exists tradition of providing refuge to persons fleeing from their own countries whose human rights are violated there. Support of fundamental human rights and freedoms are guaranteed in the Constitution for instance, asserts that the State shall support oppressed people throughout the world waging a just struggle against imperialism or racism.
130.In 1991/92 some 250,000 Rohinga people from Myanmar sought refuge in Bangladesh. They were given prima facie refugee status and provided with protection and assistance, along with their children with the support of United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). However, among other supports, birth registration of Rohingya refugee children is being properly done.
131.Biharies are the non-Bengali population, most of them opted for Pakistan and migrated from the Indian state of Bihar to the former East Pakistan before and after independence of India and Pakistan. On the emergence of Bangladesh following the War of Independence in 1971, the Urdu speaking Biharies again opted for Pakistan. The children of the “Biharies” represent the largest group of stateless children in Bangladesh.
D. Freedom of expression
132.The press in Bangladesh is very large, active and keen on development issues. Bangladesh enjoys a reasonably free print media with hundreds of daily and weekly publications providing a forum for wide range of views. Press here also enjoys a strong lobbying role and has the potential to play an important part in setting the agenda for development and political issues. The Bangladesh press is very supportive to children’s causes and devotes considerable space on reporting child rights and development issues. An initiative called Shishu Prakash, a children’s news agency which empowers 640 young reporters through out the country.
133.Apart from government-owned Radio (Bangladesh Betar) and Bangladesh Television (BTV) there exists private radio and satellite channels. Around 10 private TV channels and 4 radio stations (FM band) are in operation, including a good number of international ones. Radio is still very popular in rural areas and is probably the only medium that reaches the grass root people in times of emergency and disasters. Bangladesh Betar has 10 stations nationwide. BTV is the state owned channel and therefore pursues the government development policies and programmes. BTV still has the largest audience in Bangladesh estimated at more than 50 percent. BTV telecasts programmes on rights of children in collaboration with different agencies. BTV airs 25-minute daily programmes and 3 to 5 minutes of public service spots on priority messages for children and women. BTV programmes have increased child participation. BTV produced public service spot on Vitamin A Plus and also airs regularly Meena episodes.
134.In recent years UNICEF, ILO, USAID and organizations working with children have taken initiatives to strengthen partnership with private satellite channels in the country, covering, among others, the issues of child labour, child rights, birth registration, girls’ education and others. A UNICEF sponsored documentary produced by ATN Bangla won the prestigious Emmy Award in 2004. Also efforts are underway to launch a Children Television Foundation to build institutional capacity for high quality children’s programming on television channels.