultimately suffer from various critical diseases like lung cancer etc.

3.1.4 Children in poverty

Poverty is a major underlying cause for the non fulfillment of the rights of all children. Poverty strikes children early-even in the womb-poverty robs children of the nurturing care that is crucial for their mental and psychological development to lead healthy and productive lives, either through the ignorance of parents of what is needed to ensure early childhood developments (ECD), or through the pressure of earning a living for the family. Poverty is a root cause of poor health and nutrition, child labour, of HIV/AIDS infections, of trafficking in women and children, and ignorance and denial of rights. In Vicious cycle malnourished mothers give birth to underweight babies; parents lacking access to crucial information are unable to optimally feed and care for their children. The country needs to raise family income, the sooner, the better.

3.1.5 Violence against children

From January 2008 to 16 December 2008, the key children’s rights’ watchdog BSAF reported on 2,755 incidents of violence, abuse, exploitation and acts of negligence against children. By contrast, in 2007 the number of total incidents was recorded as 3,975. In 2008, it reported that 155 children were killed, 114 girls were raped, 386 children went missing, 42 children committed suicide and 15 children suffered acid attacks. The table below further illustrates the nature of the most common forms of violence reported:

Reports of Violence against Children

Nature of violence   Total


Rape and murder


Other sexual violence





Acid attack

Others types of violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect

Total Number of Incident     155









1,759    2,755

Source- BSAF.

ASK’s own fact-finding reports underscored the high level of violence and exploitation faced by child domestic workers. The report below highlights the difficulty of seeking justice and accountability in such cases given the vulnerabilities of the child and her family and the absence of effective investigation of prosecution.

3.1.6 Arrest and detention of children

Arrest and detention of children continued in 2008, with a slight reduction in the total number of new admissions compared to higher number of new admissions compared to higher number of release from jails. According to Save the Children UK, from January to October 2008, there were 939 new admissions in 57 jails, and some 1098 children were released from the jails in the same period. Of these children, 82 children (from January to May 2008) were arrested under the Special Powers Act, despite a Police Headquarters directive of 7August 2006, pursuant to the National Task Force decision that no children would be arrested under the Special Powers Act.

3.1.7 Street Children

Street Children has been one of the most problematic parts of our citizenry for quite sometime. In the capital city of Dhaka as well ns in other divisional cities it is rapidly turning out to be a monolithic and complex social problem demanding urgent attention. It is acknowledged by the present government as a very critical national issue and a realistic program at the instance of the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs is in the offing towards establishing rights of these street children.

By its nomenclature the street children are the same part of the national population who have little or no linkage with their respective families or are homeless with no elder to take care of them. They take to streets primarily for their own sustenance and in consequence their attachment to the family diminishes automatically. Indifference of the living parents, physical torture and many other compelling situations sever their linkage. The Ministry of Social Welfare and the Department of Social Services  categorize the street children in the following manner:

  1. i) Children up to l8 years of age who work/live on the street day & night without their family;
  2. ii) Children up to l8 years of age who work/live on the street day & night with their family;

iii)  Children up to 18 years of age who work on the street and return to other family;

  1. iv) Children up to 18 years of who work on the street and return to their family;

The hard fact is no appropriate database or reliable statistics are available on street children. According to a study report conducted by BIDS and published by Department of Social Services in 2005 it revealed that estimated total number of Street Children in Bangladesh was 6,79,278 , in six division 3,89,892, in Dhaka; 2,49,200 , in Chittagong,55856 , in Rajshahi 20426 , In Khulna 41414 , in Barisal 9,711  and street children in Sylhet division were 13,165 . The report found that the major concentration of street children was in Dhaka Division (63.91%) and the lowest concentration was in Barisal Division (2.5O%), Another study on street children revealed that out of total street children, boys are53% and girls are 47%. But NGOs involved working for street Children found that boys street children were 60% and girls were 40% . However, there is u need to conduct a comprehensive study and baseline survey on Street Children in the country.

