GHRD continues to make a difference in South Asia through implementation of its four year human rights programme called "Raising Minority Voices". The programme adopts creative campaigning initiatives, strengthens collaboration between local human rights defenders and enables community empowerment in order to defend and promote the rights of marginalised groups and minorities. GHRD supported the establishment of a human rights platform, Human Rights Alliance Bangladesh (HRAB), for local human rights defenders and civil society organisations (CSOs) to have a greater positive social impact on the communities that we work for.
Our Human Rights Officers, Elena Atzeni and Naz Tuncay, organised a capacity building programme for Bangladeshi human rights defenders in April 2014. The programme continued with HRAB platform meeting. One of local human rights defenders working for BRAC’s Human Rights and Legal Aid Services (HRLS) Program, which is part of the largest non-governmental development organization protecting and promoting human rights of the marginalized groups, joined the programme and shared her experience with GHRD and what it means for her to be part of this programme:
“GHRD has played a crucial role in bringing those like-minded organizations under a shared platform and has successfully supported an alliance titled ‘Human Rights Alliance Bangladesh (HRAB)’. This is the biggest platform for the minority rights group in Bangladesh to utilize each other’s knowledge and expertise. HRLS, as a member of HRAB, has received the trainings organized by GHRD in three phases to strengthen the capacity on reliable report writing methods, accurate fact finding of human rights violation incidences, execution of effective communication strategies including the process and purposes of lobbying and advocacy advancing the protection of minorities. This alliance creates an opportunity for HRLS to extend its legal aid provisions to undercounted issues like sexual minorities and ethnic minorities. In particular, HRLS is now focusing on to determine the increased level of service in order to ensure access to legal aid services of the minority group, including violence surrounding their family matters and state based violence.
Article 28(1) of the Constitution of Bangladesh holds that the state shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. However, minority representation is repeatedly ignored by the state. It is our hope that the alliance will play a vital role in protecting and promoting the highlight the rights of the minorities on national and international platforms by developing effective lobbying and advocacy activities.”
The article reflects the personal opinions of the author and does not necessarily represent the views of any organization mentioned in the piece.
Please click here to check out photos from the capacity building programme.