News/Bangladesh: Bangladesh cracks down on abuse of women, children

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Subject: News/Bangladesh: Bangladesh cracks down on abuse of women, children
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Thu Feb 03 2000 - 11:34:37 EST


           Bangladesh cracks down on abuse of women, children

RTw 1-30-00 3:35 PM

 Reuters Ltd.

    DHAKA, Jan 30 (Reuters) - The Bangladeshi parliament passed a law on
Sunday clamping down on the widespread torture, mutilation and sale of
women and children, the official BSS news agency said.
     It introduced stiff penalties for offences including using flammable
chemicals, rape, murder, amputating childrens' limbs to make them more
effective beggars, trafficking and kidnapping.
     The worst crimes were made punishable by death. Others carried a
prison sentence or heavy fine.
     "The existing law in this regard was inadequate to deal with the
escalating repression of women and children," Minister for Law, Justice and
Parliamentary Affairs Abdul Matin Khasru said.
     Women in Bangladesh are often tortured to death for their dowries or
by jealous husbands. Many are doused with corrosive acid and suffer
incurable burns, police say.
     The Bangladeshi National Women Lawyers' Association says at least
7,000 women and children are smuggled out of the country each year and many
are sold to brothels.
     Children are often abandoned when marriages break up and end up in
criminal gangs. Some boys are picked up by traffickers and sold abroad to
be jockeys in camel races, according to police.
     The new law also imposed restrictions on publishing the identity of
abused women and children in order to protect them.


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