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Wednesday, September 30, 2015, Aswin 15, 1422 BS, Zilhaj 15, 1436 Hijr

Sexual Harassment and Prevention Act, 2010
Mahila Parishad updates suggestions on draft law
Banani Mallick
Published :Wednesday, 30 September, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM  View Count : 17

Bangladesh Mahila Parishad (BMP), a woman's rights- based organization, has updated its suggestions on the draft law "Sexual and Repression Act, 2010" for an effective result, for prevention of violence against women and girls.
The updated version of the draft has been completed following advice from BMP's Legal Expert Committee taking into account the present trend of increasing violence against women and children across the country, a BMP official said.
The official also said that they will share this updated draft (Sexual and Repression Act, 2010) with government officials and representatives of civil society at a views-exchange meeting very soon.
The High Court Division delivered a milestone judgment by issuing certain directives in the form of guideline for prevention, protection and redress of sexual harassment at educational institutions and workplaces.
BMP drafted its proposal for the law to stop sexual harassment at all levels clearly defining stalking, sexual harassment and repression and related punishments.
Experts find the guideline ( High Court directives) is monumental in the context of promotion of gender equality to create a safe and secure working environment for women and thus to uphold women's dignity. But, unfortunately, the High Court directives are not followed properly.
Maleka Banu, General Secretary of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, suggested that the full implementation of this Act is required to prevent sexual harassment and repression on women and girls.
"The existing directives given by the High Court has not brought successful result in preventing sexual harassment on women fully," she noted.
She also added that BMP has sent letters to different educational institutions following the High Court's directives to form a committee to investigate if any woman or girl is faced with sexual harassment at different institutions including University Grants Commission, public universities and district- level government organs and organisations across the country.
"The number of sexual harassment has not decreased despite forming committees at the educational institutions and job places due to lack of accountability and monitoring, she said.  
According to a survey published by UN Women in 2014, 76% women become victim of sexual harassment. In public and private universities, 87% female students faced sexual harassment.
The draft law is pending for five years.
Asked why her institution feels it obligated to update this draft, she said women and children not only face sexual harassment in the educational institutions and workplaces but also in all other places," she said.
"Realizing it, we have updated this draft so that it will cover wide area where women are vulnerable to be sexual harassment, she said.  Rape has become a common incident, even children are not safe from such violence, although Women and Children Repression Prevention Act, 2000 contains very vigorous punishment.
Information of Police Headquarters up to August, 2015 shows that about 10,764 cases relating to violence against children and women have been recorded in the first six months of this year.
Another finding of Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum suggests that about 777 children have been killed after torture in the last three years.
The finding discloses that about 191 children had been killed in the first month of the current year, and at the same time about 11 children survived attempts to murder.
The number of children killed was 350 in 2014, it was 218 in 2013 while the number was 209 in 2012.

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