ENACTING LAWS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS STRESSED
RANGPUR, July 17, 2018 (BSS) – Human rights activists at a workshop have stressed on enacting laws to ensure safety and security of the human rights defenders to promote their activities for protecting rights of the women and girls.
They expressed the views at the regional project start-up workshop styled ‘Supporting Human Rights Defenders Working for Women’s and Girls’ Rights in Bangladesh’ project held at RDRS auditorium here on Monday afternoon.
The News Network jointly with Udayankur Seba Sangstha (USS) organised the event participated by 70 editors, journalists, NGO officials, religious leaders, human and women rights activists from five districts of Rangpur division.
Chief Executive Officer and Editor of the News Network Shahiduzzaman presided over the workshop and narrated goals of the project being implemented in Rangpur, Satkhira, Jashore, Rajshahi, Nilphamari, Dinajpur, Lalmonirhat and Kurigram districts.
Mayor of Rangpur Mostafizar Rahman Mostafa attended the event as the chief guest.
Executive Director of USS Alauddin Ali as the special guest spoke on the occasion moderated by President of Rangpur Press Club Sadrul Alam Dulu.
The participants raised issues and problems being faced by grassroots level human rights defenders while preventing repression, torture and violence against women, adolescents, child marriage and sexual harassment.
Shahiduzzaman said the journalists, civil society members and religious leaders are working as human rights defenders without any legal protection to protect human rights of the oppressed and tortured women and girls to build a better society.
“The government should stand beside the human rights defenders by enacting necessary laws so that they could contribute more to protect rights of the women and girls for their proper development to attain sustainable development goals (SDGs).
The chief guest said the present government has taken sensible steps to ensure equal rights of the women for flourishing their talents and leadership to accelerate women empowerment at all levels for attaining the SDGs.
Favouring for enactment of necessary laws for the human rights defenders, he stressed on joint efforts of government officials, public representatives and human rights activists for protecting human rights of the women and girls to speed up national progress.
Insecure Human Rights Defenders in Bangladesh lack proper law, effective mechanism for protection
Most of the rural human rights defenders in Bangladesh are unprotected and their rights are not recognised at all. In their pursuit of defending human rights of the vulnerable, they themselves are victimised quite often.
The United Nations General Assembly in 1999 had adopted a resolution to protect human rights defenders against the backdrop of a similar global scenario. That was a big push for the rights-based groups and individual. The UN resolution entitled, “Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms” as an international instrument was expected to be followed by the UN member states. Since then, many countries promulgated their specific law to protect defenders’ rights. With a rapid increase in rights violation against human rights defenders and common people where women and girls are the most affected in particular, Bangladesh is yet to take any concrete measure in the sequel to the resolution.
According to a recent assessment study entitled ‘An Assessment to Identify Gaps in Capacity of Rural Women Human Rights Defenders in Defending Rural Women’s and Girl’s Rights,’ conducted by the News Network , the defenders, particularly in remote districts are facing various kinds of challenges from different corners and groups, including vested quarters, local administration, public representatives, political party activists and from the law and order enforcement agencies. The assessment has identified the nature of challenges that include physical attack, harassment and threats to life. In many instances, the rights defenders had to flee along with family members and escape to a safer place for life. The assessment report, under the ‘Supporting Human Rights Defenders Working for Women’s and Girls’ Rights in Bangladesh’ project supported by European Union, also observed that the situation of insecurity of rural defenders was much worse than those living in the cities.
The assessment team met with four categories of most potential rural defenders such as women human rights defenders, journalists, leaders of civil society and religious leaders in eight districts: Dinajpur, Jashore, Kurigram, Lalmonirhat, Nilphamari, Rajshahi, Rangpur and Satkhira.
The objectives of the assessment were to understand existing capacity of Women Human Rights Defenders and/or Human Rights Defenders in case of an investigation, reporting and organising advocacy and lobbying on the issues with the policy actors.
About 69 percent of the defenders surveyed have identified problems and barriers they faced mostly when they have performed their role in protecting women and girl’s rights, the report said.
The defenders identify several risks they are facing for working on women rights, those are: Social Barriers (39%), lack of legal and other supports (46%), physical and mental attack (23%), non-cooperation (31%), religious barriers (31%) and misbehaviour (15%). In addition to those, they also face risks from the organisational perspective such as “risk of reduced funding opportunity, non-cooperation, false cases, political harassment, propaganda against organisations, threats and financial problem and lack of networking inside and outside the country with the Human Right Organisations”. They have also identified a number of agencies and groups of people posing risks for them that include: local leaders and activists of political parties, public representatives, parliament members, law enforcing agencies and Border Guard Bangladesh, and a section of the government officials.
There are other risk factors as well because most rural human right defenders do not have formal training and education. They do not have any training on security planning, mitigation mechanism to counter institutional harassment and dealing with legal issues.
