Last edited: November 2005
Summary and Analysis
Bangladesh ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in August of 1990. Under the Bangladesh Constitution, all ratified international treaties must be laid before Parliament by the President. It is unclear from the Constitution what actions Parliament is meant to take towards international treaties, but it does not appear that the Convention was ever formally laid before Parliament.
The two main pieces of legislation in Bangladesh that deal with children involved in legal proceedings are the Children Act of 1974 and the Children Rules of 1976. The Children Act implies that children are to be in attendance in any court proceeding they may be involved in, presumably to be addressed by the Court. The Court can, however, dispense with the attendance of the child at any stage of a proceeding in which it deems that the child's presence is not essential.
The laws do not include provisions for representation of children in protective proceedings. An abused or neglected child may be brought before a Juvenile Court by a Probation Officer, appropriately ranked police officer, or other person so authorized by the government. The Probation Officer's duties include meeting with, advising, assisting, and befriending the child. Although not explicitly stated in the Children Act, it appears that the Probation Officer is the primary individual who is legally mandated to look out for the welfare and interests of the child. The Juvenile Courts are also charged with considering the interests of the child when making any decision or order concerning the child.
There are two policy-making bodies in Bangladesh that are responsible for overseeing and enforcing children's rights and protection laws: the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, created in 1994, and the National Council on Children, created in 1995.
Despite our efforts, we were unable to locate a knowledgeable contact person in Bangladesh.
Sources of Law (In Order of Authority)
The Children Act
Part II, Section 11
Dispensing with attendance of child.If at any stage during the hearing of a case or proceeding, the Court is satisfied that the attendance of a child is not essential for the purpose of the hearing of the case or proceeding, the Court may dispense with his attendance and proceed with the hearing of the case or of the proceeding in the absence of the child.
The Children Act
Part II, Section 15
Factors to be taken into consideration in passing orders by Court.For the purpose of any order which a Court has to pass under this Act, the Court shall have regard to the following factors:
(a) the character and age of the child;
(b) the circumstances in which the child is living;
(c) the reports made by the Probation Officer; and
(d) such other matters as may, in the opinion of the Court, require to be taken into consideration in the interest of the child.
The Children Act
Part IV, Section 31
Appointment of Probation Officers....(3) A Probation Officer shall, subject to the rules made under this Act and to the directions of the Court
(a) visit or receive visits from the child at reasonable intervals;
(b) see that the relative of the child or the person to whose care such child is committed observes the conditions of the bond;
(c) report to the Court as to the behaviour of the child;
(d) advise, assist and befriend the child and, where necessary, endeavor to find him suitable employment;
(e) perform any other duty which may be prescribed.
The Children Act
Part V, Section 32
Children found homeless, destitute etc.(1) A Probation Officer or a Police Officer not below the rank of Sub-Inspector of Police or any other person authorised by the Government in this behalf may bring before a Juvenile Court or a court empowered under section 4 any person who, in his opinion, is a child and who
(a) has no home, settled place of abode or visible means of subsistence, or no parent or guardian exercising regular and proper guardianship; or
(b) is found begging or is found doing for a consideration any act under circumstances contrary to the wellbeing of the child; or
(c) is found destitute and his parent or other guardian is undergoing transportation or imprisonment; or
(d) is under the care of a parent or guardian who habitually neglects or cruelly ill-treats the child; or
7. Committing destitute, neglected or victimised children to the care of a relative or other fit person.(1) If the Court is satisfied that a child brought before it under sub-section (1) of section 32 should be committed to the care of a relative or other fir person, such relative or fit person, shall be directed in writing to express his willingness to take care of the child on such conditions as may be specified by the Court.
(3) The Court may, if it thinks fit in the interests of the child, withdraw the child from the care of the relative or fit person any time before the expiry of the period for which the child was committed to his care and make an order for committing the child to a certified institute or approved home for the unexpired period.
Additional Resources and Links
The Children Trust: http://www.childrentrust.org/index.htm
The Ministry of Women and Children Affairs: http://www.mwca.gov.bd/about.htm
 Article 145A, Constitution of the People's Republic of Bangladesh (16 Dec. 1972), available at http://www.minlaw.gov.bd/constitutionindex_main.htm.
 Official translation from the Department of Social Services, Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh. We were unable to find the Bangla text of the Constitution and statutes discussed on this page.
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