Sunday, January 29, 2012
Ignorance of different sides of the child act is responsible for the violation of child rights, speakers said at a seminar yesterday and suggested that law enforcement agencies should scrutinise the young people’s age before proceeding with any legal action.
Saying that a child could get bail even in non-bailable offences, Justice Iman Ali advised law enforcers to check different sources of information, including birth registration, ration card or parents’ marriage documents to find out the juvenile’s age even if it takes some time.
“Though any child under nine years of age will not be accused in any crime, children of six and eight years of age are confined in jail”, he said, quoting data of Bangladesh Human Rights Foundation (BHRF).
A total of 274 under-six children are staying with their mothers in different jails while 41 others below 18 years of age are detained in different cases, according to a letter sent by the home ministry to BHRF.
Against this backdrop, Justice Iman Ali suggested setting up of safe homes in every district to provide children suitable place to stay in.
BHRF organised the seminar on experience sharing on the lack of proper implementation of the child act in the city’s Biam auditorium.
BHRF chairperson Alena Khan said BHRF in its investigation had found scratches at the place of age on different documents, including charge sheet and first information report of a case.
Mentioning that law enforcers often send to jail juvenile delinquents in want of accommodation, she said a separate cell should be opened at every police station to keep them away from adult criminals.
She also recommended that information about the child act be kept hung at different government and private offices and institutions to make people familiar with it.
Executive Director of Manusher Jonno Foundation Shaheen Anam said children were being deprived of their rights at every stage. “Street children are tortured mostly by police”, she said, calling upon the participants to make a pledge for protecting children in the country.
Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police Mili Biswas said police often do not get birth certificates or necessary documents, which creates difficulties in fixing the juveniles’ age. Police should be given extensive education on child issues during training, she observed.
Mili Biswas also stressed the need for coordinated efforts of stakeholders to ensure proper implementation of the child act.