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CRC/C/BGD/4

page 87

identified as crucial because the Children Act, in some respects, fails to fully reflect the principles of CRC. The Government has taken initiative to establish 4 juvenile sessions courts at Divisional levels. A new National Social Policy on Models of Care and Protection for Children in Contact with the Law has been drafted to address children in conflict with the law.

381.There has been a visible judicial activism in the area of juvenile justice that culminated in the recent judgement in a case by the High Court Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh that considered all international instruments on juvenile justice and the juvenile justice legislations of other countries including the draft South African Child Justice Bill. The Judge, while delivering the judgement observed that, Bangladesh is duty bound to reflect the provisions of UNCRC in laws. He has urged the legislator to enact laws in conformity with UNCRC. In the criminal appeal that emerged from a death sentence of a 15-year old boy, the Court set aside the penalty and provided a ten-point guideline for law reform in the area of juvenile justice. The Court also asked the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs to take initiative to formulate appropriate legislation in line with the views expressed in the judgement.

382.While the Suo Moto Rule passed by High Court Division in 2003, the total number of Children in confinement was 1303 in 57 Jail all over the country (Source: Save the Children, UK). Gradually by the Government interventions through the inter-ministerial committee and later on by National Task Force District Task Force (headed by Deputy Commissioner) and Upazila Task Force (headed by Upazial Nirbahi Officer) the number decreased to 395 in June (Source: SCF UK).

Children deprived of their liberty, including any form of detention, imprisonment or placement in custodial settings

383.The Children Act, 1974 and the Children Rules, 1976 provides, among others, protection of children who come in conflict with the law; however, they are not always effectively enforced. Since the Vagrancy Act, 1943 lays down no limit to the period of detention; children are detained arbitrarily for long periods of time until they are produced before the Magistrate. Moreover, the Vagrancy Act 1943 is devoid of any provision allowing legal representation on behalf of the arrested person. Consequently, a neglected and homeless child is also deprived of the right to defend him/herself in a legal system, which, under the best of conditions, tends to be unjust.

384.Arrest: Children in Bangladesh can be arrested on ground of committing specific offences; on suspicion of involvement in a criminal act; and/or being a vagrant. Police is authorized to arrest without warrant under provisions of different laws.

385.Children also come into contact with the law when they breach some penal laws of the land in the form of carrying drugs, arms, engage in theft and becoming uncontrollable. They are likely to be apprehended by law enforcing agencies. These are but some of the ways children come into contact with the justice system comprising the police, the courts, the detention centres and rehabilitation institutes.

386.Detention following arrest: Children, after arrest, are taken to Police Stations (PS) and kept until sending to court. The police is required by the Children Act, 1974 to inform the parents/guardian immediately after arrest. Police is empowered by the Act to enlarge arrested

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