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3 September, 2015 00:00 00 AM
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Say No to Child Abuse

Y&I Desk
Say No to Child Abuse

Samiul Islam Rajon , a 13-year old boy,  was mercilessly beaten to death on July 8 this year. The ghastly incident took place on 8th July in Kumargaon, Sylhet. Someone videoed the brutality on the mobile phone and uploaded the same into social media which triggered public anger.
   Some people hit the helpless boy with iron stick in the head, feet, joints of legs and shoulders. Over 64 marks had been found in his body. The locals spotted them while trying to dump the body carrying it through a micro bus and somehow managed to catch one of them. Police recovered the body from the microbus. Muhit Alam, his brother Kamrul Islam , Moyna Mia and Ali Haider were mainly accused for the brutal murder. Kamrul Islam was spotted in Jeddah and was handed over to Jeddah Police. After a few days, on August 3, a 12-year old Rakib Hawlader of Khulna was tortured to death for allegedly going to work for their competitors.
  The killer pushed air into his belly by putting the compressor pipe into his anus.  As air was being pumped into Rakib Hawlader’s body, around the evening of the day, the boy pleaded to his tormentor to stop, or else he would die. But his pleas fell on deaf ears, as motor garage owner Omar Sharif, his mother Beauty Begum and a man Mintu Mia continued to pump air into his body. Although the 12-year old boy was rescued and taken to the Khulna Medical College and Hospital, he died. The incident was one of the latest in a series of child murders in Bangladesh, which have shocked the nation.  
Child abuse has become rampant that plagues the social and economic infrastructure of the Third World countries all over the world, especially in Africa and Southeast Asia. According to the World Health Organization child maltreatment, sometimes referred to as child abuse and neglect, includes all forms of physical and emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect, and exploitation that result in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, development or dignity. A study conducted by members from several Baltic and Eastern European countries, together with specialists from the United States, examined the causes of child abuse in the countries of Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia and Moldova. In these countries, 33 per cent, 42 per cent, 18 per cent and 43 per cent of children respectively reported at least one type of child abuse.
In Bangladesh a large number of children are deprived of their basic human rights due to unacceptable health, nutrition and education as well as social conditions. Apart from this, children are suffering physical and mental violence at homes, educational institutions, work places and even at public places. The nature and level of violence against children is increasing little by little. Therefore, children are not safe anywhere even though government and non-government organizations are trying to ensure the rights of the children.
According to child rights group Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum (BSAF) at least 154 children were killed in the South Asian country between January and June, this year. In 2014, 292 children were murdered while the number was 180 in 2013. The BSAF said that in Bangladesh at least 191 children were killed till this July, 350 in 2014, 218 in 2013 and 209 in 2012. They also mentioned that the rate of children being killed in the country had increased by 61 per cent in 2014 than that of the previous year.
A study report by Odhikar , a leading human rights organisation of the country, said that the main reason for violence against children could be the conflict of interest and power between adults and children. Adults in Bangladesh usually tend to impose their choices on children without taking into consideration children’s expectations or opinions. If children do not want to follow adult’s decision they are likely to suffer abusive behavior, physical punishment and other forms of cruelty from adults. Most adults do not recognise the ability of children to express their opinions and have a role in household decision making. Lack of awareness about child rights among most of the adults could also be considered as one of the contributing factors towards the incidents of violence against children. Some reasons for child abuse are given below :

Lack of awareness about child rights

Although children are very much welcome in our personal and family life, most adults do not have adequate knowledge about the rights of the children. As a result, in most cases, adults’ behavior towards children is not always supportive of the welfare and overall development of the children. Children are also unable to protest against the violation of their rights as they are not fully empowered to do the same.

Adults’ negative attitude towards children

Adults do not usually see children as responsible opinionated human beings. Rather they consider children as fully dependent on others. It is easy for adults to forget the potential that children have and their special needs as children.

Lack of opportunity for children to express opinions

The right to express opinions is one of the fundamental rights of children recognised by national and international provisions. However, in reality, children usually do not get the opportunity to share their own feelings on matters that have a direct or indirect effect on their lives. Adults have a general feeling that children are not capable to form their opinions regarding good and bad things and thus impose decisions on children, which sometimes turn to an act of violence against children.

Lack of proper implementation of the laws relating to children

Most of the time laws against children abuse are not being implemented properly. It is one of the major reasons for causing violence against children. In most cases, the criminal easily escapes the judicial procedure. The other major and pathetic thing is that most of the child victims are from poor families; therefore they cannot afford long process of justice.

Non-availability of children’s own organizations

There is no strong and effective children’s organisation, especially in the rural areas, through which children could mobilise themselves in order to protest against violent activities. There is also a lack of coordination among the existing children’s organisations.

Poverty

Due to the poor economic condition at family level, many children are exposed to abusive behavior and physical torture by their parents. In some cases, failing to provide basic necessities parents force their children into income earning activities at a very early age, which in turn exposes  children to various violent situations.

S.M. Abul Kalam Azad, Associate Professor & Chairman, Department of Clinical Psychology, University of Dhaka,  told the Y&I that first of all people need to identify why people are abusing children  and then what would be the way to get rid of it.

He told, “According to me, there are several reasons behind child abuse. For example, socio-political and economic condition is a big factor. Also there are multiple influences, where the common phenomenon is mental disorder and lack of moral values. Also it has been seen that a person who has  abused earlier, he became abuser. A few anti-social factors are there as well. For example, some people used to get entertainment by abusing child. They don’t have any regret rather they think what they are doing is good or right.”

The children of Bangladesh has a special law for them, the Children Act, was enacted in 1974 which was quite early in comparison with the emergence of the UNCRC in 1990. The Children Act 1974 provides almost all necessary rules and regulations in order to protect the rights of the children of Bangladesh. It is inopportune that all those things are yet to be fully executed. Proper execution of the laws are supposed to resist the violence against children. It has been observed that in most cases, the perpetrators easily escape the judicial procedure.
In this regard Abul Kalam Azad said, “ Due to lack of implementation of law and order, those people think they will not be punished. So they get inspired to do so again without any hesitation. And those people who are politically influential and powerful do not have any fear to be punished, because they know they will get rid of any obstacle easily. Considering these kind of things, I believe child abuse is occurring and increasing day by day. To stem this situation, first of all we need to improve the law and order system. The security system including the police vigilance needs to be improved and allowed to function neutrally. Then the number of crimes will come down. The abusers who are mentally sick need rehabilitation. Punishment cannot correct them, they need proper treatment. The government, law enforcement agencies, media and other relevant institutions need to be more strong and careful. Then people will get justice and no child will be abused.” 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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