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Rights body: Child deaths in road accidents doubled in a year

  • Published at 08:49 pm March 31st, 2019
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Members of Child Rights Advocacy Coalition in Bangladesh at a press conference at Dhaka Reporters Unity, Dhaka on Sunday, March 31, 2019 Dhaka Tribune

The child rights situation in terms of sexual violence is also alarming

The number of child casualties almost doubled last year from the previous year, with 627 children killed in road accidents in 2018.  

Child Rights Advocacy Coalition in Bangladesh released the findings at a press conference on Sunday.

The study found that the number of deaths in 2018 was 75.63% higher than the 357 deaths in 2017.

The annual report of the coalition on child rights situation in Bangladesh also revealed that there is a rise in the number of unnatural deaths of children.

Abdulla Al Mamun, director of Child Rights Governance and Child Protection of Save the Children, said the way the number of child road crash victims is rising, we can add it to child rights violation.

“A total of 153 children were killed in road accidents in the last three months,” he said.

Despite last year’s massive nationwide road safety movement, Bangladesh has continued to witness a large number of road accidents.

The whole nation was rocked by student protests demanding road safety after students took to the streets across the country in August, following the deaths of two students who were run over by a bus on Airport Road in Dhaka.

2,354 children faced unnatural deaths

On the other hand, a total of 2,354 children fell victims to unnatural deaths, which included murder, abduction, drowning, political violence and suicide. 

The child rights situation in terms of sexual violence is also alarming.  

A total of 571 children were raped. Among them, 94 were gang raped, 28 were disabled and six committed suicide.

Experts said sex offenders are now using digital platforms to lure children into sexual abuse.   Moreover, the Digital Security Act-2018 does not have a section for online sexual harassment of children.

Demand to stop child labour

National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Chairman Kazi Reazul Hoque said the number of child abuse cases will drop significantly if child labour is stopped.

He recommended setting up separate child courts to speed up trials in child abuse cases.

“We live in a country with around 70 million children. Setting up separate courts for child abuse cases will help expedite the trial of cases stuck in the pipeline,” he said. 

The coalition experts also said sexual violence survivors usually face greater stigma in the society, police station and courtroom after reporting their abuse. That is why they are reluctant to file a complaint.

Recommendation

The coalition recommended forming an independent and neutral child rights commission, and giving the commission the authority to monitor everything regarding child rights violations.

They also urged the government to reconsider the special provision of Child Marriage Restraint Act-2017, which allows marriage for girls under 18 in ‘special cases’ with parental and judicial consent.

Abdulla Al Mamun, of Save the Children, shed light on the importance of changing people’s perspective on child abuse.

“People worry about their children being safe and unharmed. They do everything possible to protect their children. But ironically, they are not bothered about keeping a minor as their house help,” said Mamun.