Final Assignment Women, Law and Legal Protection Assignment Topic: How effective are the laws to combat violence against women in Bangladesh?
Word count 2973 Submitted by Faisal Habib
Introduction ‘Pohela Boishakh’ one of the most joyous days for Bengali’s filled with cultural festivity. It is the beginning of Bangla calendar year and on this day people are eager to have fun with traditional food and music. However, on this very day in 1422 women wear striped of their joy because of violence against done towards them, i.e. sexual harassment. In the Teacher-Student Center (TSC) region close to the Suhrawardy Udyan entryway a gathering of men sexually ambushed various ladies on Bengali New Year of 1422 (April 14, 2015)1. It started boundless open shock in the city and also in the web-based social networking stages. They, for the most part, reprimanded the police for their inaction and the organizers in charge of the festival in Dhaka University for not doing their job well in protecting and securing the attendee's dignity. Witnesses of this atrocious act said that despite the fact that the law implementers were positioned just nearly 18 meters from the spot, they did not do anything to protect the girls or capture the individuals who propelled the sexual assaults. While endeavoring to save the ladies involved three university students were harmed2. These occurrences demonstrate the segregation and imbalance of women that is common in Bangladesh. It implements women`s subordination and man-centric structures through all levels of society that is moving towards situations like for example, the undervaluation of women`s financial commitments. Every day there is multiple news related to this issue on various media outlets/newspapers. Women are falling victim to violence one after another, but law enforcement agencies cannot reportedly check the crimes despite having tough laws. This paper focuses to gauge the effectiveness of laws to prevent violence against women in Bangladesh.
Violence against women Violence against women can occur in the form of physical hostility or threats, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, controlling or domineering, intimidation, stalking, passive/covert abuse, and economic deprivations[ CITATION Kha17 \l 1033 ]. As indicated by the UNFPA/Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, more than of 10 million Bangladeshi women encounter physical or sexual 1Arifur Rahman and Esha, “How Safe Are Women on Pohela Boishakh” Dhaka Tribune (April 14, 2017) <https://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/dhaka/2017/04/14/safe-women-pohela-boishakh/> 2Outrage over Sex Assault ”The Daily Star” (April 16, 2015) <https://www.thedailystar.net/frontpage/outrage-oversex-assault-77496>
brutality consistently. The Report on Violence against Women (VAW) Survey 2015 by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) has discovered that 50% of the ladies said they were physically tormented while 27% said they had been sexually mishandled. The United Nations General Assembly in 1993, embraced the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, the first collaborative international human rights declaration focused on this issue 3. The UN revelation stresses that the worldwide issue of violence against women crosses national limits into the domain of essential human rights. Thusly, the revelation expresses that brutality against women damages a women's basic human rights and freedoms and that the international community has a commitment to secure and advance those rights. Article 2 of the announcement goes up against the troublesome assignment of characterizing violence against women. The meaning of violence against women in the assertion is the globally acknowledged definition and states violence against women should be comprehended to envelop, however not restricted to, physical, sexual, and mental violence executed by relatives, the community, or the state 4. The types of violence particularly said in the report incorporate battery, dowry-related brutality, sexual manhandle of youngsters, conjugal assault, assault, female genital mutilation, inappropriate behavior, trafficking, constrained prostitution, and others 5. This definition does not claim to be comprehensive and perceives that different types of violence exist far and wide. The affirmation is, along these lines, fairly subjective in that it does not give adequate direction seeing dubious issues such as, regardless of whether control over a women's regenerative rights constitutes violence against women. In any case, in spite of its lacking, the announcement offers the first globally acknowledged meaning of violence against women and a solid reason for the battle to take out gender violence around the globe.
