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CRC/C/BGD/4

page 85

of violence or abuse, children can complain directly to UNHCR or NGO field staff. Counselling is also given where appropriate. The vulnerable unaccompanied refugee children and women are given safety and security in the camps. Children, both accompanied and unaccompanied, are registered at birth or at the time of arrival.

Children in armed conflicts including physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration

369.Bangladesh has ratified the Optional Protocol to the CRC on the involvement of the Children in Armed Conflict. Bangladesh submitted its report on the Protocol, defended the same and recently received concluding observation on it.

370.Bangladesh does not allow its under-18 citizens to serve in the positions in armed forces, police, Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) and Ansar (Auxiliary Force) and Village Defence Party (VDP). Persons are recruited in the armed forces on strictly voluntary basis. Moreover, the recruits like officer of Commissioned Rank of Bangladesh Army, Cadets of Bangladesh Navy and Flight Cadets of Bangladesh Air Force undergo training of two years before they are employed for actual services. No one is recruited in Police, VDP and Ansar at an age below 18 years.

371.School curricula include issues on human rights to strengthen a culture of peace and tolerance. The text books, for example of Grade-V, also have a separate chapter on “World Peace and the United Nations”.

372.After decades of insurgency, tension in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) has substantially reduced after signing the Peace Accord in 1997. Many organizations have started working with the hill people, including children, to bring peace and prosperity in the area.

C.  Children in conflict with the law

The administration of juvenile justice

373.The Children Act, 1974 and the Children Rules, 1976 are the principal legal instruments governing the administration of juvenile justice in Bangladesh. They deal with children in conflict with law and the children in need of protection. The Government has made various efforts to put juvenile justice issues on the agenda, but still much more needs to be done.

374.The age of criminal responsibility has been recently raised from 7 to 9 years. Criminal liability of children between the ages 9 and 12 years is subject to judicial assessment of their capacity to understand the nature and consequences of their actions. In a country where birth registration is some 10 percent, it is very likely that children in conflict with law are often deprived of age-appropriate protections. Moreover, the current protections for children in contact with juvenile justice system do not extend to all children under the age of 18. Under the Children Act, 1974 “child’ and “youthful offender” are defined as a person under the age of 16.

375.There are three integrated juvenile correction centres in Bangladesh, each comprising a permanent Juvenile Court. They are known as Kishor Unnayan Kendra (KUK). They have a

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