National levels. MoWCA in association with UNICEF and Divisional Commissioners’ Offices organized a total six such consultations. Participants from all the districts of the country attended the Consultation and contributed. Two Children Consultation Meetings were also organized for the purpose, one at Dhaka and other at Rajshahi.
II. DEFINITION OF THE CHILD
A. Measures taken on the concluding observations
70.The State Party has undertaken several measures towards synchronizing the domestic laws and regulations during the reporting period, keeping in mind the standard definition of child. Not only there are several laws and regulations relating to children, they also are different in many respects including age of child. Moreover, there are socio-political, cultural and religious reasons behind it.
71.The age of criminal responsibility has been raised to 9 from 7 years (Penal Code Amendment Act, 2004). The Mines (Amendment) Act, 2004 has revised the age of children who can be engaged in Mines from 15 years to 18 years to conform to the CRC. As per the Court of Wards (Amendment) Act, 2006, any orphaned child who has reached 18 years has now the right to claim the property or sell it which he/she is supposed to be legally inheriting. Previously the age was 21. A child labour policy dealing, inter alia, rationalizing age of child and child labour is under active consideration of approval. The age for admission to employment under different existing laws varies from 14 to 18 years under the new labour law, enacted in 2006, However, it permits a person of 14 years to get into employment with certificates from medical persons about his age and fitness. Under the existing law, the minimum age of marriage of a girl is 18 and a boy is 21. A Committee headed by Ministry of Social Welfare (MoSW) has been formed to monitor the implementation of Children Act 1974 involving all concerned Ministries and Departments and Organizations.
B. Legal review and strengthening of policies and legal measures
72.Bangladesh Supreme Court, consisting of High Court and Appellate Divisions, is the highest legal body in the country. Criminal and civil courts operate at the Zila (district) level. The State party has been working to separate the Judiciary from the Executive. In recent days the process is accelerated. Some Rules have already been framed and necessary amendments in the Code of Criminal Procedures, 1896 have been made. There is existence of local salish (mediation mechanism) since long.
73.There are a number of laws related to children in Bangladesh. These do not provide a consistent definition of a child. These laws are yet to be revised to bring in a unified definition. Each law has specific objective and it is difficult to synchronize ages in different laws. A high powered Committee has been formed to review and harmonize the national laws in line with CRC. The Secretaries of Ministry of Home Affairs, MoWCA, Ministry of Social Welfare, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Ministry of Education, and Ministry of Land are important members of the committee. The committee has identified five laws for revision. The Laws identified for review are as follows:
Court of Wards Act of 1879;