Bangladesh releasing children in detention centres to avoid coronavirus cases surge

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Jun 05, 2020, 06.23 PM(IST)

Representative image. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

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According to UNICEF nearly 23,000 cases involving children under 18 years of age are pending in the courts across the country. 

Hundreds of children accused of committing largely petty crimes are being released in Bangladesh in a bid to avoid the spread of coronavirus in overcrowded detention centres.

Nearly 400 children have been given bail in recent weeks and over 300 of them have already been reunited with their families, Natalie McCauley, head of child protection at UNICEF in Bangladesh said, reported AP.

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She said that the decision was taken after a number of health experts warned of a surge in infections in children living in the detention centres due to overcrowding and unhygienic conditions. 

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The judicial system in Bangladesh is such that cases stretch for years to conclude and according to UNICEF nearly 23,000 cases involving children under 18 years of age are pending in the courts across the country. 

Saifur Rahman, a special officer of the Supreme Court and additional district judge who is associated with the release program said that this program was important as with scarce staff and utilities in detention centres, it was very difficult to curb the risk of COVID-19 infection.  

The coronavirus cases in South Asian countries are rising and Bangladesh is also seeing a similar trend, with the latest figures suggesting 60,391 cases and 811 deaths. Public health officials say that the actual number of infections could be much higher in Bangladesh.