Urban Parliamentary Caucus holds first meeting for the welfare of street children

The first discussion on the proposed activities of Urban Parliamentary Caucus was held in the presence of the caucus members at MP Hostel’s LD hall on Saturday, 9 September, stated a press release.

Urban Parliamentary Caucus chairperson Rana Mohammad Sohail presided over the discussion while representatives of different national and international agencies as well as journalists were present.

The discussion opened with the welcome speech of Urban Parliamentary Caucus member and parliament member, Simeen Hussain Rimi. She said that looking at the indexes of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) makes her fearful whether we would be able to fulfill them or if we would be able to make it there.

However, there has to be coordinated work on the issue that no more street children are created. Only then Bangladesh would turn into beautiful Bangladesh. Without everyone’s help, street life standards of the street children cannot be improved, she added.

On the other hand, she believes that when it comes to sexual safety not only the girls but boys too are completely vulnerable. Besides, street children don’t have a future and a proper safe home is required for building their future, she added more.

Next, parliament member Aroma Dutta, also member secretary of the Urban Parliamentary Caucus, gave a presentation on the goal of forming the caucus along with its purpose and activities.

While speaking, she said that the number of climate refugees is rising thanks to climate change. She said she will talk to the authorities concern on the topic of what can be done about them and that the issue is included in world climate conference.

The discussion included:

1. Members of the caucus will be playing a significant role in the parliament, parliamentary committee meetings, outside of the parliament as well as in all the appropriate places on the issue of making any addition, alteration, subtraction or amendment to any law or policies related to children (that affect children’s lives).

2.    Keeping an eye on the issue that all government, local government, non-government and autonomous agencies put more importance on the proper implementation of all children-related laws or policies and making sure that children benefit from those laws or policies.

3.    Seeing, if all the committees or monitoring cells issued or created by the government discharge their duties properly for the proper implementation of all children-related laws, special directions and policies of the government and providing necessary assistance.

4.    Maintaining communication with all the ministries, departments and standing committees on the ministries related to the issue of children rights, development and protection.

5.    Establishing a political commitment for overall children development.

6.    Motivating parliament members to play a role on issues concerning children rights and passing related bills or laws in the parliament.

7.    Observing, monitoring and keeping track incidents concerning children rights on a regular basis.

8.    Inspiring all concerning parties so that the government allocates necessary amount of funds in the budget every year to safeguard children rights inside and outside of the parliament.

9.    Ensuring that all concerning ministries, departments and standing committees take children-friendly development policies.

10.   Communicating and coordinating with like-minded non-government organisations as well as providing them with help so that non-government organisations too can play an effective role in overall child development, preserving and implementing children rights alongside the government.

There was an open discussion following discussion on the above-mentioned topics. Representatives of national and international agencies, journalists along with the parliament members joined in this session. Different ways for future development of underprivileged children came out of their discussions.

While speaking at the end of this segment, World Vision Bangladesh senior director of operations Chnadan Z Gomes said that Urban Parliamentary Caucus can play an especial and significant role in establishing the rights of children from low income families in urban areas as well as children of the poor and backward communities.

One of the main conditions of building the smart Bangladesh of prime minister’s dreams is to move forward together with everyone including the children, he added.

Addressing the representatives of national and international agencies present there, he stated that World Vision Bangladesh has taken the initiative of creating this caucus. However it does not belong to World Vision Bangladesh alone, rather it belongs to us all. So, all of us have to work from our respective positions to realise the goals of this caucus.

The discussion ended with the speech of Urban Parliamentary Caucus chairperson, parliament member Rana Mohammad Sohail. He said that the job of this caucus is to identify the reason behind the increase in the number of street children as well as solve them. There’s a wish to work with children who are AIDS positive too.

The caucus will also work to include entertainment alongside education and health concerns of the street children in Dhaka. Everyone working for the government or non-government agencies have to be brought under the same roof.

“Not only the budget but to increase awareness, the caucus embarked on a journey bringing everyone together. We might not be around but the caucus will be there for the future. Whoever takes charge of the caucus, it will continue working in future for building beautiful Bangladesh,” he added.

Notably on 11 February this year, a 10-member ad hoc committee of the Urban Parliamentary Caucus was formed by making Bangladesh Jatiya Sangsad deputy speaker, Shamsul Haque Tuku the advisor and parliament member, Rana Mohammad Sohail the convener.

Later on 5 June 2023, a final committee was formed with 12 members. Deputy speaker, Shamsul Haque Tuku is there on the committee as the advisor while Rana Mohammad Sohail is there as the chairperson.

Other members of the committee are- Aroma Dutta as member secretary, Rubina Akter Meera as co-chairman-1, Abida Anjum Mita as co-chairman-2, Simeen Hussain Rimi, Jewel Areng, Shabnam Jahan Shila, Shamsun Nahar, sherin Ahmed, Basanti Chakma and Habiba Rahman Khan as members.