Unicef lauds release of 345 detained children in Bangladesh


6th May, 2021 02:15:45 PM printer

Unicef lauds release of 345 detained children in Bangladesh

Unicef on Thursday commended the recent release of 345 children from detention centres in Bangladesh by virtual courts.

“This marks an important step towards children’s access to justice in Bangladesh and places the protection, safety and best interests of children first,” said Unicef Representative in Bangladesh Tomoo Hozumi on the release of the children from detention centres.

The Bangladesh Supreme Court established the use of virtual courts in May 2020 with support from Unicef.

Since then, over 1,400 children have been released from detention centres thanks to virtual courts. Less than 0.5 per cent of these children have reoffended following their release.

“Detention takes its heavy toll on children’s mental and physical health so unnecessary institutionalisation must be avoided. Unicef calls for the introduction of non-custodial solutions for children who are victims, witnesses or accused of crimes,” Hozumi said in the statement.

The Unicef Representative in Bangladesh said all children who can safely return to their families or appropriate alternative care should be released from detention centres.

“This is particularly important during the current pandemic lockdown when centre staffing is limited and children face heightened risk of infection, neglect and abuse in the overcrowded detention centres.

Hozumi said Bangladesh has demonstrated a strong leadership during the pandemic by embracing judicial reforms for the benefit of children and their rights. “We must continue to build on this momentum by expediting child-related cases which are pending in the justice system and keeping thousands of children in detention.”

Unicef lends its full support to the government of Bangladesh, the Supreme Court Special Committee on Child Rights, and the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs to improve children’s access to justice, Hozumi added.

“By strengthening the application of the Children’s Act 2013, we can prevent child detention in Bangladesh, including at the police level.”