Among the major problems faced by the street children are shelter, food, nutrition, health care, hygiene and sanitation. Adolescent girls are often subjected to sexual abuse. They live in absolute insecurity on the street pavements and other open places. Most often they are victims of physical torture by elder hoodlums/mastans muscleman, police, and security guards of apartment buildings. They live in a sort of void never knowing how to salvage them from such pitiable state of life. They do not know either what their legal and human rights are. Nor they are aware of any policy option of the government that could protect their rights to live better lives. They take to such life being compelled by circumstances. Consequently they are often exploited by gang of criminals.

3.2 Children’s Right’s in Bangladesh

In Bangladesh children right’s can take an important role. Constitutions give some instructions to the Government for made laws which are helpful for children. The question of rights of children in Bangladesh has an international setting. The declaration of the rights of the child 1924 was adopted by the fifth assembly of the League of Nations where the rights of the child were first mentioned in an international document. The 1924 declaration was followed by the declaration of the rights of the child in 1959, which aimed at granting children a series of benefits, protections and priorities. The rights granted in the 1959. Declarations were later reaffirmed in the international covenant on economic, social and cultural rights adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1966.

The convention on the rights of the child was adopted in 1989. Bangladesh is a signatory to convention. Bangladesh, however, has expressed reservation on Articles 21 and 14(1) of the CRC. The reservation on Article 21 which deals with adoption of a child has been specifically expressed in view of the fact that Muslim law does not recognize the practice of adoption. Apart from this, Bangladesh no longer encourages-

Inter-country adoption, a widespread practice that helped relocates the WAR BABIES in the war of independence.

Public opinion was against inter-country adoption, both on religious and ethical grounds. It soon became evident that in many cases babies were sold in the name of adoption. The next reservation made by Bangladesh was with regard to a child’s right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. While the state recognizes such rights of a child, the prevailing social belief is that a child, being immature and in complexities of the issue in question, is hardly in a position to make a voluntary choice of its own in this regard. In the circumstances, a child is likely to act under pressure and influence, neither of which is conducive to its normal, natural and healthy growth.

3.3 Handicapped children and their rights

Disabled persons “have the same fundamental rights as their fellow citizens of the same age, which implies first and foremost the right to enjoy a decent life, as normal and full as possible” .

The problems of the handicapped children and persons have not been properly understood. There are social and psychological problems of the handicapped children and their understanding would help in providing necessary help and assistance in protecting their rights. A handicapped child is just like’ other normal children, except that he suffers from a particular handicap. He is capable of performing all the necessary functions which a normal child is expected to do. If not properly taken care of, trained and rehabilitated in order to earn his independent living, a handicapped child would grow up as a handicapped person and continue to remain a burden on the society. They have always been a subject of pity and have been living on others charity. Therefore, the society has to help the handicapped child to develop his latent potentialities so that he can grow up as independent self-earning individual and can live with respect and dignity like other normal human beings. It is now recognized that a handicapped child has a right to live and enjoy life like other human beings. The international community has enacted a series of instruments and human rights declaration to protect their right to life and living. The main international instruments addressing the disabled are The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and on the Civil and Political Rights, the Declaration on the Rights of the Mentally Retarded Persons, the Declaration of Rights of the Disabled Persons (1975), and The Principles for Protection of Persons with Mental Illness and for The Improvement of Mental Health Care. “Disabled persons shall enjoy all the rights set forth in this Declaration. These rights shall be granted to all disabled persons without any exception and without distinction or discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinions, national or social origin, state of health, birth or any other situation applying either to the disabled person himself or to his or her family” . Disabled persons “have the same fundamental rights. As their fellow citizens of the same age, which implies first and foremost the right to enjoy a decent life, as normal and full as possible” . “They are entitled to measures designed to enable them to become self reliant as possible” . “They have the right, according to their capabilities to secure and retain employment or to engage in a useful, productive and remunerative occupation and to join trade unions” . “Disabled persons shall be: protected against all-exploitation, all regulations and all treatments of a discriminatory, abusive or degrading nature .

3.4 Protection of Child Rights in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is one of the worlds most over populated country. It has very limited card and all other kinds of resources. Most of the families in Bangladesh live below the line of poverty. So that, their children have to work for long time but their wages are very little. Most of them are not going to school.