3(Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), 2015,< http://evaw-globaldatabase.unwomen.org/en/countries/asia/bangladesh/2015/report-on-violence-against-women-vaw-survey2015> 4Begum, Afroza, Protection of women's rights in Bangladesh: a legal study in an international and comparative perspective, PhD thesis, Faculty of Law, 2004. http://ro.uow.edu.au/theses/595 5 ibid
Patterns of violence against women In light of the above discourse, the most widely recognized indications of violence in Bangladesh are indicated in the following. Accessible information from the Police Department gives some sign of the degree of these sorts of viciousness. From 2010 to 2012, the Bangladeshi police received 109,621 complaints about violence against women. In 2011, there were 420 recorded cases of rape in Bangladesh6. According to police records, while there were 2,981 cases of dowry-related violence in 2004, the figure has already hit 4,563 in the first nine months of 2012. Also, where there were 2,901 rape cases recorded in 2004, the figure recorded in August 2014 is 2,868 cases7.
Available Laws As of late, Bangladesh has enacted few laws expected to protect women who become vulnerable by the violence against them.8 The Government of Bangladesh described the Prevention of Women and Child Repression Act, 2000 in a report that was presented to United Nation’s one of the committee which works on eradication of discrimination against women.9 This Act provide shield to women and children from different crimes, such as torture at home, sexual harassment, ill treatment for dowry by husband and his family, any kind of grievous hurt and so on. It also give protection from and mentions the punishment of sexual manhandle and lewd behavior. Moreover, this Act also created a limitation on the media coverage in order to ensure the privacy of the suffered women and children. It is mentioned in the Act that the victim of violence shall get all the mental and legal support as well as shall get the special care from the government. This law also declares the death penalty as the punishment for rape and different grievous hurt. In order to ensure proper justice, this Act gives priority on certain areas of judicial system which are given below:
6Saha A, “Violence against Women: Situation in Bangladesh ”The Daily Observer (May 11, 2017) <http://www.observerbd.com/details.php?id=73030> 7[ CITATION Ban16 \l 1033 ] 8Begum, Afroza, Protection of women's rights in Bangladesh: a legal study in an international and comparative perspective, PhD thesis, Faculty of Law, 2004. http://ro.uow.edu.au/theses/595 9 ibid
The investigation of the case shall be as fast as possible and the trial of the case shall be held in the special tribunal that is created under this Act. Apart from some special cases, all the crimes under this Act shall be non-bail able. In every district Women and Children Repression Tribunal shall be formed to solve all the cases under this Act. The trial procedure shall be accomplished within 180 days. From the date of instituting a suit or following the order of a magistrate under this Act the investigation shall be fulfilled within 60 days. This law also mentions that the rapist shall be responsible and shall take all the responsibility of a child born as the end result of rape (ibid, Para. 3.9). In 2000, for the sake of protection of women and children the parliament of Bangladesh had passed a law named the Acid Crime Prevention Act and the Acid Control Act, 2000 which covers some features mentioned in the below10: Formation of a National Acid Control Council Fund Building of a Rehabilitation Centre. Treatment for the Acid sufferer Legal help for the Acid sufferer Monitoring the sale of acid and imposing ban on transportation of acid. Imposing strict restriction on providing the license for selling acid. Punishment for acid throwing is death penalty as well as Tk. 1 lakh will be fined. Special Tribunal shall handle the case. Trial will continue in the absence of the defendant. 10Hasam MA and Islam MS, â€œDomestic Violence Against Women in Bangladesh: A Comparative Study on the Perception of Educated and Non-Educated Classâ€? (2016) 1 Review of Social Sciences,1325,<http://socialsciencejournal.org>
Magistrate can record the statement of the witness in any place. However, in our Constitution some of the articles are conducive to women. Article 28 (1) states that, The State shall not discriminate against any citizens on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth11. Nevertheless then Article 28 (4) states that, nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making special provisions in favor of women and children or for the advancement of any backward section of citizens. In "The Fractured Scales" by Faustina Pereira, said that, Lumping women with any backward section of the citizen, prejudicially protective, paternalistic attitude. The language of the law, all law, till now, has been the language of patriarchs.12 1. Article 7 of the Constitution declares that any existing law of the state which is inconsistent with any provision of the Constitution shall be void. 2. Articles 27, 28 and 29 of the Constitution declare the principles of non-discrimination. 3. As per Articles 36, 39 and 65 of the Constitution, a woman has the right to seek nomination and contest for any political opposition. 4. Article 28(2) of the Constitution states that, women shall have equal rights with men in all spheres of STATE and PUBLIC life. Apart from it, it is totally forbidden to give or receive dowry in our country according to The Dowry Prohibition Act of 1980. Notwithstanding, the practice is still very extensive in our country which clearly exhibits the lack of enforcement. Moreover, rape properly defined for the first time ever in the “Nari O Shishu Nirjatan Daman Ain 2000" (Law on the Suppression of Violence against Women and Children 2000) considerably albeit, marital rape does not recognized by it. As a result, crimes such as sexual harassment along with sexual assault have been made punishable offences pursuant to this Act.
