Human Rights Defenders Unite for the Rights of Minorities

19-12-2014

Inspired by the work of the civil society organisations in their fight for the realisation of the human rights for all in Bangladesh, GHRD focuses its work on strengthening the effectiveness of their activism and provide a platform for their collective struggle.  As a result,  Human Rights Alliance Bangladesh (HRAB) was established by 15 like-minded organisations with the support of GHRD in 2013. in 2013. By Inspired by the work of the civil society organisations in their fight for the realisation of the human rights for all in Bangladesh, GHRD focuses its work on strengthening the effectiveness of their activism and provide a platform for their collective struggle.  As a result,  Human Rights Alliance Bangladesh (HRAB) was established by 15 like-minded organisations with the support of GHRD in 2013. in 2013. By supporting HRAB, GHRD is supporting a creation of a democratic and safe space for human rights defenders and community leaders. A space, where they can come together to identify the common challenges facing minorities and marginalized groups, and unite together in their collective struggle for social transformation. HRAB members recognise the importance of mutual learning, strategic exchange and creating solidarity between different civil society members.


On 17th November 2014, “The National Meeting on Human Rights Situation of Minority Population” was held in Dhaka. Prominent civil society members,[1] as along with the local human rights defenders engaged in an open discussion about the human rights situation of minorities in Bangladesh. Two representatives, Ranjeev Gowri and Naz Tuncay, Human Rights Officer, were also present at the meeting. HRAB members opened the floor with presentations on the current human rights situation of each community: LGBT people, religious minorities and indigenous people. The meeting presented its participants with  a unique opportunity to recognise common human rights violations faced by each community and build a shared understanding of each other’s’ struggles among these diverse groups. The presentations were followed by a panel discussion moderated by prominent speakers, who condemned the human rights violations against minorities based on religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, and ethnicity. GHRD also delivered a speech during the event underlining the importance of human rights alliances and social movements.

“GHRD envisions a transformation from single standing civil society organisations to powerful networks…The social transformation and realisation of human rights can be achieved, but it depends on all of us and on our joint capacities, networks and shared commitments. Together we have the capacity to become the vehicle for social change,”- said Naz Tuncay, Human Rights Officer. 

The meeting was characterized by wide national media presence and coverage. The following recommendations on the elimination of human rights violations against minority communities were developed as the outcome of the national meeting.

Recommendations to the Government:

1.      Provide constitutional recognition to religious, ethnic and sexual minorities;

2.      Promote legislative reform  to protect the rights of minority population;

3.      Ensure inclusive participation of minorities in policy making, such  as reserving seats for minority population in the state institutions; 

4.      Establish a ministry for minority affairs that will ensure protection and end all forms of discrimination and violence against minority population;

5.      Stop forced eviction of minority communities;

Recommendations to the Civil Society: 

1.      Form a monitoring committee in every district to oversee and promote the protection and well-being of minority population; 

2.      Conduct joint civil society-government fact-finding missions of human rights violations against minority groups;

3.      Strengthen the networks between the development workers/human rights defenders and journalists in order for them to provide better and more targeted  assistance to those in need of it;

4.      Utilise social media to effectively promote the rights of minority population among the wider population;

5.      Create a well-functioning country-wide network of human rights defenders to rapidly react to human rights violations, including immediate update of HRAB on the facts of each case;

6.      Train the youth  as the future leaders, who will protect and promote the human rights of minority groups;

7.      Include community based organizations across various divisional cities to achieve maximum outreach.

Click here to view the photos from the National Meeting.


[1] Panel speakers are: Mr. Sayed Abul Maksud, eminent researcher and writer; Advocate Rana Dasgupta, General Secretary, Bangladesh Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Unity Council; Mr. Nayeemul Islam Khan, Editor, Daily Amader Orthoniti; Dr. Sukomol Borua, Professor, Dhaka University; Mr. Robaet Ferdous, Associate Professor, Dhaka University and Mr. Shakti Pada Tripura, Organizing Secretary.

Medical Health camp at Gazipur, Dhaka organized by GHRD

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