Bangladesh is obligated to protect children’s rights under national law and under several international human rights instruments. The constitution guarantees judicially enforceable fundamental rights to all citizens including children and ensures affirmative action for children.

Bangladesh has both constitutional provisions and other legal enactments that seek to ensure and protect children’s rights and welfare .

3.5 Law Related to Child Rights Protection in Bangladesh

3.5.1 The Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

The Constitution of Bangladesh has provisions relevant to children’s rights in its directive principles of state policy [Articles 15, 17 and 25(1), the fundamental rights [Article-27, 28(1), (2), (3), (4), 31, 32, and 39 (1), (2), and the power of judicial review [Articles 26(1), (2)]. Articles 27, 28 and 31 of the constitution lay down the general principles regarding the protection of children from all forms of discrimination. The constitution in these articles provide that all citizens being equal before the law and being entitled to equal protection, must be treated in accordance with law without any discrimination.

Article 27 (Equity before law)

All citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law.

Article 28 (Discrimination on grounds of religion etc)

(1) The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.

(2) Women shall have equal rights with men in all spheres of the State and of public life.

(3) No citizen shall, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth be subjected to any disability, liability, restriction of condition with regard to access to any place of public entertainment or resort, of admission to any educational institution.

(4) Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making special provision in favour of women of children of for the advancement of any backward section of citizens.

Article 31 (Right to protection of law)

To enjoy the protection of the law, and to be treated in accordance with law, and only in accordance with law, is the inalienable right of every citizen, wherever he may be, and of every other person for the time being within Bangladesh, and in particular no action detrimental to the life, liberty, body, reputation of property of any person shall be taken except in accordance with law.

Article 32 ( Protection of right to life and personal liberty)

No person shall be deprived of life or personal liberty saves in accordance with law.

3.5.2 Municipal Laws

The other laws relating to the protection and welfare of children in Bangladesh are not contained in a single statute; rather they can be found scattered over numerous laws and statutes, such as:

3.5.3 The penal code of 1860

The penal code of 1860 states in sections 82 and 83 that full criminal responsibility only commences after the age of 12, as it is construed that any person below that age has not attained sufficient maturity to understand the nature and consequences of his/her conduct. Section 90 provides that consent given by a person under the age of 12, shall not be regarded as consent in the strict sense of the term. However, in case of marital intercourse the offence of rape will not be held to have been committed if the wife is above 13 years of age. The kidnapping of a male under 14 years and a female of les than 16 years from lawful guardianship is an offence under section 361.The kidnapping or abduction of a person below the age of 10 is also an offence under section 364A.

3.5.4 The Divorce Act of 1869

The Divorce Act of 1869 which applies to Christians in Bangladesh deals with the custody, maintenance and education of minor children while their parents are engaged in law suits for separation, divorce or nullity.

3.5.5 The Contract Act of 1872

The Contract Act of 1872 regards a minor as incompetent to enter into contracts. A minor’s contract is void under section 11 of the Act. However the guardian of a minor can enter into a contract of sale on behalf of the minor either out of legal necessity or for the benefit of the estate.

3.5.6 The Guardians and Wards Act of 1890

The Guardians and Wards Act of 1890 empowers a designated court to appoint a guardian of the minor’s person, property or both. The court, however, has to be satisfied that it is for the welfare of the minor, and in the circumstances cannot appoint anyone as guardian against the will of the minor.

3.5.7 The Criminal Procedure Code

The Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment 2007) directs, through a designated court, a person having sufficient means, who is neglecting of refusing to maintain his wife of child (whether legitimate of illegitimate), to provide a monthly allowance for their maintenance. Section 562 of the Code empowers the court to release certain first convicted offenders under the age of 21 on probation for good conduct instead of sentencing them to imprisonment.

3.5.8 The Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929

The Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929 (amended in 1984) prohibits the marriage between a male under 21 and female under 18 years of age, and imposes punishment of parents and guardians involved in child marriages.