11 The Constitution of the People's Republic of Bangladesh 12 AMIN AASHAMEHREEN, “Is the Law Fair towards Women? “The Daily Star (March 2004) <http://archive.thedailystar.net/magazine/2004/03/01/coverstory.htm>
The Penal Code 1860: Gender Violence The Penal Code of Bangladesh provides punishment as well as compensation for any violence against women13. In general this sections talks about the violence and ensure the protection of women.
Sec 312 talks about Causing miscarriage and its punishment
Sec 313 talks about Death caused by act done with intent to cause miscarriage if the act was done without women's consent
Sec 354 is about Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty (Of Kidnapping, Abduction, Slavery and Forced Labor)
Sec 359 talks about kidnapping
Sec 362 says that Abduction Sec Abduction
Sec 366 indicates kidnapping, abducting or inducing women to compel her marriage etc.
Sec 366A is about Procreation of minor girl
Sec 366B says about Importation of girl from foreign country
Sec 372 talks about Selling minor for purposes of prostitution
Sec 373 is about Buying minor for purposes of prostitution (Of Rape)
Sec 375 is about Rape
Sec 376 stablish the Punishment of Rape (Of Offences Relating to Marriage)
Sec 493 talks about Cohabitation caused by a man deceitfully inducing a belief of lawful marriage
Sec 494 is about Marrying again during lifetime of husband or wife.
13 The Penal Code,1860
Sec 495 suggest same offense with concealment of former marriage from person with whom subsequent marriage is contracted.
Sec 496 indicates Marriage ceremony was fraudulently gone through without lawful marriage.
Sec 497 clarify Adultery.
Sec 498 talks about Enticing or taking away or detaining with criminal intent a married woman. (Of Criminal Intimidation, Insult, and Annoyance)
Sec 509 point out Word gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman.
Other laws relating to violence against women 1.
Dowry Prohibition Act, 1980
Nari O ShishuNirjaton Daman Ain, 2000
Acid Crime Prevention Act, 2000.
Acid Control Act, 2000.
The Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (MWCA) were made some policies in order to protect the women and children from any kind of cruelty. The policies are given below14: Government has established nationwide and district level women and children abuse prevention prison, building special tribunal in every district to dispose the case as early as possible, due to provide legal aid medical facilities and police protection the government has established one stop crisis center, rape victims has institutionalized to take DNA sample as evidence, establishing safe home service for abused women, for ensuring suffererâ€™s privacy by not disclosing the suffererâ€™s picture in the media, Special Act has been passed in the parliament, to create awareness among the people on violence against women and children different type of program has arranged in different part of the country, to eliminate child marriage birth, age of the bride and groom has been strictly followed in Bangladesh. 14Begum, Afroza, Protection of women's rights in Bangladesh: a legal study in an international and comparative perspective, PhD thesis, Faculty of Law, 2004. http://ro.uow.edu.au/theses/595
Effectiveness of laws Be that as it may, regardless of these lawful steps to eradicate crimes against women, Government has to ensure the enforcement and implementation of the existing laws. The legal framework has a few auxiliary and procedural hindrances 15. Political affiliations and inspirations regularly influence court choices. The absence of partition of the legal has brought about a tradeoff of unbiased equity in Bangladesh. Because of the remiss law requirement, the overall population has lessened trust and trust in the framework. Then again, culprits perceive that there are provisos in the framework, and they may effortlessly stay away from punishment. For example, “in the case of Aan Karobi Adhikari Tia, a housewife allegedly killed by her husband and her in-laws. A case was attempted to file under Women Prevention and Children Repression Act, 2000 by Tia's mother but the police considered it as an accidental death 16. Further, Criminal Investigation Department (CID) got the responsibility to investigate the case. After that the investigation of the case had no progress and the accused husband of Tia and her in-laws live freely in the town, claimed the plaintiffs family” 17. Because of negligence of the investigating officer and no progress of