Monday, January 22, 2018 | ePaper

Protecting child rights

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Dr. Md. Shairul Mashreque :
Contemporary concerns about human rights have now been focused on empowerment of the children as a vulnerable group. But empowerment of the children is not possible without thinking to protect child rights according to constitutional provisions and international conventions on child rights.
Empowerment of child goes hand in hand with institutional intervention for the protection child rights. Policy makers perhaps realize the importance of putting children first who will greatly influence future of the nation. Policies especially in various trajectories of development have their impacts on how human capital is mobilized and managed. True, families of the young people like children make decisions that tend to shape their future. Some children are detached from their families of orientation.
They are destined to live alone in the street taking decisions for themselves for a bare survival in an unfriendly street situation. Admittedly public policy and the institutions for its advocacy, formulation, implementation and evaluation have impacts on well beings of the child community per se obviously with the great chunk of opportunities for utilization of their potentials. Public policy can do much in determining forward course of action as for child rights.
Nevertheless any institutional and non-institutional attempts to empower children to enable them to enjoy rights and privileges may be hampered by crushing poverty and more by policy failure that affects their options and investment on children when markets are going beyond control. Standing at the new millennium international policy communities especially the donors think to invest in young people. Given demographic transition bulge in youth population has become a matter of grave concern. Children upto 18 years old are among the youth as the next generation. There are children who are infants and toddlers at the early childhood stage. UNCRC, several child laws and acts are institutional milestones that definitely shape the foundational human capital touching upon the children from early childhood to adult childhood. Even then they are confronted with new challenges including health and education.  
They have to struggle hard to survive the scourge of childhood. There is a need to understand child rights as an academic discourse. 'Save the Child' has come with a policy advocacy to incorporate child rights in the course curricula at the higher education level. In Bangladesh academic planners are thinking to introduce course on Child rights.
As far as my knowledge goes many departments in Dhaka, Jahangirnagar and Chittagong universities have introduced full credit course on child rights. The Master of Laws: Advanced Studies in International Children's Rights is a one of a kind program, offering an advanced master (LL.M) dedicated to the rights and interests of children from a legal perspective.
Today - more than 25 years after the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child - the role of international, regional and domestic systems in issues of child protection, participation and empowerment is ever-growing, and requires in-depth specialization.
We should also think to open new department on human rights emphasizing child rights governance. Perhaps law faculty or department  has academic programme on child rights and legal aid for the child victims. 'International children's rights is a unique area of law because it is multi-layered (covering international, regional and national legal systems) and interdisciplinary in its scope. The program provides an in-depth study of the field of children's rights, and pays particular attention to its intersection with diverse fields of law, including human rights, civil, criminal, humanitarian, family and migration law.
The multi-layered and legal interdisciplinary nature of the program is an essential element in acquiring specialist knowledge on the meaning and implications of international children's rights for the position of children at the international and domestic level, in both the developed and developing world.
The  programme is characterised by small-scale teaching, which encourages intensive interaction between students and lecturers. Students in our Advanced Masters programmes come from various countries, and from diverse cultures, which contributes to a truly international study environment.'
(Dr. Md. Shairul Mashreque, Chittagong University)

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