3.5.9 The Partnership Act 1932

The Partnership Act 1932 under section 30 provides that a minor cannot be a partner in a firm, but s/he may, with the consent of all partners for the time being, be admitted to the benefits of partnership.

3.5.10 The Children (Pledging of Labour) Act 1933

The Children (Pledging of Labour) Act 1933 penalises the parent, or the guardian in the event of their entering into an agreement to pledge the labour of a child of employing a child whose labour has been pledged.

3.5.11 The Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act of 1939

The Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act of 1939 gives certain rights to a minor girl given in marriage to repudiate the marriage before attaining the age of eighteen years, provided that the marriage has not been consummated.

3.5.12 The Children’s Act 1974 and Children’s Rules 1976

The Children’s Act 1974 and Children’s Rules 1976 are intended to protect the child’s best interests during all kinds of legal processes. They require the court to have regard for the age and character of the child and other related factors before passing any order under the Act. The Act provides for separate juvenile courts and forbids the joint trial of an adult and a child offender even where the offence has been jointly committed. The Act lays down measures for the care and protection of destitute and neglected children, including children under the care of parents/ guardians who habitually neglect, abuse of ill- treat the.

3.5.13 The Repression against Women and Children Act 1995

The Repression against Women and Children (Special Provision) Act 1995 imposes severe punishments, including capital punishment, for various crimes committed against women and children. These include rape, trafficking, kidnapping, dowry deaths and so on. Apart from the aforesaid formal laws the personal and religious laws regulating marriage, divorce, custody, guardianship, adoption and inheritance contain specific provisions on children. In this regard, the MUSLIM FAMILY LAWS ORDINANCE 1961 and the Family Court Act 1964 are special legislations, which provide enhanced rights to women and children.

3.5.14 The Bangladesh Labour Code 2006

The Bangladesh Labour Code 2006 an Act to consolidate and amend the laws relating to employment of workers, relations between workers and employers, determination of minimum wages, payment of wages, compensation for injuries arising out of and in the course of employment, formation of trade unions, raising and settlement of industrial disputes, health, safety, welfare and working conditions of workers, and apprenticeship and matters ancillary thereto.

WHEREAS it is expedient to amend and consolidate the laws relating to employment of workers, relations between workers and employers, determination of minimum wages, payment of wages, compensation for injuries arising out of and in the course of employment, formation of trade unions, raising and settlement of industrial disputes, health, safety, welfare and working conditions of workers and apprenticeship and matters connected therewith.

3.6 Government and Non-government Organizations

3.6.1 Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum( BSAF)

Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar (Child Rights) Forum is an apex body of 235 NGOs of Bangladesh working in the child rights sector. Its representative and national status gives it a greater reach to draw attention to issues concerning the rights and well- being of children at national, regional and international levels and fora. Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum advocates a Child-Friendly world. It works as a networking entity. It brings together and assists child rights organizations to pursue common goals. It helps synthesize the viewpoints of member organizations and works to mobilize material and human resources to take child rights programs to scale. It provides collective leadership in program matter to member organizations but does not engage itself in service delivery. It works with lawmakers and decision- makers to bring positive changes in national laws and policies relating to children. It runs a vigorous campaign at macro level to make the civil society aware of the provisions of CRC and play a proactive role in promoting and upholding these rights. It also provides guidelines and assistance to member organizations to empowerment carry out awareness creating and community activities at their respective levels.

Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum has engaged in networking and social mobilization at home and Southeast Asia Region, and established linkages with relevant government organizations.

Bangledesh Shishu Adhikar Forum is currently working on improving the networking and advocacy mechanism and establishing a Child Rights Information Resource Center to create and maintain an updated database on child Rights and related information. The center will provide periodical updates to member organization and be accessible to Researchers, academics, donors, UN Agencies and others.

3.6.2 Bangladesh Shishu Academy (BSA)

Bangladesh Shishu Academy was established in 1976. It has branches in all the 64 districts and in one sub-district under each of six Divisions of Bangladesh. The main activity of the Shishu Academy revolves around developing creativity and potentials of the children. In 1994 the Government of Bangladesh declared the National Children Policy to preserve the rights, interests and welfare of the children. The National Council for Children which is headed by the Minister of the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs is responsible for providing guidance in formulation of overall policies and implementing the National Children Policy .

