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21 / 147

CRC/C/BGD/4

page 21

workers, civil societies, lawyers, religious leaders, children - their associations and parents, among others, are more aware, concerned and involved about the rights and welfare of children in the country.

14.New policies, plans and strategies relating directly and indirectly to CRC have either been improved or drafted, and most of them are approved, and some are under process of approval. The establishment of the Directorate of Children’s Affairs is under consideration of the State Party. However, the coordination role of MoWCA has improved in the recent years, and the State party is planning to further improve the situation through strengthening Bangladesh Sishu (children) Academy (BSA), improving monitoring and coordination at district/field level CRC Committees with the help of all sectoral ministries and others concerned.

15.A law on Children’s Commissioner (Ombudsperson) has been drafted and awaiting final approval of the Cabinet. However, no concrete development took place in establishing a National Hunan Rights Commission except few sporadic attempts. Though Personal Law (Religious Law) of majority population cannot accommodate withdrawal of reservation (on freedom of thought, conscience and religion; and adoption), still the State Party is considering waiving it using the experience of other countries.

16.Under the existing law, minimum age of marriage is 18 for females and 21 for males, and there are provisions for punishment of the persons involvement in child marriage. Awareness about negative effects and consequences of early marriage has notably increased through interventions of both government and NGOs/CBOs.

17.The State Party has taken steps to modernize the police and law enforcement agencies including Bangladesh Rifles (border security forces), and making them fit for being childfriendly. It has started converting few Thanas (Police Stations-PS) into model police station to enhance the quality of service.

B.  Political and legislative measures

Reservations to the Convention on the Rights of the Child

18.There is not yet a final decision of the government about the withdrawal of reservations to article 14, paragraph 1 (freedom of thought, conscience and religion) and article 21 (adoption). The main constraint behind the delay in withdrawing the reservations is that it to some extent contradicts with Personal Law (Religious or Shariah Law) of the majority population. The constitution of Bangladesh, of course, duly respects other religions of the country. However, the State Party keeps it under consideration through examining experiences of ether countries.

Legal issues and amendment of laws

19.The law entitled Prevention of Repression against Women and Children Act, 2000 (as amended in 2003) is enacted to combat the crime of violence against women and children. The law provides for stern measures including death penalty, life imprisonment for the crime of rape, abduction and dowry and trafficking related violence. The age of children has been revised to 16 from 14 years.

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