Share and Enjoy
Although rampant use of children in violent political activities has become a common phenomenon in Bangladesh, there is no particular provision in the recently passed Child Act-2013 prohibiting use of children in politics.
The section No. 79 of the act prohibits use of children in carrying firearms or illegal materials or using them in violence or criminal activities.
The perpetrator, who will use children in these activities, will be punished with maximum three years of imprisonment or maximum Tk 1 lakh fine or both.
But no provision can be found regarding prohibition of children in political activities like using them in processions, rallies or any other activity that may put children in hazardous situations.
During last few months, it was noticed that children were used as human shield keeping them in front of the procession or different violent activities to avert police action.
Moreover, many children died in clashes between Jamaat-Shibir men and law enforcers.
For example, Asgar Ali Limon aged around 14 was killed in Chapainawabganj on April 24; Sazzad Hossain aged around 17 killed in Cox’s Bazar and Rubel aged around 13 in Thakurgoan on February 28; Shahidul Islam aged around 15 at Satkania on March 2; Akmal Hossain aged around 14 in Rangpur on March 2; Rafiqul Islam aged around 12 in Rajshahi on March 3 and Mahfuz Hossain aged around 15 in Sirajganj on March 4, according to newspaper reports.
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Full Time Member Kazi Reazul Hoque said they proposed to incorporate a separate provision specifically prohibiting use of child in politics.
“But I do not know why the provision has been dropped from the act,” he wondered.
However, Social Welfare Secretary Suraiya Begum said there is a provision in the act that prohibits using of children in any sorts of ‘unethical’ activities.
This provision will cover the area of using children in politics, she added.
Talking to The Daily Star, Shabnaaz Zahereen, Child Protection Specialist of UNICEF, Bangladesh, said there should be separate provisions specifically prohibiting use of children from politics to check abuse of them for political purpose.