3.6.3 Centre for Women and Children Studies (CWCS)

CWCS introduced a pilot project in 1998 aimed at sensitizing the police and other members of the community on women’s and children’s rights as human rights, advocating “pro-women and child-friendly policing” at the community level. CWCS has organized several training programmers on women’s and children’s rights as well as interactive workshops. It has also organized awareness-raising workshops on women’s and children’s rights for officers from different police departments and stations throughout Bangladesh.

CWCS has organized orientation sessions on child rights at 389 police stations of 54 districts from May 2003 to March 2004 by giving a set of five posters to the police containing messages on child rights issues namely security of children, child labour, violence against children, child trafficking and youth offenders. These efforts of CWCS were mentioned as an important development in the interim report prepared by Ofelia Calcetas-Santos, Special Reporter of the Commission on Human Rights on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography.

3.6.4 Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association (BNWLA)

BNWLA has a program for ensuring the rights of children. Under this program there is a social protection group for the community children for protection them from any kind of violence. In every target area there is a social protection center where a lawyer regularly sits for instant help.

The objective of such interventions is to develop a child-centered community. Moreover, BNWLA has been rescuing children form different police stations of the country. Thereafter, it tries to trace out their parents and place them back to parental care. If any child is found traceless, BNWLA provides them necessary training for rehabilitation. As a part of combating violence against women and children, BNWLA established in 1993 a shelter home named ‘Proshanti’ for specifically providing safe custody to rescued women and children. The shelter home is also a part of the objective of BNWLA on improving the state of children rights in Bangladesh.

Moreover, the legal Aid Cell of BNWLA addresses free of cost the legal problems of the abused and violated, destitute and vulnerable women and children, and provides support to help them to establish their legal rights in society either by defending their cases in different courts in the country or in other ways. The Training Cell of BNWLA organizes training programmers for law enforcing agencies, government functionaries and NGOs dealing with issues relating to violence against women and children.

3.6.5 Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Truss (BLAST)

BLAST is working since 1994 for the distressed people who does not have access to justice in our country context. To provide appropriate legal support for these people, BLAST has different cells and activities. Juvenile cell of BLAST is one such cell working for those children who are below 18 years. The juvenile cell of BLAST is working all over Bangladesh through 19 unit offices of BLAST and the local partner NGOs.



4.1 International Law Regarding Children Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is seen as a basis for all international legal standards for children’s rights today. There are several conventions and laws that address children’s rights around the world. A number of current and historical documents affect those rights, including the 1923 Declaration of the Rights of the Child, drafted by Eglantyne Jebb and her sister Dorothy Buxton in London, England in 1919, endorsed by the League of Nations and adopted by the United Nations in 1946. It later served as the basis for the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

4.2 How does the convention protect these rights

It constitutes a common reference against which progress in meeting human rights standards for children can be assessed and results compared. Having agreed to meet the standards in the Convention, governments are obliged to bring their legislation, policy and practice into accordance with the standards in the Convention; to transform the standards into reality for all children; and to abstain from any action that may preclude the enjoyment of those rights or violate them. Governments are required to report periodically to a committee of independent experts on their progress to achieve all the rights.

4.3 Certain relevant articles to the protection of the child rights

Article 14: 1.State parties shall respect the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

  1. States Parties shall respect the rights and duties of the parents and, when applicable, legal guardians, to provide direction to the child in the exercise of his or her right in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child.
  2. Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitation as are prescribed law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health or morals, or the fundamental rights and freedom of others.

Article 19: 1. States parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, socil and educational measures to protect the child form all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent, treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.

  1. Such protective measures should, as appropriate, include effective procedures for the establishment of social programmers to provide necessary support for the child and for those who have the care of the child, as well as for other forms of prevention and for identification, reporting, referral, investigation, treatment and follow-up of instances of child maltreatment described heretofore, and, as appropriate, for judicial involvement.

