Promoting Child Rights

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Political promises made to children in election manifestoes

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Jamil Mahmud

political violenceBoth Awami League (AL) and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), the leading political parties in the country, declared several points regarding women and children development in their 2008 and 2001 election manifestos.
Awami League Election Manifesto 2008
In the 2008 manifesto, AL chalked out issues to develop in sectors like health and family welfare, empowerment of women, welfare of children and juvenile as well as sports and culture.
The party which formed the government with the manifesto promised to work in order to ensure proper nutrition to children and mothers.
AL also stated to update the population policy and take measures to ensure birth control and reproductive health care.
In order to ensure women empowerment and equality in rights and opportunities, the Women Development Policy formulated by Awami League in 1997 will be revived, the manifesto noted.
For the children and juvenile welfare, the political party promised to work on child labour issues.
The manifesto reads:
Child labour will be gradually abolished in all sectors. Use of children in political and other activities through coercion or enticement will be prohibited. In line with the UN convention on children rights, adequate measures will be taken for developing their physical and mental capacity and for their nutrition and entertainment.
For mental and physical developments of the children, adolescent and young, AL promised to make sports and exercise compulsory at all education institutions.
In the manifesto, AL also set milestones for women and children developments.
It said to achieve 100 percent student enrolment at primary level within 2010. It also included achieving infant mortality rate coming down at 15 from 54 per thousand and reducing maternal death rate at 1.5 percent from 3.8 percent within 2021.
BNP Election Manifesto 2008
The BNP manifesto for the ninth Parliamentary election consisted of several points related to children and women developments. If the party achieve power it would ensure that in next five years no children are remaining away from school.
BNP promised to take effective measures to increase women’s participation at policy making level, empowerment and dignity.
They would give priority in recruiting women at different professions and facilitate with loans at small interest for those women who are involved in entrepreneurship and self employment.
Eligible women from rural areas would be given priority in recruiting employees at public services for rural level.
The party will take extensive programmes to reduce children and women trafficking, eliminate dowry system and acid violence from the society.
BNP manifesto reads that maternal and child deaths will be minimised significantly, while children will be prevented from being abused in political activities.
Proper initiatives regarding women’s participation in Parliament and other sectors will be taken.
Effective programmes will be launched to stop child labour, especially hazardous jobs children involved in. For children’s proper physical and mental growth, required sports equipment will be provided in educational institutions.
AL Election Manifesto 2001
AL stated several points regarding women empowerment and child rights in its 2001 election manifesto.
The party noted:
In society and elsewhere in the state, policy and implementation programmes taken earlier by Awami League to establish equal rights, opportunity and dignity of women will continue.
Women’s participation in national development programmes and at policy making level will be ensured.
To abolish gender inequality as well as empower women, new plans will be taken in lines with the UN declaration and Beijing forum for women.
Reserved seats in the Parliament would be increased to 60. Constituency for a reserved seat would consist of five regular constituencies, while women MPs will earn seats through direction election.
AL would give priory women education. It would take stern action to stop violence against women as well as children and women trafficking.
More dormitories for working women would be built in district headquarters.
As per UN treaty for child rights, necessary steps will be taken in the country to save child rights and building up them as future citizens.
For poor and destitute children, child welfare board will be constituted and free education will be provided.
BNP Election Manifesto 2001
Prosperous future of the country lies beneath the development of the children, BNP stated in its 2001 election manifesto.
The party, which won the election with the manifesto, vowed to ensure a safe society for children where they would grow up healthy and literate.
The party articulated some points in the manifesto:
It said to initiate and further strengthen the vaccination programme for children. Extensive programme will be launched to reduce child mortality.
BNP also promised to launch extensive programmes to reduce maternal deaths.
It wanted to enhance programmes regarding ensuring nutrition for children. BNP wanted to take steps to ensure primary education for all children.
The manifesto articulates steps regarding abolishing child labour from the country.
In this chord, initiatives for welfare of working, street, poor children as well as children with disabilities will be taken.
All kinds of laws against child abuse and for welfare will be formulated and implemented properly.

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