Since Bangladesh’s ratification of the CRC in August 1990, the country has been fulfilling its commitment to establish rights of the child in different fronts. The country participated in the World Summit for Children in 1990 and committed itself to all-round development of children of the country. Bangladesh also participated actively in the UN General Assembly Special Session on Children, held in May 2002, and has submitted the five-year progress report on “A World Fit For Children” in December 2006.
It has been recognized that children are vulnerable and do not have their own political voice and hence they need constant state intervention. Bangladesh Constitution lays down the general principles regarding the protection of children and elders from all forms of discrimination. According to article 28(4) of the Constitution, “Nothing shall prevent the State from making special provision in favour of women and children or for the advancement of any backward section of citizens”. Positive development has taken place in the area of law and human rights. Several laws have been enacted to combat violations of human rights in specific contexts. These include The Suppression of Violence against Women and Children 2000 (amended in 2003), The Acid Control Act 2002, The Acid Crimes Prevention Act, 2002, Law and Order Disruption Crimes (Speedy Trial) Act, 2002 and The Disability Welfare Act 2001.
Bangladesh prepared three National Plans of Action (NPA) in 1990, 1999 and 2005 to fulfil its commitment to children. The Government, UNICEF, other development partners, NGOs, private sector and civil society in general continue to support children’s causes in different ways. The country, as a result, has made significant improvements in a number of social indicators, including reduction of under-five mortality rates, infant mortality rates, improvement in school enrolment, iodization of salt, immunization coverage, vitamin A supplementation coverage and safe drinking water supply. Disparity between boys and girls in most indicators has been eliminated.
Bangladesh’s third NPA for Children, 2005-2010, is not only the outcome of a commitment to the CRC, but it also embodies the accountability as per various international conferences held during the 1990s. These include the World Conference on Education for All, United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, World Conference on Human Rights, International Conference on Population and Development, Conference on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing Declaration), World Summit for Social Development and the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements. These conferences were the inspiration for the Millennium Declaration in 2000 and the adoption of the MDG. Many goals are specific to the state of children and women, providing a direct link between the development and welfare of children and women.
Bangladesh is fully committed to achieve the MDGs. In this respect the Government has initiated activities to set the foundations for such a process. The preparation of the Unlocking the Potential: National Strategy for Accelerated Poverty Reduction (NSAPR), commonly known as Poverty Reduction Strategic Paper (PRSP), in 2004 is an expression of Government’s efforts to address poverty and co-ordinate different sectors to efficiently respond to the needs of the most disadvantaged. In the NSAPR, there is explicit reference to the Constitutional obligation of the State for developing and sustaining a society in which the basic needs of people are met. The