Article 24: 1. States Parties recognize the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health. States Parties shall strive to ensure that no child is deprived of his or her right of access to such health care services forth in the present Convention and in other international human rights or humanitarian instruments to which the said States are Parties.

  1. For this purpose, States Parties shall provide, as they consider appropriate, co-operation in any efforts by the United Nations and other competent intergovernmental organizations or non-governmental organizations cooperating with the United Nations to protect and assist such a child and to trace the parents or other members of the family of any refugee child in order to obtain information necessary for reunification with his or her family. In cases where no parents or other members of the family can be found, the child shall be accorded the same protection as any other child permanently or temporarily deprived of his or her family environment for any reason, as set forth in the present Convention.
  2. States Parties shall pursue full implementation of this right and, in particular, shall take appropriate measures:

(a) To diminish infant and child mortality;

(b) To ensure the provision of necessary medical assistance and health care to all children with emphasis on the development of primary health care;

(c) To combat disease and malnutrition, including within the framework of primary health care, through, iner alia, the application of readily available technology and through the provision of adequate nutritious foods and clean drinking-water, taking into consideration the dangers and risks of environmental pollution;

(d) To ensure appropriate pre-natal and post-natal health care for mothers;

(e) To ensure that all segments of society, in particular parents and children, are informed, have access to education and are supported in the use of basic knowledge of child health and nutrition, the advantages of breast-feeding, hygiene and environmental sanitation and the prevention of accidents;

(f) To develop preventive health care, guidance for parents and family planning education and services.

  1. States parties shall take all effective and appropriate measure with a view to abolishing traditional practices prejudicial to the health of children.
  2. States Parties undertake to promote and encourage international co-operation with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of the right recognized in the present article. In this regard, particular account shall be taken of the needs of developing countries.

Article 34: States parties undertake to protect the child from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. For these purposes, States Parties shall in particular take all appropriate national, bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent:

(a) The inducement or coercion of a child to engage in any unlawful sexual activity;

(b) The exploitative use of children in prostitution or other unlawful sexual practices;

(c) The exploitative use of children in pornographic performances and materials.

Article 36: States parties shall protect the child against all other forms of exploitation prejudicial to any aspects of the child’s welfare.

Article 37: (a) No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed for offences committed by persons below eighteen years of age;

(b) No child shall be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily. The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time;

(c) Every child deprived of liberty shall be treated with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, and in a manner which takes into account the needs of persons of his or her age. In particular, every child deprived of liberty shall be separated from adults unless it is considered in the child’s best interest not to do so and shall have the right to maintain contact with his or her family through correspondence and visits, save in exceptional circumstances;

(d) Every child deprived of his or her liberty shall have the right to prompt access to legal and other appropriate assistance, as well as the right to challenge the legality of the deprivation of his or her liberty before a court or other competent, independent and impartial authority, and to a prompt decision on any such action.

Article 39: States parties shall take all appropriate measure to promote physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of child victim of any from of neglect, exploitation, or abuse, torture or any other from of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, or armed conflicts. Such recovery and reintegration shall take place in an environment which fosters the health, self-respect and dignity of the child.

4.4 UNICEF in Bangladesh

UNICEF is the main international body for the government of Bangladesh helping in protecting ‘child rights’ and related programs. Over the years, UNICEF is very active in attempting to uplift the conditions of the children in Bangladesh. Especially during the last ten years, their efforts in aid of children in conflict with the law are remarkably visible.

UNICEF had participation in inter-ministerial committee and presently is a member of NTF. Through such participation and membership, UNICEF has been supporting the government’s initiatives to uplift the conditions of he children rights in Bangladesh.

Chapter 5


5.1 Major Drawbacks to Protect the Child Rights

  1. Lack of awareness of general people.
  2. Lack of protection of government, non-governmental organization.

iii.  Lack of family income.

  1. Lack of education for children.
  2. Lack of law relating to protection of child rights.
  3. Lack of intimation of laws.

vii. Less programmers for protection of child rights.

viii. In sufficient means of protection of child rights in Upazila level

  1. Lack of conscious less of media about protection of child right.
  2. Lack of training programmers for the officers of various organization, NGOs.
  3. In sufficient court.

xii. Non binding ness International laws.

xiii. Less scope of providing information about violation of child rights.

xiv. No monitoring mechanism.

