In India, the age of marriage for women has recently been raised to 21. They demanded that it be implemented in Bangladesh as well.
They made the demand at a press conference on Monday (January 3) at the National Press Club’s Zahur Hossain Chowdhury Hall on the current situation of violence against women in Bangladesh.
According to a report by the Bar Association based on year-round media reports, from January to December last year, the number of cases involving women and children alone was about 19,000. According to the news published in various newspapers and media in 2021, there were 602 incidents of domestic violence from January to December. Of these, 265 women were killed by their husbands and their families after the violence.
Speakers at the event said that the age of marriage for women in India has recently been raised to 21. We also want the age of marriage to be 21 in our country.
Speakers at the press conference also said that not only a tribunal should be formed to prevent violence against women, but also surveillance and manpower should be increased in all cases.
On the issue of trafficking of women abroad, the speakers said that the account of those who are being trafficked abroad does not come anywhere. Only those who come back, we see that account. Therefore, the number of traffickers cannot be said to be accurate.
At the press conference, 14 recommendations were made by the Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association to stop violence against women, children and others. They are-
1. According to the guidelines issued by the High Court in 2009 to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace, all educational institutions and workplace sexual harassment prevention committees should be formed and its effectiveness should be ensured.
2. As soon as any incident occurs, the local media should make arrangements to disseminate the actual information and conduct regular follow-up.
3. With the active participation of the local people, awareness should be raised among the people against child marriage, domestic violence and women and child abuse. To this end, government, private and development partners have to play an important role.
4. In these cases, the real culprits must be identified and brought to justice, subject to investigation within a specified time. Witnesses need to be arranged quickly after the charge is framed.
5. All, including local representatives and media workers, must work together against the abuse of women and children.
. The place of responsibility of family and society should be ensured in the mental development of children and adolescents.
. Access to justice must be ensured for women. Comprehensive legal assistance should be provided to women and children victims of rape to ensure their safety. In this case, it is necessary to ensure psycho-social services, women and child friendly legal aid, safe shelter (if required), women and child friendly environment.
. Ensure proper investigation of cases using speedy forensic and witness protection as well as modern forensic technology.
9. Investigations must be free of political and influential interference and have trained personnel at all levels of law enforcement.
10. The number of tribunals may be increased to expedite the trial of human trafficking cases. Law enforcement, labor inspectors and immigration officers should be trained to identify such cases and provide in-service training, including victim referrals.
11. Ensure proper monitoring of the overall data and data storage of women and children with disabilities.
12. Ensuring non-discriminatory legal services for marginalized groups (disabled, third gender).
13. The Prevention of Violence against Women and Children Act 2000 and the amended Act 2020 need to add a definition of penetration to bring all forms of rape under the law.
14. Section 155 (4) of the Evidence Act and other related sections should be amended to bar the acceptance of characteristic testimony of the complainant in the trial of rape cases. Through such reforms, the judges can ensure that the counsel for the accused does not ask the complainant any insulting or derogatory questions during cross-examination.