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Monday, October 5, 2009

Bangladesh: Women worst victims of HR violations

Source: The Daily Star

Political instability and worsening law and order situation are linked to the violations of human rights in the country and the worst victims of HR violations are women, said Sultana Kamal, a former adviser to the caretaker government, at a seminar yesterday.

Though a democratic government is now in power, political stability and law and order are yet to be ensured, she said as the chief guest at the inaugural session of the three-day seminar titled 'Human rights and gender: core concepts, major debates and emerging issues' at Brac Centre Inn in the city.

"The state machineries have failed to provide justice for women who are abused sexually, mentally and physically," she said.

Women do not have access to proper healthcare services, they are suffering from acute malnutrition, and they even don't have the right to information, she said.

The constitution grants equal rights to women and men, but women do not have enough access to all public facilities, she added.

Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST) organised the seminar with the support of Diakonia, a Swedish NGO. Representatives from partner NGOs of Diakonia from South Asia are taking part in the seminar to share their experiences on gender and human rights issues.

Mirjam Dahlgren, policy adviser to Diakonia, was present as a special guest.

She said human rights involve all sections of people -- rich and poor, men and women and children and the aged. To ensure human rights of women, men have to come forward and involve themselves more.

To curb violence against women, the government must ensure that the culprits do not go unpunished, she added.

The speakers also said human rights cannot be ensured without addressing the gender equality issues.

Swedish Ambassador Britt F Hagström, Executive Director of BLAST Mohsin Ali Khan, seminar coordinator Dina Mahnaz Siddiqi and Sultana Begum of Diakonia Bangladesh also spoke.

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