This report is part of CRIN's access to justice for children project, looking at the status of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in national law, the status of children involved in legal proceedings, the legal means to challenge violations of children’s rights and the practical considerations involved in challenging violations.
Bangladesh has ratified but not yet fully incorporated the CRC into domestic law, though courts have referred to international instruments to interpret legislation. Children can bring cases to court in their own name via an adult “next friend” or guardian, including civil and constitutional proceedings to protect fundamental rights. Alternatively, children may lodge complaints about rights violations with the National Human Rights Commission. Courts have wide powers to review violations, and may institute proceedings on their own initiative. Public interest litigation is possible, with NGOs able to bring cases in their own name on behalf of children. The Children Act, 2013 provides for child-friendly procedures in the Children’s Court for cases involving children in conflict with the law as well as child victims and witnesses. Despite these positive features, court backlogs and problems with enforcement of court decisions remain ongoing issues in Bangladesh.