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Newsletter | July 2015

In the last couple of months the world has been shocked by the terrible images of the Nepal earthquakes and their aftershocks. What the world didn’t see were the images of the earthquakes’ consequences in the remoted rural areas of the country that were largely neglected by both the media and humanitarian relief efforts. GHRD hopes that our upcoming crowdfunding campaign, designed and due to be implemented in collaboration with our local partners, will make a whole lot of difference for those who feel alone and abandoned by the international community.

Besides the Nepal earthquakes, this latest edition of our newsletter will also cover the Hindu Marriage Bill and forced conversions in Pakistan, while highlighting the visit of a prominent LGBT activist Tanvir Alim to GHRD’s office, and the successful storytelling event that took place during his visit. Finally there will also be some more information provided on the ‘Youth Yearns’ photo exhibition which covered gender diversity in Bangladesh. Don’t forget to check out our website and social media profiles for more regular updates. Thank you for supporting Global Human Rights Defence, our battle against gross human rights violations would not be possible without the generous support of our donors! 

GHRD team


60 years on Hindus in Pakistan still do not have a Marriage Bill

Since 1955, Hindus have been demanding legislation to allow them to legally register their marriages in Pakistan. However, even today Hindus in Pakistan still can’t claim their constitutional rights to do so. The passing of the Hindu Marriage Bill is extremely important for the Pakistani Hindu community as it will relieve them from the terrible socio-economic, political and domestic marginalisation they face on a daily basis. Aside from being important for the Hindu community, the passing of the Bill is vital for the country if Pakistan aspires to be a true democracy. Click here to read more about the Hindu Marriage Bill.

Thousands of Nepalese are without a home with the upcoming monsoon season

The dozens of aftershocks that followed the earthquakes of April 25 and May 12, 2015 have demolished entire villages, particularly in rural and remote areas in Nepal. The ever-increasing death toll has reached 8,500 people by mid-May, while at least 10,000 were injured, making it the deadliest disaster to ever hit Nepal. In this difficult time, there is a need to raise awareness and show our support and friendship to those in need. GHRD will launch a crowdfunding campaign on 30 July 2015, the International Day of Friendship and World Day against Trafficking in Persons, to provide relief aid to the targeted communities in the most affected and remote areas of Nepal. Read more about our latest crowdfunding campaign here. 

Interview with prominent human rights defender Tanvir Alim

GHRD had the honor of hosting Tanvir Alim, a prominent human rights defender from Bangladesh, for the launch of the report ‘The Invisible Minority’, a cooperation effort between Boys of Bangladesh (BoB) and GHRD. As a human rights defender and director of the Boys of Bangladesh (BoB) – a network for gay men and women in Bangladesh – he is dedicated to ensure that people who are struggling with their sexual orientation can find a safe place to share their feelings and insecurities. Such a network is a true necessity in a country where coming out is a frightening process. The report talks about many personal stories of injustice and courage in a country where 20.9% of LGBT people admit hate themselves. Here is Tanvir’s story.

Stolen Childhoods: Pakistan’s failing legal system, forced conversions and marriages

Despite legal restrictions, child marriages are prevalent in Pakistan. The rate of abductions, forced conversions and marriages of underage girls has significantly increased in the last few years. This article will illustrate through selected cases the vulnerability of Hindu girls in Sindh to this morbid practice and outline the most common patterns of abductions, forced conversions and marriages, while simultaneously demonstrating the legal and social barriers for the families to access justice. Click here to read more

Two weeks in the city of Peace and Justice: a testimony of an human rights defender from Bangladesh

GHRD had the pleasure to host a Bangladeshi human rights defender and director of Boys of Bangladesh (BoB), Tanvir Alim this June. Tanvir came to the Netherlands as a participant of GHRD’s traineeship programme, designed to build stronger ties between GHRD and its partner organisations. During his stay, Tanvir, together with the GHRD team, had the opportunity to launch a joint research-report created by GHRD and BoB entitled ‘The Invisible Minority’, as well as meet with MP’s in The Hague and MEP’s in Brussels. All the public events presented a great opportunity for Tanvir to build his international network, lobby on behalf of his community on the European level and raise awareness about the issues the LGBT community in Bangladesh face on a daily basis. In this article he talks about his experience to make you think, smile and live by inspiration.

A picture that is worth a thousand words: “Youth Yearn” Photography Exhibition

On 14 May 2015, the Bandhu Social Welfare Society, with the support of GHRD and other stakeholders, opened the photo exhibition on gender diversity entitled ‘Youth Yearns’. The exhibition was attended by Greg Wilcock, the High Commissioner of Australia to Bangladesh, the USAID mission director in Bangladesh Janina Jaruzelski, barrister and Honorary Executive Director of BLAST Sara Hossain, UNAIDS country coordinator Leo Kenny and more than 250 interested visitors. Read more about the exhibition here.