  1. The NGOs and organizations are not able to perform their duties properly.

xvi. No restriction to engage child in work.

xvii. Non equal treatment towards male and female child.

xviii. Children no understand about their rights, so that they can not take steps to ……..protect their rights.

5.2 Children in Bangladesh in Conflict With the Law

In the early years of its statehood, Bangladesh formally focused its attention on children. Article 28(4) of the country’s Constitution adopted in 1972 and the Children Act of 1974 bear testimony to such early special attention. Nevertheless, children in conflict with law did not attract legal attention until the early 1990s – there was neither any reported case under the Children Act, 1974 from the High Court Division nor any case on appeal to the Appellate Division in which children were involved. The first major case involving a child in conflict with the law was state vs. Deputy Commissioner, Satkhira. Since then the issue of justice for the children in conflict with the law started to gain more attention from the stakeholders. This increased attention is evident in various executive, judicial and legislative interventions.

International standards require that a child in conflict with the law shall neither be tried with adult nor like adult. Therefore, trial of such a child shall be separate and distinct. Now, the question is who is to be regarded as a child under international standards. The CRC defines every person under the age of eighteen as child unless under the law applicable thereto, majority is attained earlier. This definition acknowledges that any age below 18 can be fixed by domestic law to exclude a person from the definition of ‘child’. However, none of the Rules and Guidelines, i.e., the Beijing Rules, the JDL Rules or the Riyadh Guidelines, contain any explicit definition of who is to be considered a child. These instruments use the word ‘juvenile’ instead of ‘child’.

So far the right of a child in conflict with the law to separate trial is concerned; the domestic laws and practices are not reasonably consistent with international standards. These inconsistencies have several dimensions. However, during the last few years, efforts are seen to minimize some of these inconsistencies to some extent.

According to the Children Act, 1974, a ‘child’ means a person under the age of sixteen years. The definition of ‘child’ as offered by the Children Act, 1974 is not consistent with international standards. Since under the domestic law of Bangladesh, majority is not attained earlier, fixing 16 years as the age limit of childhood is contrary to the CRC. This non-compliance with the international standards leaves the children above 16 but below 18 out of the protection of children justice system and makes they subjected to adult trial.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, in its concluding observations on the initial report of Bangladesh submitted under Article 44 of the CRC, recommended: ” . . . legal reform be pursued in connection with . . . the lack of adequate protection for children aged 16-18″. In 1997 the government made a reference to the Law Commission for opinion as lo whether the age of a ‘child’ as defined in the Children Act, 1974 can be raised to 18 years from 16 years. The Law Commission, in its unanimous decision, answered the reference in the positive. Nevertheless, any progress to that effect is yet to be made. Even, among the South Asian countries, Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Maldives and Pakistan extend juvenile justice protections to all children under the age of 18.

5.3 Judicial decisions

Although it was enacted 30 years ago, the Children Act, 1974 is hardly raised in judicial discourse. Most of the judicial decisions relate to age determination. However, the High Court Division of the Supreme Court in 2003 passed a significant suo motu judgment in favour of children. This judgment was further referred in another judgment in Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust v. Bangladesh and others on 3 August, 2004 (57 DLR, 2005). This order further confirmed that:

“Children are entitled to trial before the juvenile courts and positive steps should have been made to their in accordance with law of juvenile court, not to be tried jointly with adults. The respondents are directed to company with earlier direction in the suo motu rule 248 of 2003 and report compliance within six months from date.”

It should be noted that full compliance with these two judgments is yet to be observed.

The judiciary took another important initiative by questioning the practice of harassing children who cannot even be criminally responsible. On 17 April, 2004 the High Court Division issued a suo motu rule upon the government to show cause as to why the proceedings of the criminal case against a three year old child should not be quashed. The court observed in its order that the police officer concerned acted beyond his jurisdiction and committed an illegal act by accepting and registering a criminal case against a three year old child.

