So, I am a child rights activist. I am an active voice to ensure child rights and protection. I make advocacy campaign for children, I give pressure to the policy makers to formulate policy on child marriage and gender based violence, I stand on rally with other activists to execute crude punishment for the rapist, I clap when a child goes to school without facing tease or any forms of gender based violence from the passers by and I smile when they say, they are enjoying their rights, freedom and choices.
Bangladesh has signed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on 26 Jan 1990 and ratified it on 03 August 1990. There are number of national and International non-profit organizations, working for children in Bangladesh and through their bold pressure over Government, children of Bangladesh are now enjoying the exact definition of children and adolescent, birth registration, free primary education, elimination of child labor in all phases, child marriage restrain act, ban of physical torture in school, special program during and after natural disaster and so on.
Still I see gloomy faces around me. Children are not happy. They said, one area is still untouched- the parental discipline. Parents believe without punishing a child, one can not be a proper human being. A child should know that, for bad deeds, she/he should be punished and for good deeds, there are rewards. Beating or bullying a child is a right to parents. One of my supervisors shared me that, as he works for children, so, he should follow every points of CRC, at the same time, he believes that a mother has 100% rights to beat him or bully him. Because, mothers are incomparable to anybody. His mother sold all the property to send him abroad to get higher education. She never thought of their future, she only thought of his education and future. I don’t know why, but this example opened up my thoughts and I started thinking many more examples and sacrifices of the `best creature in the world’- mother. And I realize that she has every right to me. Whatever she does, would never be in vain and definitely will bring the best result for me. So, one slap or two- should not be counted as a gross violation of CRC. That’s how my dual nature was floating around. So, I am child rights activist!
CRC is a very western concept that we are following. That is why Bangladesh has kept reservation on article 14, paragraph 1 and article 21 and apply subject to the existing laws and practices in Bangladesh. As a developing and western aid dependent country, Bangladesh is progressing on child rights sector, I should say. After coming to U.S, I used to believe that, parents of this country must be different than Bangladeshi. They must know how to bear a child properly and tactics of positive discipline. Children of U.S must be never beaten at home or outside. But my eyes can not believe when I see number of moms beat their children in the bus or road or even public toilet, openly and violently!! Slapping on cheeks, back and butts; pulling hair and collars; pinching…and children get more cranky and taunting their mothers more!! My jaws get drop. What I am seeing!! I came here to exchange my expertise on child rights and protection!! Where is Save the Children or Plan International….where is 911…If a mom from Bangladesh ever see this or come to know this, I am sure, they will definitely ask me to stop advocating them and let them back to previous natural system to up bringing their children. I know there are good examples also. This country is very much progressive about ensuring each children’s’ education. There are no street children moving around abundantly, no child beggar. Still they are facing violent discipline by their parents or guardians. I found most of the child rights organizations here, aiding African or Asian countries. Millions and millions dollars are reaching to this country’s’ bank account. But I feel big funds and advocacy are very much needed for this country. Today’s children is tomorrow’s world. A good childhood will bring a good nation, a good leader.