Rape of children is on the rise with about six children raped in a day on an average in the first seven days of July.
At least 41 children were raped in the first seven days of July while 496 children were raped in the country in six months till June 30, according to Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum.
The child rights organisation also reported that six of the children were raped by more than one person and three of them were killed after the rape.
The 41 children raped in seven days of July included five having disabilities.
The forum said that the real number of incidents was much higher as the child rights body collected the data from only 15 national dailies while many of the rapes usually went unreported.
Bangladesh Mahila Parishad in its monitoring report on Monday said that 2,083 women and children fall victims to violence and 731 were raped in the country in six months till June 30.
Child and woman rights activists blamed culture of impunity for the rise in rape and violence against children and women saying that such cases were hardly being tried and ended up with conviction of the perpetrators.
Besides, 276 female and children were murdered, of whom 26 were killed after rape and 10 were attempted on their life, said the report the woman rights body released at a press conference in the city protesting continuous harassment of women and children and demanding social protection.
‘At least 113 women and children were gang-raped while 123 were faced attempt to rape during the period,’ said its legal and advocacy director Maksuda Akter Laily citing the report prepared on basis of reports published by 14 national dailies.
At total number of 5,274 women and children were reported to be victims of violence from 2014 to 2018 and of them, 3,980 were raped, she added.
Violence against women and children is on the rise as only 3-4 per cent of such cases have so far been tried, she said, adding that the culture of impunity was the main reason behind the rise in violence against women and children.
The rising number of violence against women was obstructing the progress of women in the society, said Mahila parishad general secretary Maleka Banu.
Its president Ayesha Khanam laid emphasis on revision of the law on sexual harassment and elimination of culture of impunity.
The police on July 5 recovered a blood-stained body lying on the eighth floor of an under-construction building with a rope around her neck at Wari in the old town of Dhaka.
Dhaka Medical College forensic department head Sohel Mahmud, after an autopsy on the body, told reporters that the child was raped and then strangled.
The incident, along with other recent incidents, triggered protests and went viral on social media.
The police already arrested the lone suspect but child rights activists said that rape of children would not stop until the government took pragmatic actions to protect children and ensured punishment of the perpetrators.
They expressed concern over the rise in sexual abuse of children in the country.
Statistics showed that out of the 496 children raped in six months, 27 were physically challenged, 23 were killed after rape and 53 were raped by more than one person.
The report said the heinous crime on children increased by 41 per cent in the past six months as at least 241 children were raped in April and May, 52 in January, 60 in February and 52 in March.
At least 351 children were raped in the first six months of 2018.
Former National Human Rights Commission chairman Kazi Reazul Hoque reiterated that it was a clear sign of deteriorating human rights condition in the country.
He said that it was a cause for serious concern. He urged the government to take necessary steps to bring the perpetrators to book.
Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum director Abdus Shahid Mahmood demanded that the government should initiate ‘speedy trial’ of cases of rape of children.
Child rights activists said that the prevailing culture of impunity, social attitude towards girls and women and indifference of government agencies to the issue were the main causes behind the rise in rape and other forms of sexual violence in the country.
She said that family education for respecting women and girls, social value to protest and implementation of law only could stop such violence.
Bangladesh Mahila Parishad general secretary Maleka Banu said that besides the culture of impunity, political shelter, negative attitude towards women and girls, and lack of government attention to curb the repeated incidents of rape are responsible for the declining situation.
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