In a bid to overcome the situation, the assessment study has recommended for several initiatives including: to improve the professional ability of the defenders and raise their understanding on risk analysis, security planning, advocacy and lobby, and to build-up an effective nationwide defenders’ network to raise voice and protect women and girls’ rights.
Dhaka, 15 May 2018 (News Network): –
A three-year long European Union funded new project, ‘Supporting Human Rights Defenders Working for Women’s and Girls’ Rights in Bangladesh’ launch today. It’s a first of its kind project to improve the professional ability of human rights defenders, including journalists, representative of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and NGOS, and religious leaders, aims to protect and promote women’s and girls’ rights in Bangladesh. News Network in cooperation with Udayankur Seba Sangstha (USS), a non-government organisation is implementing the project in country’s 8 districts (Jessore, Satkhira, Nilphamari, Lalmonirhat, Rangpur, Dinajpur and Kurigramme). Read More “A European Union Funded New Project Launch today”
European Union funded fresh project launched in Bangladesh
A three-year-long European Union funded new project, ‘Supporting Human Rights Defenders Working for Women’s and Girls’ Rights in Bangladesh’ has launched in the city on 15 May 2018. It’s a first of its kind project to improve the professional ability of human rights defenders, including journalists, members of Civil Society Organisations and NGOS, and religious leaders, aims to protect and promote women’s girls’ rights in Bangladesh.
News Network in cooperation with Udayankur Seba Sangstha (USS) is implementing the project in country’s eight districts — Jessore, Satkhira, Nilphamari, Lalmonirhat, Rangpur, Dinajpur and Kurigram.
The launching ceremony of the project held this morning at CIRDAP Auditorium, Dhaka was chaired by Ms. Audrey Maillot, Team Leader-Governance of the Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh. Mr. Shahiduzzaman, Editor of News Network presented the project and moderated the event.
Ms. Ayesha Khanum, President of Bangladesh Mohila Parisad and Mr. Shamsuddin Ahmed, a senior journalists and media development experts were the guest of honors. Ms. Erika Hasznos, First Secretary (Political) and Ms. Laila Jasmin Banu, Programme Manager-Governance and Human Rights of Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh and Mr. Alauddin Ali, Executive Director of (USS) also present in the occasion. Audrey Maillot said, ‘News Network has been awarded the project under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR). ….EIDHR is a European instrument that aims to promote democracy and human rights worldwide through support to civil society initiative’.
‘The project is expected to establish integrated protection systems for rural human rights defenders that will facilitate their access to service like psycho-social, medical and legal support’, she said.
The speakers of the occasion appreciate the project initiative. They said, country’s most women are somehow victim of violence. Their rights are often violated in various ways. Particularly in rural areas women’s accesses to justice and resources are limited. Besides, the human rights defenders are not well organised and less capacity to protect women rights. In such situation, the project will set an example and trend to encourage and improve the ability of human rights defenders to play their active role to promote women’s and girls’ rights, they hoped.
The project will continue till 2020.
Supported by: High Commission of Canada in Bangladesh
Project period: 2017- 2018
Canada has been promoting freedom of religion in Bangladesh through various initiatives.
Teamed up with the News Network, the High Commission of Canada/Canada Fund implemented a project to promote freedom of religion through media action. It was focused on news reporters, working for local and national mainstream print and electronic media houses and the media gatekeepers, including editors, executive editors, news editors, news-room editors of local newspapers and online news portals.
The project, “Programme for Supporting Journalists to Promote Freedom of Religion,” undertook several activities in various remote districts of Bangladesh, vulnerable for a peaceful coexistence of all religious people. As part of the activities, participating journalists were sensitized and their professional abilities to report and publish quality report items with respect to freedom of religion and human rights were improved. The initiative has played an important role to raise awareness of the people on the issues relating to religious freedom.
The initiative was the first of its kind in Bangladesh, particularly for the media people. The project has drawn the attention of policy planners, prominent civil society members, rights-based groups and media people, and was highly appreciated from different levels with a plea to keep continue in other districts. They said the initiative should be continued and expanded in other districts of the country and could be replicated in other countries where freedom of religion often faces challenges.
Women and girls in Bangladesh are deprived of their Constitutional rights in accessing justice and gender-based violence is a very common phenomenon.
However, the Government of Bangladesh has ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discriminations against Women and passed the Women Development Policy 2011 to ensure strong protection for women and girls’ rights. But this has not changed the reality in the field yet.
An unacceptable social attitude among a section of the society and officials towards women and girls is still there. Weak enforcement of women-friendly laws and regulations, slow but insufficient judicial protection, inadequate social protest and protection, poor family environment, poor and inadequate intervention from human rights defenders (HRDs) and weak voice of women human rights defenders (WHRDs) are the major impediments in ensuring women’s and girls’ rights in Bangladesh.