5.4 Significant Government Interventions

Two recent policy documents attempted to address rights of children in conflict with law. One is the National Plan of Action for Children (NPA) 2004-2009 and the other is the Poverty Reduction strategy Paper (PRSP). The PRSP has acknowledged the need for reforms in the juvenile justice system, mechanism for recovery and reintegration of children who come into contact with the law and monitoring (Unlocking process). According to the NPA for Children, “Although” The Children Act, 1974 and The Children’s Rules, 1976 have been enacted for the protection of children who come into contact with the law, they are ineffectively enforced. Indeed, there have been allegations that homeless and street children, instead of being protected, are rounded up by the police, often without cause, and jailed with adult: criminals, without protection. The practice of taking vagrant and street children into custody essentially criminalizes impoverished and vulnerable children. Since The Vagrancy Act, 1943 lays down no limit to period of detention; children can be held arbitrarily for long periods. Moreover, this Act has no legal representation provisions.”

The Inter-Ministerial Committee chaired by the principal Secretary to the  Prime Minister has been working as a National Task Force to monitor the situation of children in conflict with law and provide necessary directions. This Committee formed District and Upazilla level Task Force (s) to expedite release of children from jails and assist them in social rehabilitation process. In 2004, the Task Force(s) and NGOs nationwide facilitated the release of about 2,986 children.

The government: has recently taken an initiative to amend the Vagrancy Act 1943 in an effort to rehabilitate the vagrants who are deprived of all fundamental rights.  Review, of the Children Act, 1974 and the Children Rules, 1976 is also on the agenda of the National Task Force. One of the major changes under consideration is to empower the Sessions Court to deal with all offences committed by children to ensure proper juvenile court and proceedings set out in the Children Act, 1974.

Chapter 6


6.1 Recommendations

Last of all I want to say that children of today are the future of tomorrow, so we should take proper care of them and try to maintain and protect their rights. For this we should take proper steps, and also be aware of their rights.

So that we should take these steps:

  1. Awareness programmer should be increased by Government, non-……Government organizations, NGOs, specialized agencies.
  2. Laws relating to child right should be well defined.

iii.  The laws relating to protection of child right should be more focused on that ……field.

  1. Government should take programmers for protection of child rights.
  2. Child right issue should be incorporated in our primary and secondary text ……book curriculum.
  3. International binding force should be there in laws relating to child rights.

6.2 Concluding remarks

Bangladesh is one of the world’s most densely populated countries, placing presume on land and other renounces many families in Bangladesh like in extreme poverty and consequently their children have to work long hour to long hours for very low wages instead of going of school. For this reason, the Government takes various policies to bring these children to school. Like if a child goes to school then he or she will get crops from the Government.

The Government was generally responsive to children’s right and welfare. Many of these efforts were supplemented by local and foreign NGOs, and these joint efforts allowed the country to make significant progress in improving health munitions and education. However, slightly more than one half of all children were chronically malnourished there are laws in Bangladesh that children between 6 and 10 years of age must attend to school through the tenth grade. Primary education is free and compulsory. According to Education Ministry statistics 97% of school age children were enrolled in primary schools during the year. The Government expended incentives for female education by making education free for girls up to grade 12 and using a stipend system from grades 6 to 12. boys received free education up to tenth grade. As a member state of CRC Bangladesh has to maintain all the laws relating to child rights. And should take proper steps to candy the provision of CRC. Child rights protection efforts in Bangladesh should address and remedy conditions that make children vulnerable to recruitment by armed remedy conditions that make children vulnerable to recruitment by armed groups, including poverty, discrimination the use of child labour, exposure to abuse, including sexual abuse, child trafficking, etc. particular attention should programmers for protection of child rights. Poverty in Bangladesh pressures the young child to work, often at the expires of education. According to the International labor organization (ILO) there are 21.6 million working children in South Asia. In Bangladesh, the estimated member of working children is 7.9 million out of 35 million of whom almost 60% are male the Government should taka steps to decreased these number and provide for them food shelter and education.