In 2018, at least 418 children were murdered while 4,566 others faced violence and attacks across the country, says a report on state of child rights in Bangladesh compiled by Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum.
BSAF, a network of 269 NGOs working for child rights, released the report at a press conference at Dhaka Reporters’ Unity auditorium in the capital Wednesday.
The report was prepared by compiling and reviewing reports published by 15 national dailies from January 1 to December 31, 2018.
Besides, 298 children committed suicide, 627 were killed in road accidents, 606 died by drowning, 80 were killed by lightning strikes, 60 were electrocuted, 46 died due to wrong treatment and seven others were killed in inland water way accidents.
The report reveals that 61 children were murdered in the capital the highest in the country and with the murder of 27 children Narayanganj took the 2nd berth during the year under review.
It said that at least 812 children were sexually assaulted, 570 children were abducted and later rescued, 262 were tortured, 396 were assaulted and 172 became victims of child marriage and other child rights violations during the year.
The report says that the incidence of violence against children increased by 18.75 per cent in 2018 compared to 2017 while the number of murdered children increased by 23.30 per cent, said BSAF director Abdus Shahid Mahmood.
The incidents of physical attacks increased by 71.43 per cent and that of abductions, disappearances and rescue by 31.64 per cent but the incidents of raping and sexual assaults decreased by 9.17 per cent, he said.
He called it regrettable that in 2018, newspapers reported that courts gave verdicts in only 31 child murder cases and 50 sexual assault cases amply indicating the country’s culture of impunity and lengthy trial process.
’Though we achieved progress in many areas, we are still lagging behind with regard to protecting children’s rights’, said National Human Rights Commission chairman Kazi Reazul Hoque, though 45 per cent of the country’s total population were children.
He called upon government to form a Child Department and a Child Commission immediately to protect the future generation from all sorts of violations. Chaired by BSAF chairperson Khawaja Shamsul Huda, UNDP human rights programme chief technical advisor Sharmeela Rassool also spoke.