[Dhaka, 10 December 2020]
Much progress has been made towards economic development in the last year but sadly the same cannot be said about the state of human rights in the country said the speakers in a seminar held at the auditorium of NGO Affairs Bureau, Dhaka. VOICE calls on the civil society actors to speak up to stop discrimination and ensure human rights of all irrespective of persons with disabilities. “STAND UP FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: BETTER RECOVERY” titled seminar was organized by Voice for Interactive Choices and empowerment (VOICE) to observe the International Human Rights Day. The program was presided over by eminent economist of the country, and Chairman of PKSF Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmed. The Director General of NGO Affairs Bureau Md. Rashedul Islam graced the event as the Chief Guest. Executive Director of VOICE Ahmed Swapan Mahmud moderated the program.
Among the panelists Saleem Samad, General Secretary, Forum for Freedom of Expression Bangladesh and representative of Reporters San Frontiers, Dr. Syeda Aireen Jaman, Secretary General of PEN International Bangladesh Chapter, Mr. Saimum Reza Talukder, Senior Lecturer, Department of Law, BRAC University and Ms. Musfika Laizu, women activist and editor of Women Windows spoke in the event.
Eminent economist and PKSF’s chairman Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad inaugurated the program with a directive remarks and presided over the event online. In his remarks he said it’s very important to reduce the various levels of inequality persisting in our societies to uphold the human rights. He particularly emphasized that due to COVID 19 pandemic a notable number of people lost their jobs resulting unemployment and forced a large number of people to poverty. And government should take rehabilitation and re-employment programs for those people that further economic inequality can be reduced to uphold their human rights at a level.
In Chief Guest’s speech Director General of NGO Affairs Bureau, Rashedul Islam said, that the International communities should be more responsible and committed towards repatriation of Rohingya people to uphold their Human rights. He also noted that Government is working towards the sustainable development goals focusing on leave no one behind motto. He also added that NGO Affairs Bureau is working particularly on the advancement of disadvantaged communities through the NGOs which envisions the government’s goals.
Eminent journalist Saleem Samad said that besides the government public should also behave responsibly to uphold the human rights. He also said that the draconian Digital Security Act should be immediately suspended for its repressive use against the freedom of expression.
Pen International Bangladesh Chapters’ Secretary General Dr. Syeda Aireen Jaman said that Human Rights in Bangladesh are enshrined as fundamental Rights in Part III of the Constitution of Bangladesh. However this country’s laws require reform to enforce fundamental rights and reflect democratic values of the 21st century.
Saimum Reza Paish said that during COVID 19 reality the developed countries have already concealed the vaccines without rethinking on equal distribution for all the people in the world, leading to a Human Rights violation. He also said that in terms of vaccine distribution what will be Bangladesh government’s strategy. He urged for an equal distribution of the vaccine.
Women Activist Musfika Laizu, said that the hate speech and derogatory comments used by Islamist commentators in waz mahfils influences the violence against women and increase inequality. She urged the government to monitor for such speeches and apply law implications.
Among others Ex-Joint Secretary Mr. Humayun Kobir, Programe Manager of Nagorik Uddyog Nadira Parveen, VOICE’s Project Coordinator Mr. Zayed Siddiki, Activist and Filmmaker Aparajita Sangita, Dalit Rights Activist Moni Rani Das addressed in the program. VOICE’s Research Associate Mr. Abtab Khan Shaon presented the keynote paper.
The discussion also highlighted the whole picture of the human rights situation in Bangladesh and urged the government as well as public to be responsible for a better Human Rights condition in the country.