UNICEF welcomes the release of children from detention

UNICEF welcomes the release of the first batch of children awaiting trial. The Supreme Court has launched a virtual children’s court in collaboration with UNICEF as regular court proceedings have been disrupted due to the Kovid-19 epidemic. Juvenile courts are speeding up the trial of children accused of violating the law so that they can be released from juvenile development centers to avoid the risk of COVID-19 infection.

The number of children detained has risen since the court closed last March.  This number is almost double the capacity of juvenile development centers. More than a thousand children awaiting trial or punishment for petty crimes are currently being held in three centers.

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Due to the limited number of staff and lack of logistical support in the centers, Inadequate water, sewerage, and hygiene facilities It is very difficult for children and staff to maintain physical distance or self-isolation to reduce the risk of infection.  These centers can become hotspots for infection, where the virus can spread easily.

The Hon’ble President of Bangladesh issued an ordinance on May 9 to launch a virtual court with the best interests of children in mind. The first virtual children’s court in Bangladesh started functioning on May 12. UNICEF is providing technical assistance to the Department of Social Services and the Centers in conducting the activities of this court.

Tomoo Hozumi, UNICEF Representative in Bangladesh, said: ““I wholeheartedly commend the decision to introduce virtual children’s courts and very much welcome the release of children from detention. The wellbeing and protection of children must be at the centre of our response to COVID-19. ”

Following the release of seven children in the first phase, several hundred children may be released in the next two weeks. UNICEF is working with the Department of Social Services to help these children reunite with their families and help them reach home safely.

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