Extremely low rate of rape case disposal; verdicts pronounced for 164 cases against 3,136 reported incidents of child rapes since 2015
Incidents of child rapes doubled in 2019 from that of 2018 in Bangladesh with three children falling victims of rape each day last year.
And all these happened in a climate of delayed justice delivery – where verdicts pronounced in only 27 rape cases in 2019, show statistics provided by a child rights group on Wednesday.
Since 2015, a total of 3,136 child rape incidents were reported of which justice has been dispensed in only 164 cases so far, said Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum (BSAF). BSAF published the findings in a report titled –"State of Child Rights in Bangladesh 2019" at a press conference held at National Press Club on Wednesday.
It said, a total of 1,005 children were raped in 2019. On an average, that is around three (2.75) children per day. In 2018, at least 571 cases of child rapes were reported.
Of the victim children, 47 were killed after rape, and 108 were gang raped. Forty four of them were children with physical challenges. Some 133 of them were aged between one to six years.
Meanwhile, the amount of sexual harassment cases reported in 2019 also ran high.
According to media reports, 1,383 children were sexually harassed in 2019, a 70 percent rise from that in the previous year. In 2018, about 812 cases of child sexual harassment came to light while 144 were victims of early marriage.
BSAF, a network of 272 non-governmental organizations (NGOs), published the study based on reports from 15 national dailies.
BSAF Director Abdus Shahid Mahmood said: "All incidents are not published in the newspapers. Thus the numbers must be higher."
448 children murdered
According to BSAF data, a total of 448 children were murdered in 2019, while 2,088 more had ‘unnatural’ deaths.
The number of child murder in 2019 was over seven percent higher than that in the previous year (488).
Among the murdered children, 29 children were killed after kidnapping, 47 were raped before death, 66 were murdered after disappearance, 36 were murdered by their parents, and 12 were beaten to death.
According to BSAF report, the highest numbers of child rape were reported in Dhaka (116), Narayanganj (56), Noakhali (41), Mymensing (33), and Gazipur (32).
While maximum reports of child murders came from Dhaka (63), Narayanganj (23), Chittagong (20), Gazipur (20), and Mymensing (19).
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Chairman Nasima Begum urged neighbours and citizens to go forward with help if any possible symptoms of rape or molestation are seen in children.
She said: "To help a person in danger is equal to protecting human rights."
"Consciousness may reduce unnatural deaths and accident. We should be loud against wrong medical treatment which is claiming many lives," she said.
"If a teacher becomes a rapist, if close relatives turn rapists, it is difficult to send our children to school and to protect our children from sexual harassment. We should repair our morality to reduce rapes and sexual harassment," she added.