News Networked has teamed up with the European Union in Bangladesh to address these issues and has taken up a comprehensive project.
The Project entitled, “Supporting Human Rights Defenders Working for Women’s and Girls’ Rights in Bangladesh” is a three-year project started in January 2018. The project funded by the European Union and implemented by the News Network in partnership with Udayankur Seba Sangstha (USS) in the rural areas of eight districts along the Indo-Bangla international border namely Satkhira, Jessore, Rajshahi, Niphamari, Rangpur, Dinajpur, Lalmonirhat and Kurigram.
The overall objective of the project is to provide support to Women Human Rights Defenders and/or Human Rights Defenders (W/HRDs) working for women’s and girls’ rights in Bangladesh.
The project has been working to recognise and promote the role of WHRDs in the protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms and to protect them addressing the challenges, risks and threats that they may face.
It also supports and protects WHRDs at risk due to their work for the promotion and protection of the full enjoyment of women’s and girls’ rights.
Media professionals of print, electronic and social media including potential young women journalists and rural media gatekeepers-editors, news editors and executive editors, rural journalists and creative women journalists are the targeted beneficiaries of the project.
Rural civil society organisations’ leaders, both male and female, and rural religious leaders who are working to promote women’s and girls’ rights are also its beneficiaries.
Supported by UNESCO
Project period: 2016-2017
The media in Bangladesh is aggressive and vibrant. Journalists often play a bold role in exposing corruption and wrong-doings in the society. Their brave work earns them public admiration, but it also exposes them to threats on their life, harassment and insecurity. So, the safety of journalists has now become a major concern of the country and the world.
According to media rights groups, at least 27 journalists and bloggers have been killed in such attacks since the country’s independence in 1992 (CPJ,2015). In most cases, killers and attackers went unpunished and the motives were not clear.
To face the challenges, News Network with the support from UNESCO implemented the project to make journalists more aware about the safety measures and also ensure a constructive engagement of concerned stakeholders, individuals and organizations involved in advocacy to create a safe field for journalists. The objectives of the project were: (i) strengthening the environment for press freedom, journalistic safety and/or self-regulation, for on-line and/or off-line media, through favorable policies and/or practices; (ii) promoting good governance and transparency by developing pluralistic media institutions, including community media, and by building capacities of the media professionals.
The project was implemented in the following districts: Faridpur, Sylhet, Jessore and Satkhira. The key activities of the project included:
- Raising level of understanding of safety measures and improving capacity of journalists for reporting from danger zones;
- Analysing cases of violence against journalists to examine how they might have been avoided;
- Training journalists to report on crimes against journalists;
- Establishing a peer network for monitoring crimes against journalists and advocating journalists’ safety in Bangladesh.
News Network believes journalists who participated in the programme will continue the initiative beyond the project period as part of their professional and social responsibility. They will also keep sharing their learning with the colleagues and friends.
The aim of this call for applications is to select 12 media organizations from ASEAN countries, and for each of them, support the realization of a data-driven project (article/data story, data visualization or other interactive), through a workshop and training programme taking place between May and October 2017. After the end of this programme, you must have set up at least one digital project, attract new public (widen the target audience) with data driven articles and increase your audience using data visualization. Read More “Data journalism training for media organizations in ASEAN countries”
Photographers across the globe are invited to submit three images that best demonstrate their photographic ability in 11 categories,
for the chance to be named a Hasselblad Master. The Hasselblad Masters is one of the world’s most prestigious professional photographic
competitions and gives acclaimed professionals, as well as aspiring newcomers, the chance to make their mark in the world of
The winners will not only receive the coveted accolade but will take home a state of the art medium format Hasselblad camera and have
their work published in the Hasselblad Masters commemorative book, to be launched in 2018.
Open for entries 24th January – 10th June 2017.
Read the full details on Masters 2018 Rules & Regulations
The topic of the 2017 Citizen Media Award was chosen parallel to the slogan of the then just mentioned upcoming year. Citizen media make people from all over the world more sensitive for a global association and an active engagement. With the announcement and choice of topic the supporters and sponsors of the Award want to inspire citizens to produce and broadcast TV and radio products concerning the topic “Cultural Heritage”.
Thereby, the focus is on the topic, the quality of the medial implementation, the authenticity, the pertinence of research and the originality. The characteristics of the productions get adequate consideration by the jury.
The winners of the International Citizen Media Award will be awarded on Saturday the 6th May 2017 in the Citizen Media Centre Bennohaus (Münster, Germany). The award show will take place in the scope of this event. Private producers of non-commercial audiovisual products have the chance to send in their submissions in the categories video and audio until the 28th February 2017.
More to click: Citizen Media Award