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Dhaka Tribune

'Child abuse, rape cases must be handled by speedy trial tribunals'

The organizations made the demand at a press conference held at the National Press Club in Dhaka on Monday

Update : 14 Oct 2019, 08:15 PM

Rights based organizations have called for dealing with child abuse, and rape cases through special speedy trial tribunals.

The organizations made the demand at a press conference held at the National Press Club in Dhaka on Monday, on the eve of the International Rural Women's Day, read a press release.

According to the organizers, child sexual abuse, and rape are increasing at an alarming rate. In the first six months of this year, reports of sexual abuse, and rape of children are at par with incidents of the past year. In most of these cases, children have been abused by relatives, close relatives, or neighbours.

Speakers suggested that these cases be tried in a speedy trial tribunal; otherwise it would not be possible to reduce the crime.

Tamanna Rahman, member of the National Committee said, in the last six months, 572 children have been raped, and sexually assaulted across the country. Twenty-three children, including a boy child, were killed after the rape. A total of 3 children were sexually assaulted. The numbers were calculated based on news reports from various media. Research shows that about 75% of children are sexually harassed by family, friends, or relatives. In most cases, child sexual abuse occur at home, by relatives or family friends, at school or through school, and in familiar surroundings. Generally, children of poorer households are more likely to be victims of sexual abuse. There is no family protection, or no idea of security. Apart from these, children are soft, non-violent, and can be silenced even without invoking fear; parents are more concerned about keeping their children quiet due to concerns of respectability, and family honour.

Speakers demand for speedy trial tribunals for child abuse, rape cases during a press conference held in Dhaka on the eve of the International Rural Women’s Day on Monday, October 14, 2019 | Courtesy

National Committee Chairperson Syeda Shamima Sultana said, a child should be informed about three important places in their body, such as the lips, and genitals, and that they should shout or scream should anyone touch them in those places.  

She added that according to psychiatric doctors, children who have been tortured have suffered various types of physical, and mental problems later in life. Some, in turn, also become sexual oppressors. Because these children are in trauma, they need special services.

Prof Momtaz Begum, Advocate, chairman of the National Women's Organization (Jatiyo Mahila Sangstha), said, children’s voices should be listened to, by making a friendly relationship with the children. We need to create a normal environment for them by ensuring necessary security, and protection. She also said, Jatiyo Mahila Sangstha is working in all 64 districts of Bangladesh, and we will work together with this National Committee on the Observation of the International Rural Women Day, to promote women and children's rights.  

The press conference was moderated by Ferdous Ara Rumee, secretariat coordinator of the National Committee.

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