the case, the people of the Tia’s home district made rally and alleged the police for the non-disposal of the case. A Parliament Member (MP) at a meeting arranged to create awareness against the violence on women and children mentioned that in Bangladesh there are many laws on protection of women and children but they are not properly implemented to reduce the problem" 18. Most of the speakers at the gathering stated that political intervention is the most highlighted obstacle to implement the laws to protect women 19. Moreover, law enforcement officers take bribe from the accused of acid throwing to set them free said Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) 15Sayem AM and Nury ATMS, “An Assessment of Attitude towards Equitable Gender Norms among Muslim Women in Bangladesh”  Women s Studies International Forum ,102110,<https://www.researchgate.net/publication/257115779_An_assessment_of_attitude_towards_equitable_gen der_norms_among_Muslim_women_in_Bangladesh> 16“Death of Housewife Tia” The Daily Star (September 16, 2003) <http://archive.thedailystar.net/2003/09/16/d30916070557.htm> 17 ibid 18Khan NT and others, “Violence against Women in Bangladesh” (2017) 5 Delta Med Col J. 25-29 <https://www.banglajol.info/index.php/DMCJ/article/download/31432/21154> 19 ibid
members presented at the meeting20. Sometimes the accused get easy release due to various loopholes in the laws as the law enforcement officer chargers the Acid thrower under Women and Children Repression Prevention Act instead of Acid Control Act21. Amongst all the incidents of Acid throwing only 10 % (percent) attacker may prosecuted for their offences, Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association (BNWLA) and the Acid Survivors Foundation mentioned in a report. The status of women in the society as per law still faces discrimination in various forms. Despite the echoes of equal rights are instructed in the constitution of Bangladesh, it still has some religious laws which are discriminatory to women. Despite being a Muslim-majority country and home to several minority groups, Bangladesh Constitution still regulates laws which are discriminatory to women rights. Like- under the Muslim law of inheritance a daughter receives half the amount what a son receives from parents. In same way, a Muslim mother loses her custodial right of her child if she chooses to marry another man who is unrelated to her child. Notably, A Muslim man can lead a polygamy of up to four wives if he can grant permission from his current wife, no matter how the permission is sought through violence, threat or any other derogatory way. Likewise, a Hindu woman is recipient only to a small portion of her paternal property. No matter what, a Hindu woman cannot even resort to court for divorce. To make things worse, a Hindu widow is even unable of conducting a valid marriage again.
Conclusion In a nutshell, it can be said that, the law is totally worthless if there is no implementation of law. Therefore, the diagram of the extension and nature of violence against women in Bangladesh leads one to accomplish that there are certain critical gaps in our knowledge and policy. One of the key reason is that the policymakers either do not feel it is indispensable thing or do not want to make public its failure to provide necessary protection to women. It is clear in this way that imbalances in the individual laws go about as an impressive hindrance to accomplishing women's right. It must be recollected that the establishment of enactment alone does not bring about a quick change in women's genuine circumstance. The government of Bangladesh has now 20 ibid 21 ibid
and again instituted or altered a few Acts to safeguard women’s legal right or to improve their status. These laws however, are often hardly enforced or are misused. Women, who are not only the most vulnerable part of the society but they are the victim of the subsisting discriminative legal system on a regular basis.
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Sayem, A. M., & Nury, A. M. (2013). An assessment of attitude towards equitable gender norms among Muslim women in Bangladesh. Women's Studies International Forum, 102-110 Arifur Rahman and Esha, “How Safe Are Women on Pohela Boishakh” Dhaka Tribune (April 14, 2017) https://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/dhaka/2017/04/14/safe-women-pohela-boishakh/ The Constitution of the People's Republic of Bangladesh The Penal Code, 1860
Volence against women in Bangladesh